Will I make it to the end? This question has been put to me many times over the years by those who fear losing their salvation. We must examine ourselves to make sure that we are in the faith and we must take the responsibility to persevere to the end. After all, the Lord Jesus is the One who said, "He who endures to the end will be saved (Matt. 10:22)." On the other hand, the Lord Jesus gives us rest in Him. That means, among other things, that we can rest in Him for final salvation. In other words, it is God who preserves us to the end. The groundwork for that statement was laid in the first part of this article. We continue here with a second, biblical implication.
Second, just so that we glean a full comprehension of what is being said here, it is important to note that we can't produce the spiritual revelation and power we need to be saved in the end. But, the good news is that God is the One who accomplishes sanctification and preservation (23). This reality is why Paul resorts to prayer when he seeks spiritual work in human hearts (23). He knows God must do the work. Moreover, as we shall see, Paul actually affirms God’s faithfulness and not ours when spiritual work is needed (24) and he asks the brethren to pray which again implies that God must work (25). Finally, Paul commands the word be read which is God's revelation of Himself (27). As he affirms in other letters, it is God's word that works effectually in those who believe (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Thes. 2:13).
Concerning God's work on our behalf, in v. 24, Paul simply emphasizes the reality of that which we've be speaking, namely, that God is the One who saves and sanctifies. Certainly we have responsibility as human beings to persevere; to be faithful; to avail ourselves of the means of grace. But, the reality is that God is the One who works these things in us. Paul clearly says, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
Paul refers to God's character. He is faithful. He will not go against Himself, His work, or His promises. Our final salvation is not up to us in an ultimate sense. It is up to God. Of course, the fact that our final salvation is up to God is good news because we are often unfaithful. But, God is faithful and He will "do it." In other words, God will preserve us.
Note Paul's logic as well. God will preserve us because He is faithful to be sure, but, He is the One who called us. Paul here refers to the effectual call of God unto salvation by the operation of the Holy Spirit in an individual's heart. He’s talking about the new birth. That is a dynamic that God works in individuals to bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life. In so doing, He grants the twin gifts of faith and repentance that dead sinners who are now alive might then exercise faith and repentance unto justification. Salvation from start to finish is all of God and all of grace. God calls and God preserves. For that we can give Him praise!
Third, God's grace is such a wonderful dynamic that we must be reminded that we don't deserve the spiritual revelation and power we need to be saved in the end. Paul's reference to the God of peace implies that He is the One who reconciles us to Himself because we war against Him (23). Further, Paul's appeal to the grace of Christ demonstrates that we need that grace on a daily basis and for everything in our lives (28). There he simply says, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
[Scroll Down for Part I...Part III Tomorrow]
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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