A couple of weeks ago I began a series on the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) in an attempt to systematically show how salvation is a work of God alone and why this must be so. These articles have been outlined with overwhelming Scriptural evidence revealing the sovereignty of God in His plan of redemption. The following topics were covered:
- 10 Reasons Man Needs a Sovereign Savior
- 10 Reasons God Sovereignly Elects
- 14 Reasons Christ Sovereignly Redeems (a)
- 14 Reasons Christ Sovereignly Redeems (b)
- 10 Reasons the Holy Spirit Sovereignly Draws Men to Salvation
We will now take a look at 10 reasons or evidences proving the security of the born again believer, or “P” of the Calvinistic acronym “TULIP” known as “perseverance (or preservation) of the saints”. Though a display of God’s love, grace, mercy, and compassion for His people, this doctrine is controversial between Arminians, Calvinists, and folks supposedly in between.
Some believe that Christians must hold on to God to maintain their salvation. While many who hold to this view would deny they have to work to keep their salvation, this is indeed what this view posits. It is no different than the view of the Roman Catholic Church that we must remain in the grace of God by our good works (see Romans 9:6).
Others believe that one can walk away from the faith by apostatizing, or by renouncing the essentials of the faith or faith altogether. This view has a couple of distinctions. On the one hand, some may say one can lose their salvation by renouncing the faith. Yet on the other hand, others believe if one renounced their faith they would still be saved because “once saved always saved”. Neither view, however, is biblical.
The biblical view of the security of the believer is of no condition. As we are chosen by God from the beginning, we are kept by God until the end of our earthly lives. It is God who saves us and it is God who keeps us. We will not walk away, fall away, or lose our salvation. Let’s take a closer look at the Word of God that we would conclude our salvation is unconditionally secure in Christ.
1. Believers are sovereignly sealed because salvation is the work of God alone to the exclusion of any work of man (see also Part 2)
Jonah 2:9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human beingc might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
2. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we are promised an inheritance that cannot be taken away
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
1 Peter 1:4-5 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
3. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit
1 Peter 3:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
1 Peter 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
4. Believers are sovereignly sealed because Jesus Christ will lose none whom the Father gave Him in eternity past
John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 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. 30 I and the Father are one.”
John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
1 Corinthians 6:14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
5. Believers are sovereignly sealed because eternal life means eternal life
John 3:14-16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Romans 6:22-23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
6. Believers are sovereignly sealed because Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith
Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for 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.
Jude 1:24-25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
7. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we are already citizens of heaven
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:5-7 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we are already children of God and co-heirs with Christ
1 John 3:1-3 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Romans 8:12-17 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
1 John 3:9-10 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
9. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we have a new nature
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Romans 6:24 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
10. Believers are sovereignly sealed because we are promised a future hope
Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Colossians 1:3-5 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel…
Oh what joy and hope we have in knowing that our salvation is secured by the faithfulness and promises of God! Those who teach one can lose his salvation do not truly understand grace. Neither do they understand justification, regeneration, sanctification, or the atonement of Christ. These theological terms are crucial to our understanding of the doctrine of salvation, and when one comes to a biblical view of these terms, it leads one to finally rest in the glorious grace of God.
Let’s think about this for a moment. If one could lose their salvation, the following would be true: God would unelect us, unseal us, unsanctify us, unchange us, unjustify us, unforgive us, unannoint us, unwash us, uncleanse us, unpurify us, unredeem us, uncall us, unrenew us, unfree us, unpurchase us, unregenerate us, unadopt us, and unsave us. God would have to change us back to the old man. He would need to undo us as new creations. He would reverse our being born again. He would take away our promised inheritance. He would put us back into bondage of sin after He freed us. He would remove His seed from us. He would take away our hope. He would reverse our being raised to spiritual life by making us spiritually dead men again. He would change us back to being children of the devil after He made us children of God. He would revoke our heavenly citizenship. Jesus would lose those the Father gave Him, eternal would not mean eternal, and God would not be faithful to keep His promises.
Dear friend, that is not our God!
From beginning to end, God is the author and finisher of our faith. Salvation is the work of God alone. He chose us, He changes us, and He will one day glorify us. Why? For His glory alone!
My purpose for this series was to provide you an outline of Scripture in a systematic way so you might study and grow in the knowledge of the grace of our Lord. Having concluded God is absolutely sovereign in the salvation of men, it has caused me to walk in greater humility realizing I am justified, sanctified, and washed by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit because it pleased the Father to do so. Me, a godless, sin-loving, hypocrite, was given mercy because of the substitutionary work of my Savior on the cross. God’s wrath for me was satisfied in Christ so that God would be glorified in pouring out the riches of His grace upon me.
He did that for you too if you are one of His sheep. Perhaps “Calvinism” is foreign to you, or perhaps you don’t agree with it or even despise it. I tell you this – study to show thyself approved. Don’t study these doctrines so you can win arguments or debates, but study them to determine whether they are true. Study them so you might come to know the depravity from which you came, the depths of the mercy and grace God has given you, the terrible price that it cost Him, and the depths of His love to keep you until the day of redemption. Study these things that you might learn more of the glories of Christ, and the inheritance that awaits those who follow Him. Most of all, study because you love Jesus and desire to bring Him glory by knowing Him. After all, the more we know God, the more we can love God.
I pray this series has blessed you. Soli Deo Gloria!