Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VIII

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October 19, 2014 by directorfsm

Perseverance

 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

– – Phil 1:6

 

            What words come to mind when you here the term persevere? Initially I think of determination, steadfast, resolve, grit, diligence and I could go on but you get the idea. Here are a couple of quotes to help us understand the concept of perseverance ever better:

 

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams. – Dr. Benjamin Carson

 

When we are foiled, let us believe we shall overcome; when we have fallen, let us believe we shall rise again. Jacob, after he received a blow which made him lame, yet would not give over wrestling (Gen. 32:25) till he had obtained the blessing. So let us never give up, but, in our thoughts knit the beginning, progress and end together, and then we shall see ourselves in heaven out of the reach of all enemies.  —Richard Sibbes

 

            Let us pause for a moment, think of that snail if Noah took 120 years to build the ark, when did the snail set out for it? Dr Carson’s quote is a slap in the face to today’s world of live for yourself. He tells us to reach our dreams our aspirations we must have faith in God. Finally Richard Sibbes reminds us that even with God on our side there will be battles to fight along life’s path. but we are never to quit.

 

            As we come to the 7th step in the Order of Salvation let us take a quick moment to review what we have learned:

 

Step 1            Election:                    We are Chosen by God

Step 2            Calling:                      We are Called by God

Step 3            Regeneration          We are Regenerated made anew by God

Step 4            Conversion              We are Born Again by God

Step 5            Justification              We are Justified by God

Step 6            Adoption                  We are made Heirs by God
Step 7            Sanctified                 We are made Holy by God

 

            Note the ongoing thread throughout each step. It is by God; not by anything we can do for or by ourselves that this process of salvation happens.  That same theme is present in today’s lesson on perseverance.

 

            How many of you have ever started a project of any kind and failed to see it through to the end? I know I am guilty of that.  The bible speaks of a different kind of project one that will always be completed fully. Look back at our base text for a moment:

 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

 

            There are three aspects of perseverance brought out in this verse. We can have confidence because it is of God, we can be assured God will not quit in mid project and it is a lifelong process.

 

            When it comes to better understanding Perseverance of the Saints I have broken it down into three categories: Command, Change and Compensation.

 

COMMAND:

 

            We are commanded to persevere:

 

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  – – 2 Tim 2:1-3

 

Once again my mind says is it really that simple. Get and order, obey and order all is well in the world. Oh if were only so. Let us look deeper.

 

            First we are to be strong in Grace. Not our own grace but that of Christ Jesus. Again the theme from the beginning of this series on salvation is repeated; it is of God, by God and for God.

 

            How are we to be Strong on Grace? By learning and being convicted of the Word of God. We are to listen only to faithful men of God; we are to be a Berean in all things checking the genuine, uncorrupted word of God against all we hear and read.

 

            I have heard it said from to many that they need only the Bible and the Holy Spirit to fully understand the Word of God. While this may be technically correct (the Holy Spirit is God and fully capable of doing anything) it is not biblically correct. The Holy Spirit is our guide and as such is there to assist us in our studies of the Word. I want to emphasize the word STUDIES. If one is to truly unlock all the truths of God’s word we must examine and reexamine God Word as it was originally written. I understand that for many this is not practical or possible for a variety of reasons. That is why Paul wrote (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others.

 

            Finally perseverance is no easy task; for the Holy Spirit calls us to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. This is a cry to war not a family BBQ. There will be battles to fight and we must be prepared.

 

Change:

 

            How do we prepare for the battles to come? How do we endure the trials to come? By controlling our actions! We can only do this by changing how we go about our daily lives.  Let’s face facts, although some who claim to be “Christians” live a life that resembles anything but. We however understand that we must change to persevere.

 

“For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – – Eph 2:10     

 

            As we read in our base text God has begun a good work in us. Here we see not only has he begun a good work in us He created us for good works. Now I do not know about y’all but before and apart from Christ there was and is nothing good about neither me nor my deeds. It is only by God’s work in changing me that I have any hope of persevering.

 

            We all know that once we are “born again” we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). But apart from the obvious need to separate us from sin, why else are we changed as it relates to perseverance?

 

            I thought of three that we can all easily relate to:

 

1) For Fruitfulness: John 15:4-8 says a person who perseveres will bear much fruit. I believe this is what Paul was referring to in Eph 2:1.  We become change so we can do good works for the Kingdom of God.  Just as the withered branch those apart from God not willing to persevere are cast into the fire but those who do persevere are able to do great things for God.

 

2) For Spiritual Growth: Ephesians 4:12-15 says those who persevere will not be as little children easily deceived and misled. They/we through perseverance mature in our faith.

 

3) For a Testimony to others: 2 Tim 2:10 reminds us that like Job many good saints must endure (persevere) through many illnesses and trials not for our sake but for God’s glory. Out testimony in testing times may be will help reach others for the Kingdom of God.

 

 

COMPENSATION:

 

            Remember our base text until the day of Jesus Christ? So what happens then? Not that we need any incentive to persevere, as we learned God commanded it so we should be obedient but hey it’s nice to know what the benefits of it are.

 

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap,

 if we faint not. – – Gal 6:9

 

            I love this verse it tells me that my time and effort are not wasted for God. That in the end there will be a payoff a return on my investment if you will. Here are a few thoughts on our compensation for persevering.

 

             I will start with one you may not have thought of Eph 6:11-18. Yes Armor, one of the benefits of perseverance is the Armor God gives us to fight the good fight. It gets less and less restrictive as we get accustomed to utilizing it in all conditions. Just like the modern soldier must train and train to utilize all his tools on the battlefield so to must God’s children train to meet the spiritual war raging around us. God provides all the Armor we need it is by persevering through trials that we reap its full benefits.

 

            How about strengthening our faith? 2 Tim 3:11 reminds us that Paul endured more than any of us probably ever will. Yet he complained not. No instead he praised the Lord for delivering him out of them all. His faith was strengthened by God’s demands of him.

 

            James writes of what maybe the greatest reason for persevering when in James 1:2 he says Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let that sink in a moment. In one short verse we are promised a reward but no ordinary reward for it is the crown of life!  This pinnacle of our existence is promised only to those who persevere to the end.

 

 

            In closing I would like to quote another Puritan writer William Ames who summarized Perseverance of the saints this way:

 

“This truth is perceived [perseverance of the saints] and made certain in us in these ways:

 

             First, by a certain spiritual sense in which the grace of God now present becomes known and evident to the believer.

 

             Second, by the gift of discernment through which believers distinguish true grace from its shadow.

 

            Third, by the whisper and witness of conscience in which grace and salvation are made fast for believers, just as sin and death for unbelievers.

 

            Fourth, the Spirit of God so confirms to believers these ways of perceiving that they have the same certainty as faith itself…This certainty follows upon the perceiving of faith and repentance, where the free covenant of God is rightly understood.”           

 

            Perseverance is commanded to all saints. Whether you are in the valleys or on the mountain tops we must endure all. The path up the hill or down may be very difficult and we must be properly equipped for the fight to come. I urge you to study God word daily, seek out learned men who are properly trained to teach God’s word. Guard yourself against the lies and smooth talk of world and above all else seek Him daily.

 

In HIS Service

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