“Preserved so that we can persevere”
Most ‘reformed’ Christians are fairly good when it comes to quoting the doctrines of grace. Sometimes we refer to them by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. The one I wish to highlight is the “P” which stands for “Perseverance of the Saints” or “Preservation of the Saints.”
It is a wonder truth that Scripture teaches and when understood correctly is reason for comfort and great joy. We understand and believe Scripture to teach that God the Father who has called us in Christ before the foundations of the earth were set in place (Eph 1:4), will keep us in the faith until He brings us safely into His eternal presence.
That means, once we have experienced the saving grace of Christ, applied to us by God’s Word and Spirit, we are safe for eternity. As Paul so aptly describes in many passages, not least Romans 8:28-39; there isn’t anything in all creation that can separate us from God’s love to us in Christ Jesus. Debilitating illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s will not be able to separate us from God’s love. Nor will catastrophes, whether it be terrorism, accidents, natural disasters, indeed, nothing will be able to separate us from God’s love.
Unfortunately, many Christians do not live in the comfort of that truth. There have been occasions when Christians have asked me, “How will I know for certain that I will still be a Christian when I die?” Sometimes this is followed by all sorts of examples, real and imagined, of people who have seemingly left the faith or where illness has left someone incapable of proper cognitive function.
The answer is rather simple really. On occasions I have explained it like this, “If we are true Christians, our faith in Christ as Redeemer will remain, for our Almighty God preserves us so that we can persevere.” It would be foolish, therefore, to say that you will persevere because you have such a “strong faith” and that will see you through. Rather, what we should be saying is that we know we will persevere for Scripture teaches that not only is our God powerful and has promised to keep us in the faith, He is faithful.
Note the following texts:
(1 Cor 1:8-9) “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
(1Thess 5:23-24) “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
(Jude 1-2) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
There are other texts (cf Romans 8:1; 30; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24), but allow these to fill you and bring joy to your hearts. There is no reason to fear dear Christian that your faith will fail. He who did not spare His own Son to secure our salvation, will surely preserve us so that we will persevere! Praise Him! JZ.