Perseverance of the Saints 1

The goal of this series is to magnify God’s sovereign grace and to humble man’s pride.

This blog post is based on Covenant Reformed Seminary of Asia’s session on The Sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace: Perseverance of the Saints Part 1

We now come to the last point of the Five Points of Calvinism. Perseverance of the saints means that every elect sinner will persevere to the end. As we have mentioned before, every point of the doctrines of Grace has two sides, so the perseverance of the saints has two sides as well. We believe in God’s sovereignty in bringing all of His elect to the end and the saints’ responsibility to persevere.

Preservation and Perseverance

Preservation places the focus on the keeping work of God. Perseverance places the focus on the enduring work of the saint. These must be distinguished but never severed. We persevere (endure) because we are preserved (kept), or we are preserved (kept) in our perseverance (enduring). We are able to persevere because God preserves us. According to Joel Beeke, “These two notions are closely related, but they are not synonymous. The unchanging nature of God’s saving design for His people and His preserving hand undergirds their perseverance.”1 In this blog, we will focus on God’s preservation.


From start to finish our salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:9). This means that God will keep every true Christian in a state of grace to the end.

[1690 BCF 17.1] Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved...
Philippians 1:6 ESV 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.

“The Bible teaches that true believers, real genuine Christians, shall persevere in their religion to the end of their lives. They shall never perish. They shall never be lost. They shall never be cast way. Once in Christ, they shall always be in Christ. In a word, every man, woman, and child on earth that receives saving grace, shall sooner or later receive eternal glory. Every soul that is once justified and washed in Christ’s blood, shall at length be found safe at Christ’s right hand in the day of judgement.”

J.C. Ryle

Proof # 1: The Electing Love of the Father

The Father loved His people uniquely in Christ even before the foundation of the world. God’s electing love cannot be separated from the perseverance of the saints.

John 6:39 ESV ~ 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.

Let’s observe two things: (1) God must not lose any. None will fall away, and (2) He must glorify them (raise them up). Since God loved them from eternity, He sent the Son for them, and none will be lost.

Romans 8:30 ESV ~ And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Paul here is giving the highlights of God’s order of salvation (ordo salutis)—it begins with predestination and ends with glorification. This verse has rightly been called “an unbreakable golden chain”—everyone predestined will be glorified. The order is in the past form since it will certainly come to pass according to God’s will.

Proof # 2: The Intercessory prayer of the Son

As the Great High Priest, Christ intercedes for His people.

John 17:24 ESV Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Luke 22:31-32 ESV “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

In the verse above, notice that Christ is not praying for all people, but only for those whom the Father gave Him. Specifically, He prayed for Peter, not that Satan would have not sifted him, or that he may be exempted from trials but that his faith should not fail. Our faith will never go out because Christ is praying for us.

Hebrews 7:24-25 ESV but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

The permanency of Christ’s priesthood lies in his eternal character, and He saves His people without fail and He is able because He never sleeps. He is always alive to intercede for them.

Proof # 3: The Indwelling of the Spirit

Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV 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.

This is the ministry of the Spirit. Every Christian is sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise-this sealing speaks of ownership. Here we learn Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise—His presence marks them as Christ’s. This sealing is not temporary. Since the seal is eternal, He is the eternal Spirit, it can never be lost. What is sealed is sealed for eternity.

Proof # 4: The Unchangeable Work of Salvation

Since God is eternal, His work is eternal. Regeneration and justification are two (of many aspects of salvation) that are irreversible acts. It is impossible to be regenerated and then unregenerated; justified and then unjustified. Justification has two sides—forgiveness (our sins are imputed to Christ) and acceptance (Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us). When we become Christians, every sin we have ever committed (past, present, and future) is forgiven. It’s impossible to be truly justified unless we are fully forgiven; justification necessitates total forgiveness.

Proof # 5: The Covenantal Faithfulness of God

The LORD is a covenant-keeping God. He is faithful in keeping His promise because His Name is at stake. No true covenant member will cease fearing God. They will always trust, love, and fear Him forever. They will never turn away from God because God will put fear in their hearts.

Jeremiah 32:39-40 ESV I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

“If there were only that text in the Bible, it would suffice to prove the final perseverance of the saints: “They SHALL NOT depart from me.” The salvation of those who are in covenant with God is herein provided for by an absolute promise of the omnipotent God, which must be carried out. It is plain, clear, unconditional, positive: “They shall not depart from me.”

C.H. Spurgeon

No one can say that he can still be saved though he departs from the LORD, because the Scripture is clear that none of His people will depart from Him. If they depart from the LORD they never belonged to the LORD.


How does God preserve His people? God preserves them by His power, by the use of means, and in faith and holiness.

By His Power

It’s the same power that saves us that keeps or preserves us. This is ultimately why every true Christian will be preserved to the end—because God is all-powerful.

John 10:28-29 ESV 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.

Canons of Dort, Heading 5, Article 3: God’s Preservation of the Converted Because of these remnants of sin dwelling in them and also because of the temptations of the world and Satan, those who have been converted could not remain standing in this grace if left to their own resources. But God is faithful, mercifully strengthening them in the grace once conferred on them and powerfully preserving them in it to the end.

By the Use of Means

While God preserves us, He does so through means. What are these means? The public and private means of grace as well as affliction and fellowship of the saints.

Canons of Dort, Heading 5, Article 14: God’s Use of Means in Perseverance And, just as it has pleased God to begin this work of grace in us by the proclamation of the gospel, so God preserves, continues, and completes this work by the hearing and reading of the gospel, by meditation on it, by its exhortations, threats, and promises, and also by the use of the sacraments.

A person who thinks little of this means is dangerous. A person who fails to use the means of grace, has little reason to believe that they are being preserved.

Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

In the verses above the apostle identifies one of the several means whereby the people of God are preserved in the faith: Christian fellowship, mutual accountability, Christian gathering, the LORD’s Day, etc

In Faith and Holiness

In preserving His people, God keeps them in a state of obedience. There’s only one path that leads to life and that the narrow path—that is, it’s as narrow as the law of God. How do Christians continue in the path of duty or obedience? By faith and love. And where do faith and love come from but God! God powerfully preserves the graces of faith and love whereby Christians endure.

1 Peter 1:5 ESV who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 John 4:4 ESV Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 5:4 ESV For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

We are kept by God through faith. He keeps us by working faith in our hearts. Only those who continue to believe are saved. This does not mean that faith and love will never grow dim. They will. But they will never go out. We will be able to overcome the world, not because of ourselves. We overcome because God promises to keep us. He empowers and protects us.


The following objections are usually raised by Arminians, Lutherans, and classical Pentecostalism who believe that salvation can be lost.

["The Opinion of the Remonstrants"1618] “True believers can fall from true faith and can fall into such sins as cannot be consistent with true and justifying faith; not only is it possible for this to happen, but it even happens frequently. True believers are able to fall through their own fault into shameful and atrocious deeds, to persevere and to die in them; and therefore finally to fall and to perish."

Objection #1: It promotes carnal security.

There are groups that draw this conclusion. They are professing Christians who live licentiously. But we deny that such people have truly come to know the saving grace of God in the person of Christ. Knowing who Christ is and what He’s done for us, will motivate us to live humble and grateful lives. The knowledge of God’s preservation is a powerful motivation to endure.

Objection # 2: It denies biblical examples

The Scripture does not teach that all professing Christians (visible members of the church) will be saved. There are examples of apostasy (e.g. Judas Iscariot – John 6:70-71, Demas – 2 Timothy 4:10) Not every professing Christian endures to the end. Only True Christians will endure to the end.

1 John 2:18-20 ESV Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

Objection # 3: It ignores commands to endure

We totally agree that Scripture everywhere exhorts believers to endure to the end. As we shall see next week, the Lord uses these exhortations as a means to preserve us to the end. This doctrine does not ignore the biblical commands, it actually supports them since the doctrine highlights the word “persevere”. No true believers will be lost because none can take them out of the Father and the Son’s hand (John 10:28-29). C.H. Spurgeon once said, “If God lights the candle, none can blow it out.”


1 Beeke, J. R., Ferguson, S. B., & Al, E. (2013). Living for God’s glory : an introduction to Calvinism. Reformation Trust. p.117

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

3 thoughts on “Perseverance of the Saints 1

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