The Necessity of Perseverance in Faith and the Assurance of Salvation
1) In order to be saved and spend eternity enjoying God’s presence a person must persevere in faith to the end (1 Corinthians 15:2; Colossians 1:22,23; Luke 8:11-15; Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13; Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 3:14; Romans 11:20-22; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 2:7,10,11,17,25,26; 3:5,11,12,21).
2) An obedient lifestyle which springs from faith is necessary for final salvation (Hebrews 12:14; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 John 3:4-10,14; 4:20; John 8:31; Luke 10:28; Matthew 6:14,15; 18:35; Genesis 18:19; 22:16-17; 26:45; 2 Timothy 2:19). This is not to say that God demands perfection (Philippians 3:12,13; 1 John 1:8-10; Matthew 6:12).
3) A person who has truly been born again will persevere in faith. God sees to that (1 Peter 1:5; cf. also John 6:37-39; 10:26-30; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; 5:24; Romans 8:1-4,28-30; Ephesians 1:4,5).
4) In Scripture we are told of people who appear to be Christians and yet fall away (Luke 8:13,14; Hebrews 6:4-5; 10:26-29). John says that their falling away proves they were never Christians in the first place (1 John 2:19; cf. also Hebrews 6:9; John 8:31; Colossians 1:22,23; Hebrews 3:6,14).
5) Should we entertain the possibility that we might be those who fall away? The answer is yes, if we are persisting in attitudes/actions that spring from unbelief.
The apostle Paul entertained the possibility that he might be disqualified if he was not careful how he “ran the race” (1 Corinthians 9:27); and he commanded the arrogant Corinthians to entertain the idea that they might be those who fall away (1 Corinthians 10:12—read this carefully in the context of 9:24-10:13).
Paul also gives warnings in Romans 11:20-22 and Galatians 5:2-21; Ephesians 5:5.
The writer of Hebrews gives similar warnings: Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:12-14; 4:1,11; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:25.
6) We are commanded to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Peter 1:10).
7) We are expected to enjoy and commanded to experience the assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13; Hebrews 6:11; 10:22).
8) The biblical teaching of the assurance of salvation must be seen in the context of God’s terrible threats to those who fall into persistent unbelief, and the context of God’s glorious promises to those who trust him.
The way in which we persevere in faith and thereby maintain assurance of salvation is by taking seriously the glorious promises and the terrible threats found in Scripture (cf. Hebrews 10:19-31; also Deuteronomy 28).
Pastor John & Pastor Tom
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org