Perseverance of the Saints Part 1

March 12, 2007

John 10:27-29– “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 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.”

When we approach the doctrines of salvation, we must always remember that it is God alone who works out our salvation. We do nothing of ourselves to earn salvation. It is just not possible, for we are dead in our trespasses and sins. How can a dead man do anything? There is, however, one question which must be addressed concerning salvation. Will those whom the Father has elected, and brought into salvation according to the work and atonement of Christ, continue in their estate of salvation to the end?

This question was dealt with by the Westminster Confession of Faith, and they concluded, that “They, whom the Father hath accepted in His beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved” (Westminster Confession of Faith 17:1).

In other words, once you are truly saved, your salvation is secured. You are guaranteed to enter the Kingdom of God because He has saved you, and no one is able to snatch you out of His hand. He holds you firmly in His hand, and he will never let go.

When it comes to perseverance, however, the Arminian party during the Reformation saw this doctrine in a different light. They concluded that if God truly secures a person’s salvation, and they cannot lose it completely, would it not them to continue in their sin unconcerned about going to hell? This thinking that God would eternally save men seemed to them to be a recipe for disaster.

However, this thinking that men would continue in their estate of sin while still possessing salvation, completely ignores what Paul told the Romans:

Romans 6:1-4– “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.”

There is a common phrase out there today among many modern Arminians called ‘Once saved, always saved’. This phrase is true, to a point. When we are truly saved by the grace of God, our salvation is preserved, and we will continue to persevere in Christ to the end. This phrase is derived from the practice of Decisional Regeneration. Decisional Regeneration is the belief that if you simply ‘pray a prayer’, you will be saved because you called on the name of God to save you. The Scriptures clearly teach that this is practice is false, for Christ clearly taught that not all those who ‘pray a prayer’, or call upon the name of the Lord, go to heaven:

Matthew 7:21-23– “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (emphasis added)

Christ has told us that not all of those who say they have prayed a prayer will go to heaven! Decisional Regeneration is a clear violation of what is clearly taught in Scripture. The same principle applies to the ‘Altar Call’. It is not a prayer that will get you into heaven, only mercy and grace of God through the calling of the Holy Spirit causing you to repent, believe, have faith in Christ is what will bring you into heaven. Decisional Regeneration is a doctrine of demons; contrary to Scripture.

The implication of Decisional Regeneration is that it is a guaranteed process, but Christ says that not all who claim Christ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Many of those who claim to be born again because they simply prayed a prayer will not enter, for they were never of the elect from the beginning. Claiming to be a Christian because you prayed a prayer is as far from the truth as claiming to be a Marine because you hold a rifle. Holding a rifle in your hand does not make you a Marine, so saying a prayer does not make you a Christian.

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