Is the Perseverance of the Saints a Biblical Concept?
- Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith Contributing Writer
- 2021 7 Sep
What Is the Meaning of Perseverance of the Saints?
There are many references in Scripture regarding the perseverance of the Saints. Philippians 1:6 declares, “He who has begun a great work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” John 10:28 declares, “And I will give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Perseverance of the Saints means for us to continue in the way of salvation and get into Heaven. Our names must be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is safe to assume that our names can remain there if we keep God’s commandments, repent of our sins, and don’t speak against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31-32). I try not to have conversations with people regarding the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, you don’t know their level of understanding or my knowledge of clarifying it. It’s just not an area that I am going to sit around and chit-chat about. I will leave that to the pastors and preachers. Even they don’t talk about it that much. Read Proverbs 26 regarding foolish men. Sometimes the smartest man is one who is somewhere not running his mouth.
It is important to note that we should be leery of murmuring and complaining. Sometimes, you can say things you don’t mean. These are all instruments of the devil. He wants to take as many people down with him as possible. If people do not believe in your God, why would you entertain their negative conversations about your salvation? They are probably somewhere saying things that they should not say, and you are coming into agreement with them by listening. Don’t do it. Some non-believers spend their waking hours trying to harass the Saints. They recognize that God exists, but they don’t want to follow His rules. They may even believe in Satan and God created him.
Does Perseverance of the Saints Guarantee Salvation?
That question is for God Himself. Perseverance will not hinder you, but you still must keep God’s statutes and keep a repenting heart. If you are persevering to keep God’s commandments, live holy, walk in love, and repent of your sins, you most likely will receive your reward. God is not a man that He should lie to nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19).
We must remember that salvation is a gift from God. We must receive the gift. We also must appreciate the gift. Once we get saved, the hardest part has been completed. Some people don’t get to that point because they cannot accept the fact that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He walked the earth, and that He died and was resurrected. That was hard for people to believe in the biblical times and unfortunately, some still have a hard time grasping the concept. We as Christians are charged with breaking down the plan of salvation so that people can understand and believe. We cannot call ourselves Christians and do any and everything. Others are watching and some of their salvation hinges on how we conduct ourselves. We don’t want to give unbelievers an out with unnecessary bad behavior. In other words, we don’t want to have conduct unbecoming of a Christian.
God is like any parent. He desires to give you the best of everything. Sometimes, we mess up, but He still forgives us and expects us to learn from our mistakes. Some of His children learn from their mistakes and try to do better. Some make a lot of mistakes and need constant forgiveness, and others do whatever the heck they want and expect to receive the same reward as those who were repentant. Doesn’t work that way. You must keep His laws and repent when you miss the mark and do better.
The devil is a poster child for bad behavior. He believes God exists and once resided in heaven. However, he initiated a rebellion against the Lord and was kicked out of heaven along with a third of the angels (Luke 10:18). There is no redemption plan for him. He went too far and is suffering the consequences. He will face the final judgment and be transferred to the lake of fire. He is not an example to follow.
Why Do Many Christians Argue against and for Perseverance of the Saints?
Many Christians argue for this concept because they know the character of God. They know that God stands ready to assist us. God also knows that the best-laid plans of man often go astray. God is aware of the dynamics of us persevering. Our adversary the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). To assist our walk-in persevering, God gave us the Bible. We also have the witness and testimony of Jesus Christ. Additionally, we have instruction on godly living which encourages our faith and perseverance.
Can someone lose their salvation? The Bible says that God is married to the backslider. A backslider has missed the mark and probably has not repented in a while. Sometimes backsliders may even be too hard on themselves in thinking that God will not forgive them. God is the one in charge of the final judgment. It is best to repent daily for your sins even if you don’t think you have committed one. Just keep yourself covered and prayed up. Avoid the appearance of evil. Avoid murmuring and complaining. These are things that God does not like especially murmuring and complaining against spiritual leaders. We know they are not perfect, but God called and sent them. God will perfect them along the way. If He ever elevates you to that level, you are wanting grace as well.
I like to recite this verse. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:14). Don’t play Russian Roulette with your salvation. Stop procrastinating about repenting. Too many times I hear of tragedies that occur throughout the world. Sometimes, I hear that the person was a born-again Christian and had a heart for people. Other times, I don’t hear anything. I often wonder if that individual had an opportunity to be saved or were they already saved. Or were they cut down too soon and didn’t have a chance to be saved. We must come to the realization that not everyone on the planet is a Christian. Unfortunately, everyone is not going to heaven. And yes, there are many people in hell at this hour. Let us work to stay rapture-ready. Let’s witness to people who we know are not saved. Stop wasting time trying to recruit people from church to church to church. You should instead try to witness to the lost. It is easy to recruit people from other churches. They are already saved. Can you save someone who is not a Christian? That is the question.
Why Is This Concept Important to Know?
This concept is important because sometimes we set high standards for ourselves. Some people are perfectionists. God does not require that we be perfect. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to be a ransom for us. Jesus stands in the gap for us pleading our case so that we don’t have to be perfect. We do have to accept Jesus as Savior so that He can stand in the gap for us. We also need to know that staying saved is a job. You must be conscious of what you do, how you treat people, and what you say. You receive professional development on your job or in your career. Christians should invest in professional development as well. It’s called Bible study. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/leolintang
Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine. She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR. Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.