PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
July 31, 2007 4 Comments
This is the fourth of my posts on TULIP and my understanding of the 5 points of Calvinism or Reformed Theology.
What is taught by Reformed Theology: To be saved (included among the Elect) involves several steps. First a person must be chosen to be among the Elect (Unconditional Election). Next, Jesus had to come and die to be the propitiation for the Elect (Limited Atonement). Finally, a person must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Irresistible Grace) and receive and willingly respond to the inward call of God. All of these are actions undertaken and completed by God not the individual. The person can’t initiate or even desire to initiate this process. So, since this is a God thing, since He started it He has promised to see it through to completion. God began the process, God maintains the process, and God has promised to complete the process.
Philippians 1:6 says 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. (ESV)
1 Peter 1:3-5 says Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (ESV)
Now for the question. Can anyone undo what God has started, maintained, and promised to complete? The answer is a resounding NO! Jesus said it this way in 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. (ESV)
All of this means that once we have been saved we cannot lose that salvation. It cannot be taken from us and we can’t give it back.
My question and comments: I agree that this is the correct Biblical understanding of this issue. What clinched it for me was a simple question. If we can give back or undo something that only God could do (i.e. lose our salvation) then does that not make us equal to God? If we are as powerful as God then He is not truly God.