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Archive for the ‘preservation’ Category

Hear God’s word, heeding all God’s warnings, trusting all God’s promises and obeying all God’s commands.

source: Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah, 36:1-32

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In John 18 both Judas and Peter are said to have been "standing among" the servants and officers of the high priest who arrested Jesus. Both have aligned themselves with those who are opposed to Jesus. Both Judas and Peter turn from Jesus – Judas betrays and Peter denies.

Despite appearances there is a great difference between these men – one is called ‘a son of destruction’ (17:12) who dies to go to ‘his place’ in hell while the other is restored to his apostolic office.

Why the different outcomes? John’s gospel indicates that the difference between Judas and Peter is that Peter belonged to Jesus in a way that Judas did not. Peter is a sheep whom the Father has given to Jesus (John 10:26-27). Jesus loses none of those who are given to him.

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat (the idea is one of being ruined and left in pieces), but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

Satan must ask God’s permission to tempt and test us. If granted permission he may only tempt to the degrees that God has permitted him (as seen in the life of Job also).

Peter is not lost because he belongs to Jesus who has prayed that his faith not fail. Although Peter’s faith seemed to fail momentarily around the charcoal fire, his faith does not ultimately fail due to Jesus’ prayer and initiative. Jesus never loses any of his sheep.

"We can, like Job and Peter, find the sifting painful and bewildering. … When the sifting was over, Job and Peter were humbler and stood closer to God. It was good for them that they had been afflicted (Psa 119:771). A conversation in heaven between Job and Peter would be interesting to hear. (Leahy, The Victory of the Lamb, 68-69).

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 17, Of the Perseverance of the Saints

They, whom God 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 (Joh_10:28, Joh_10:29; Phi_1:6; 1Pe_1:5, 1Pe_1:9; 2Pe_1:10; 1Jo_3:9).

This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father (Jer_31:3; 2Ti_2:18, 2Ti_2:19); upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ (Luk_22:32; Joh_17:11, Joh_17:24; Rom_8:33-39; Heb_7:25; Heb_9:12-15; Heb_10:10, Heb_10:14; Heb_13:20, Heb_13:21); the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them (Joh_14:16, Joh_14:17; 1Jo_2:27; 1Jo_3:9); and the nature of the covenant of grace (Jer_32:40): from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof (Joh_10:28; 2Th_3:3; 1Jo_2:19).

Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins (Mat_26:70, Mat_26:72, Mat_26:74); and, for a time, continue therein (Psa_51:14 and title): whereby they incur Godìs displeasure (2Sa_11:27; Isa_64:5, Isa_64:7, Isa_64:9), and grieve His Holy Spirit (Eph_4:30), come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts (Psa_51:8, Psa_51:10, Psa_51:12; Son_5:2-4, Son_5:6; Rev_2:4), have their hearts hardened (Isa_36:17; Mar_6:52; Mar_16:14), and their consciences wounded (Psa_32:3, Psa_32:4; Psa_51:8), hurt and scandalize others (2Sa_12:14), and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Psa_89:31, Psa_89:32; 1Co_11:32).

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… the faith which appeared to be destroyed was, as it were, concealed and buried in his heart. The same thing happens sometimes with many persons; for they grow wanton for a time, as if they had cast off all fear of God, so that there appears to be no longer any faith in them; but as soon as God has chastised them with a rod, the rebellion of their flesh is subdued, and they return to their right senses. It is certain that disease would not, of itself, be sufficient to teach piety; and hence we infer, that, when the obstructions have been removed, the good seed, which had been concealed and crushed, springs up. We have a striking instance of this in David; for, so long as he is permitted to gratify his lust, we see how he indulges without restraint. Every person would have thought that, at that time, faith had been altogether banished from his mind; and yet, by a short exhortation of the Prophet, he is so suddenly recalled to life, that it may easily be inferred, that some spark, though it had been choked, still remained in his mind, and speedily burst into a flame. So far as relates to the men themselves, they are as guilty as if they had renounced faith and all the grace of the Holy Spirit; but the infinite goodness of God prevents the elect from falling so low as to be entirely alienated from God. We ought, therefore, to be most zealously on our guard not to fall from faith; and yet we ought to believe that God restrains his elect by secret bridle, that they may not fall to their destruction, and that He always cherishes miraculously in their hearts some sparks of faith, which he afterwards, at the proper time, kindles anew by the breath of his Spirit.

Source: John Calvin on John 20:26

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It is utterly and absolutely impossible that the sentence of the Divine Judge should ever be revoked or reversed.

His sentence of justification results from and rests upon a complete satisfaction having been offered to His Law, and that in the fulfillment of a covenant engagement. Thus is effectually precluded the recall of the verdict.

The Father stipulated to release His elect from the curse of the law provided the Son would meet the claims of justice against them. The Son freely complied with His Father’s will: “Lo, I come.” He was now made under the law, fulfilled the law, and suffered the full penalty of the law; therefore shall He see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.

Sooner shall the lightenings of omnipotence shiver the Rock of Ages than those sheltering in Him again be brought under condemnation.

 

Source: A.W. Pink, ‘The Doctrine of Justification – Its Results’ in Studies in the Scriptures December, 1934

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Some of God’s people have been so much cast down and disquieted, that they have despaired of their safety. Some have fallen sadly, as David and Peter did. Some have departed from the faith for a time … Many have been tried by cruel doubts and fears. But all have got safe home at last, the youngest as well as the oldest, the weakest as well as the strongest. And so it will be to the end. Can you prevent tomorrow’s sun from rising? Can you prevent the tide … from ebbing and flowing? Can you prevent the planets moving in their respective orbits? Then, and then alone, can you prevent the salvation of any believer, however feeble, the final safety of any living stone in that church which is built upon the rock, however small or insignificant that stone may appear.

 

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 13: The Church that Christ Builds)

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No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand

 

John 10:28-29

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.

 

John 6:37-39

All that the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

For I have come down from heaven,

not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

And this is the will of him who sent me,

that I should lose none

of those he has given me,

but raise them up on the last day.

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We detest the doctrine that a man who has once believed in Jesus will be saved even if he altogether forsook the path of obedience. We deny that such a turning aside is possible to the true believer, and therefore the idea imputed to us is clearly an invention of the adversary. No, beloved, a man, if he be indeed a believer in Christ, will not live after the will of the flesh. When he does fall into sin it will be his grief and misery, and he will never rest till he is cleansed from guilt; but I will say this of the believer, that if he could live as he would like to live he would live a perfect life. If you ask him if, after believing, he may live as he lists, he will reply, “Would God I could live as I list, for I desire to live altogether without sin…”

source: Charles Spurgeon, 24th June, 1877

#1361 “The Final Perseverance of the Saints”

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