Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     In the Bible, Christians are repeatedly called to persevere.  In Mark 13:13 we read that Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”  The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  Hebrews 10:36 tells us, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

     And yet, in the Bible, we read of God’s repeated promise to those who are truly in Christ that their salvation is secure in God’s sovereign love and saving grace.  God’s Word assures us, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor.1:21-22; cf. 2Cor.5:5).  Ephesians 1:13-14 echoes this great truth: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession – to the praise of his glory.”  In Philippians we read, “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).

     God’s Word maintains these seemingly paradoxical truths without compromise or contradiction.  Christians are eternally secure in the sovereign love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.  They are saved not by their own works, but wholly by the grace of God (see Eph.2:8-9; Tit.3:4-6; 2Tim.1:9).  Likewise, the security of their salvation is not based on works but on Christ’s sanctifying work in and for them (Rom.8:31-39).  Christians neither obtain nor retain their salvation based on the works they do for Christ.  Salvation, from first to last, is the work of Jesus Christ unto the glory of God “so that no one may boast before Him” (1Cor.1:29).

     However, there is an inherent danger in this.  For upon hearing that Christians are eternally secure in Christ, some people may wrongly presume that Christians do not need to persevere.  This is a serious error.  For Scripture clearly commands all believers to persevere.  But perseverance does not merit eternal security.  Rather, perseverance is the visible expression of one’s true saving faith.  Conversely, apostasy is the visible expression of a lack of true saving faith.

     Perseverance does not secure a Christian’s standing in Christ, it is the evidence of one’s saving faith in Christ (cf. 1Pet.1:7).  In other words, apostates are not those who have lost their salvation, for they cannot lose what they never had.  Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle John gives us an extremely helpful understanding of true apostasy: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us.  For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1Jn.2:19).

     Our perseverance is not the cause but the result of Christ’s saving and sanctifying work in us.  We must not fall into the dangerous traps of thinking that our righteous works will secure our salvation, or that we do not need to persevere because our salvation is secure in Christ.  For we are not called to a dead faith shrouded in complacency, apathy, and fear but to a living faith compelled by a joyful and passionate resolve to see Christ glorified in our lives.  “[W]e are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Heb.10:39).

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #30):
Leviticus 19-21; 2 Kings 16-20; Psalm 87-89; Proverbs 13; Ezekiel 37-42; Luke 23-24; 1Thessalonians 1-3
Recommended Reading:
“Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?” by James Montgomery Boice

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