bible refs

Perseverance

Perseverance is a behavior that is expected of a Christian, it is not about eternal security. Among Calvinist, there are differing views as to the meaning of perseverance. Some Calvinists believe that the teaching of Calvinism on perseverance teaches unconditional eternal security. Others believe that Calvin taught eternal security based on the perseverance of the believer. In other words, they believe that God would keep the believer from living life as a sinner and therefore the believer would endure to the end.

This perseverance is also a proof of conversion. John Calvin's teaching was not about eternal security. Calvin taught that the elect must persevere in faith to remain in grace to their final salvation, this is heresy. Some Calvinists prefer the word preservation in place of perseverance and some confound both terms. The confounding of preservation with perseverance means that one must live a holy life without blemish in order to finally be saved. This fifth part of the tulip is salvation by works and is not biblical teaching.

The word perseverance is only in the Bible in one place, Ephesians 6:18, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" Notice that this is about prayer and not salvation. Calvinists say that even though perseverance is only used once, the suggestion is used throughout Scripture. Again, perseverance and preservation are two different things. Preservation by God in salvation is not the same thing as one outwardly persevering in faith, 1 Samuel 16:7. Preservation means that God will preserve His believer's, Psalms 27:2; 41:2; 97:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Titus 4:18; Jude 1:1. It also means He will protect or keep them, 1 Samuel 30:23; 2 Samuel 8:6; Psalms 16:1; 31:23; 32:7; 36:6; 40:11; 64:1 and many others.

In contradiction to this salvation by works the Bible makes it clear that salvation does not come by works, Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5. The biblical truth is we must come to salvation by believing in Jesus Christ and what He did for our salvation, John 3:16; John 6:47; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9. If anyone fails to believe for whatever reason the Bible says they are condemned already, John 3:18, they shall not see life and the wrath of God abides on them, John 3:36, and they will die in their sins, John 8:24. Yet Calvinism teaches that to be saved one must first be forced by God to be born again through irresistible grace and then be forced to have faith and repentance; this is definitely another gospel that isn't taught in the Bible. We find in 1 Corinthians 15:22 in Adam we all die but those in Christ will be made alive. So we need to get out of Adam and into Christ. Ephesians 1:1 tells us that believers are in Jesus Christ, in 1 Corinthians 3:23 believers are Christ's and He is God's, and Ephesians 2:4-6 tells us that God has set believer's in heavenly places in Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is a passage that Calvinist use to prove perseverance and the possibility that Paul was worried about his salvation. In Calvin's commentaries, Calvin says Paul finished what he wanted to teach. Now, in order to impress it on the minds of the Corinthians, he adds an exhortation. In short, he says that what they had attained so far is nothing, unless they keep steadily on; because it is not enough that they once started off on the way of the Lord if they do not make an effort to reach the goal." This corresponds to the word of Christ in Matthew 10:22: "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."

To clear up one error by some, Paul was not concerned about his salvation, he knew that nothing could separate him from the love of God, Romans 8:38-39. Also, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is not about perseverance or preservation, it is about winning a reward, a crown, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. Believers have already received eternal life, 1 John 5:11. A believers eternal security does not depend on their perseverance. A believer will persevere because they have eternal life and are preserved by God.

Calvin also said that perseverance corresponded to the word of Christ in Matthew 10:22, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." Calvinists use this passage in several places but what does the passage mean? If one uses amillennialism to interpret the Bible they can make it say anything they want. This appears to be what the Calvinists do. However, if one takes the Bible as the literal Word of God they get the true meaning. Looking at this verse in context we find that this is about the future tribulation, Matthew 24:31, 39, and this is a period of time and does not refer to the end of one's life, as Calvinists falsely teach but refers to the end of the tribulation.

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah giving us an example that we should live godly lives. So, looking at outward appearances one would think that Lot was unsaved. But God delivered Lot who was "just" but vexed with the filthy lifestyle of the wicked, 2 Peter 2:6-7. This is only one instance that proves that Calvinist teaching on perseverance, one has to live an outwardly holy life, is false.

The following verses tell us about preservation:
Genesis 19:32; Genesis 19:34; Genesis 45:5; Genesis 45:7; Deuteronomy 6:24; Psalms 12:7; Psalms 16:1; Psalms 25:21; Psalms 32:7; Psalms 40:11; Psalms 41:2; Psalms 61:7; Psalms 64:1; Psalms 79:11; Psalms 86:2; Psalms 121:7; Psalms 121:8; Psalms 140:1; Psalms 140:4; Proverbs 2:11; Proverbs 4:6; Proverbs 14:3; Proverbs 20:28; Proverbs 22:12; Isaiah 31:5; Isaiah 49:8; Jeremiah 49:11; Luke 17:33; 2 Timothy 4:18.

The Bible tells us we are kept by the power of God and not by our own work. 1 Peter 1:4-5 tells us that "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Once again, it is God's power that is keeping each individual and nothing is said about perseverance. They are not persevering as Calvinists say, but each individual is in God's hand and is safe because God is caring for them. We need not forget that believers are sealed unto the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30.

Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" To this verse, Calvinists say we are dead in sin. By this statement, they mean that a dead person can't move, walk, respond, or anything else. With that definition of death, Calvinists believe that one cannot respond to God and therefore must be regenerated before they can have faith and repentance. Death is never annihilation nor cessation of existence. There is the first death, which is physical death which everyone will experience unless they are alive at the rapture. This death is a separation of the soul and spirit from the body. The body goes to the grave but the soul and spirit go to either heaven or hell. The soul is still conscious and still knows all it knew before, Revelation 6:9-11; Luke 15: 7.

Look at an example in the story of Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. This tells us that when the rich man died, his body buried, "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." The rich man could see, hear, feel, and talk. Death does not mean that one cannot do anything nor respond to anything as shown in this passage. So in Romans 5:12 death is not to be compared to a dead person in a casket. The body in the casket is simply the house that the man used to live in but he is now alive in heaven or hell.

One way the Bible uses the word "death" can be seen in the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15:13-24. When the prodigal son returned home his father said "This my son was dead, and is alive again." Why would he say his son was dead? Because he was separated from his father, the same way a lost sinner is separated from God the Father, he is still alive but only separated. But the prodigal son begins to see the bad things in this life and in his life and what could be if he were home with his father, Luke 15:14-17. So now this dead son made a decision to return home, Luke 15:18-19, just like a lost sinner can. When he arrived home he repented and his father welcomed him and notice that this dead son was made alive again, just like the lost sinner will be when they accept the gospel of salvation. Now they had a celebration and the reason was stated in Luke 15:24, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found". Here we have a dead person that could feel, respond, walk, talk, and see what he needed and made a decision to do something about it.

So think about it. Adam was in the same position. When Adam sinned God said, "Thou Shalt surely die." Adam, because of his sin, was driven out of the garden by God, and thus separated from God, just like the prodigal son was separated from his father. Clearly, when the Bible says men are dead in trespasses and sins, it doesn't mean they can't move, walk, feel, respond, or anything else. Just think about all the responding and walking Adam did in the 800 years after he was separated from God. By now it should be clear that we cannot compare spiritual things to physical things.

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