The Doctrines of Grace: Perseverance of the Saints
We come now to the teaching known as the perseverance of the saints. It has been known by other names, the preservation of the saints, once saved always saved, or eternal security. Some of these forms of teaching are associated with teachings we would disagree with, and others depending on how they are defined we would count as biblical. We are happy with perseverance of the saints because it best describes the NT teaching that all those who God elects and draws to Himself are saved, and because the work of grace within them is real they will persevere.
What are the reasons why people reject this teaching? Some reject it because of tradition; they have been taught differently by their parents and pastors and cannot imagine having been wrong. I hope that the Bible will be our greatest source of authority. Some reject it because of the difficult passages which seem to teach that a truly born again Christian can lose their salvation. We will see that there is clear teaching that difficult verses cannot be read to contradict lest we make God a liar. Others reject it out of a fear of the antinomianism and immorality that will ensue thinking that such a teaching will embolden people to abuse grace. But not everything that can be abused is necessarily wrong, this is a reaction of fear. Other fears that it will steal our motivation to obey and result in us losing the impulse for holiness. Although fear is used by God as a motivation we believe that grace and the Spirit give us the best motivation. A very common argument is that we have all known people who appeared to be better Christians than us who turned away. We will demonstrate that many people appear saved but who never were, and that scripture not our experience is our final authority. Some reject it because they are controlled by a false religious system of control that has been manipulating them with fear. For these a proper understanding of the gospel of grace will set them free. Some object on the grounds of a certain philosophical notion of free will. We will establish that the bible teaches compatibilism, that both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are true and taught in scripture, but not to the denial of God’s overall plan of saving His elect. Some think that the commands to endure and the warnings for not enduring must necessarily infer the possibility.
we will explore the scriptures that reveal this gracious act of God on our behalf; we will look at the mechanics of how it works; and we will see why a true believer can fall but not fall away.
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