Divine Security through Perseverance

In a vein that parallels sanctification, many believers are under the false illusion that they can lose their salvation, including self-conscious Arminians and those who think unwittingly in Arminian categories. The presuppositions that underlie this sort of thinking miss the truth that biblical compatibilism provides. Those who are skeptical about the eternality of salvation appeal to Scriptures that speak of the need to endure, continue, abide, persevere, and hold fast until the end. To avoid apostatizing, “the only remedy is a constant perseverance in the faith, and continual growth to Christian Maturity.” If one doesn’t maintain his cooperative efforts with God’s grace, he will lose his salvation. But if we had no power to sufficiently secure our salvation in the first place, what makes us think we can maintain it? Again, Peter helps us out. He is emphatic that all believers have received an eternal “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” for us (1 Peter 1:4) The future hope of our salvation is secure. How is this so? Because “God’s power” guards this inheritance (1 Peter 1:5). If Peter had stopped here, we would have a truncated view of our eternal security, and it might lead to a carelessness that takes this truth for granted. God certainly protects the salvation of all his children, but it doesn’t happen strictly because this isolated statement says so. Rather, Peter indicates that this protection is secured through particular means, that is, “through faith” (v. 5) God ensures that everyone who is truly saved continues to be saved because his faith endures, perseveres, and holds fast until the end. Such a faith is not generated by our own resources. It is a supernatural faith supplied by God. He decreed such faith in the lives of those whom he chose for salvation. Yet at the same time, his chosen ones actively exercise this enduring commitment, persevering in order to demonstrate that God is always at work in them. One can understand neither the doctrine of sanctification nor the doctrine of the eternal security and perseverance of the saints without this compatibilist perspective.

(The above was taken from the book, What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God's Sovereignty by Scott Christensen (p. 99). P&R Publishing)

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