Preservation or Perseverance?

                A few weeks ago, I addressed the theme of the assurance of our salvation in one of the sermons in the book of Colossians. In chapter 1 verse 23 the apostle admonishes the church to persevere in the faith:

                “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

                As I mentioned in the message, this exhortation in no way teaches that we are responsible to earn, keep or maintain our saved status by our good works or holy behavior. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and this salvation and even the faith we have comes from God.

                It was the same apostle who taught us that our salvation and indeed, our very faith depend on God, because it comes from Him. Jesus is not only the Object of our faith, but He is also the originator and the cause of our salvation.

                “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

                     “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

                The Bible also declares that, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) or to put it in other words, salvation and faith comes from the Lord and there is nothing you or I can do to earn it or keep it. The Bible also declares that we are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5) and that we are safe in his powerful hands (John 10:28-30).

                This is what is known as the Preservation of our faith and salvation in Christ.

                On the other hand, we are encouraged in the Bible to continue in the ways of the Lord. We are commanded to walk with Him, to preach the Bible, to live in holiness, to serve our Savior, to love God and each other and to read, study and obey all that we learn from God’s Word.

                We are also commanded to grow and mature as Christians. The faith that we have received in Christ must be nurtured, developed and activated. We must live what we believe. We must never work to attain or maintain our salvation, but we must submit to God and see his salvation working in and through us, or as the apostle says:

                “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)

                This is what is known as Perseverance of the saints

                Let us then persevere, but not in fear but because we are preserved by the mighty hands of God until the day when we will see Christ face to face.

                A. G

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