Q&A 15: What are your thoughts about perserverance of the saints?

Question: What are your thoughts about perseverance of the saints?


This is the one area where all Southern Baptists agree! PTL! The doctrine affirms that those that God saves He protects and preserves their salvation to the very end. Sometimes this doctrine is also known by the phrase “eternal security.” There are many scriptures I believe that affirm this. Perhaps the clearest is John 10:27-29 which states, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” The old Baptist preacher Vance Havner sums it up quite well when he states, “Faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first.” We are saved by grace through faith alone, but saving faith never stays alone. Saving faith perseveres to the end. Perseverance of the saints is not so much a requirement as it is a promise. With Paul we can say, “…I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim 1:12).

Now, what are we to make of all of this conversation and concern about Calvinism? In my Building Bridges message I concluded with the following words which I think are appropriately noted here again, “The modern missionary movement was birthed out of evangelical Calvinism both in Great Britain with William Carey and in American with Adoniram Judson. Both drank from the well named David Brainard. He drew nourishment from Jonathan Edwards. Would it not be a remarkable providence of our sovereign God if a conference on Calvanism was the genesis and spark of a Great Commission Resurgence among Southern Baptists? Wedding a healthy, well informed and robust theology to a consuming passion for the evangelization of the nations, we come together as never before to carry out the final command given by King Jesus. I believe our Baptist fellowship is big enough, in all the right ways, to have room for William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Luther Rice, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, John L. Dagg, Basel Manley Sr. and Jr., Lottie Moon, and Annie Armstrong. I believe it is big enough to include Al Mohler and Paige Patterson, Vodie Baucom and J.D. Greear, Adrian Rogers and Timothy George, Jerry Vines and Mark Dever, W.A Criswell and Hershel Hobbs, Buddy Gray and Johnny Hunt, Andy Davis and Steve Gaines, Danny Akin and Tom Ascol. We may not agree on everything, but we agree on more than enough to work together for our Lord Jesus in fulfilling the Great Commission. So, will we live or will we die? Will we come together for life or fracture apart in death? I make my choice for life. It is my hope and my prayer that you will join me.” I believed those words then. I still believe them today.

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  1. Bruce H   •  

    Yesterday – Is forgiven.
    Today – Is secure.
    Tomorrow – He holds in His hand.

  2. Bob Cleveland   •  

    It’s pretty simple to me. Jesus used the phrase “born again”. Any way you look at that, once something or someone is born, it cannot of its own volition un-bear itself. We may be able to destroy ourselves, but we cannot come anywhere near turning ourselves back into egg and sperm.

    So, unless Jesus was into using badly flawed analogies, there is just no way.

  3. Michael Snow   •  

    “He who perseveres to the end shall be saved.”

    And I would agree with your quote, as would Calvin, “Faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first.”

    The problem is that the “eternal security” and OSAS slogans have come to represent a third way (as opposed to the positions of John Calvin and of John Wesley). The assurance of faith is now based on the initial profession whehter or not there is a the life of perseverance.

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