The Preservation of God
Topic: Wednesday Nights Scripture: Philippians 2:12-13
- Key Point: The Christian life requires endurance.
Hebrews 10:36 – For you have need of endurance.
Hebrews 10:32-34 - But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
- Last Week: The Patience of God
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
- The Preservation of God
- Key Point: Our perseverance in the faith is founded upon God’s preservation of our faith.
Philippians 2:12-13 - Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
"No text sets forth more succinctly and clearly the relation of God’s working to our working. God’s working in us is not suspended because we work, nor our working suspended because God works. . . God works in us and we also work. . . But the relation is that because God works we work. All working out of salvation on our part is the effect of God’s working in us" (John Murray)
Colossians 1:29 - For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
The Benedictions of Scripture
Numbers 6:24-26 - The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Hebrews 13:20-21 - Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
“Perseverance means that God will enable the believer to remain in the faith through the remainder of his or her life. It also means that the believer needs to demonstrate salvation through becoming more like Christ.” (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology)
“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. . .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; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; . . . from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.” (Westminster Confession of Faith)
The Securing Work of God the Father
Philippians 1:6 - 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.
1 Peter 1:3-5 – 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.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
“If ever it should come to pass,
That sheep of Christ might fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas!
Would fall a thousand times a day” (C.H. Spurgeon)
Jude 1:1 – Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude 24-25 – Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
The Securing Work of God the Son
John 10:27-30 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 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. I and the Father are one.
1 Corinthians 1:7-9 – you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hebrews 7:25 – 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 Securing Work of God the Spirit
Ephesians 1:13-14 – 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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 - And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
“God’s seal is not, like the great seal of the United States, an emblem to be impressed on paper. God’s seal is His Holy Spirit, who is God Himself present with His people. To be sure, God has given us also outward signs and seals of His ownership. . .But God gives a seal that is even more than these gifts of blessing. His final seal is the gift of Himself.” (Edmund Clowney)
“The witness and work of the Spirit shows God’s estimation of us. . .He sets his mark, his likeness on them. They are things hallowed and consecrated. . . If God should give a man kingdoms and great monarchies, it seals not God’s love to him at all; but when God makes a man a spiritual king to rule over his base lusts, this is a seal of God’s valuing him above all men.” (Richard Sibbes, Sealing with the Spirit)
- Key Point: All three persons of the Trinity would need to fail in order for the believer in Christ to lose his or her salvation.
“For a believer to lose his salvation would demand a reversal and an undoing of all the. . . works of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The key issue in the discussion of the believer’s security concerns the issue of who does the saving. If man is responsible for securing his salvation, then he can be lost; if God secures the person’s salvation, then the person is forever secure. The eternal security of the believer by the grace of God is the completion and crowning glory of God’s plan of salvation.” (Paul Enns)
“The elect are not only redeemed by Christ and renewed by the Spirit, but also are kept in faith by the almighty power of God. All those who are spiritually united to Christ through regeneration are eternally secure in Him. Nothing can separate them from the eternal and unchangeable love of God. They have been predestined to eternal glory and are therefore assured of heaven . . ." (David Steele and Curtis Thomas)
1 John 2:19 - 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.
Kindred Doctrinal Statement (Security)
- We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Cor 1:4-8; Eph 4:30; Heb 7:25; 13:5; 1 Pet 5; Jude 24).
- We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Rom 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Gal 5:13; 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
III. The Golden Chain of Salvation: Romans 8:28-30
Romans 8:28-30 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 8:35 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
- Link #1: Foreknowledge
Romans 8:29 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.
- Foreknew (Proginosko) – from pro meaning “before” and ginosko meaning “to know.” The term “knowledge” is used in Scripture to refer to a personal relationship.
Genesis 4:1 - Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.
Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Amos 3:2 - “You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
"Many times in Scripture ‘know’ has a pregnant meaning which goes beyond that of mere cognition. It is used in a sense practically synonymous with ‘love’, to set regard upon, to know with peculiar interest, delight, affection, and action. . . [it means] ‘whom he knew from eternity with distinguishing affection and delight’ and is virtually equivalent to ‘whom he foreloved’. . . It is a sovereign distinguishing love.” (John Murray)
Romans 9:11-13 - though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
"I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine." (C.H. Spurgeon)
Jeremiah 31:3 - I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Psalm 103:17 – But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.
- Link #2: Predestination
Romans 8:29 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
- Predestined (Proorizo) – from pro meaning “before” and horizo meaning “to determine, as by a boundary or limit.”
"Predestination has something to do with the relationship of our ultimate destination and that something is done about that destination by somebody before we arrive there. The pre- of predestination refers to time. Webster speaks of ‘beforehand.’ Destiny refers to the place we are going, as we see in the normal use of the word destination." (R.C. Sproul)
Ephesians 1:4-5 - even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Ephesians 1:11 - In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
"The terms election and predestination are often used interchangeably, both referring to God’s gracious decree whereby he chooses some for eternal life. . . A sharp distinction between the two words (election and predestination) is not warranted from Scripture.” (Kevin DeYoung)
"Predestination simply identifies the point prior to time when God determined that He would elect. . . election is the actual choice." (John MacArthur)
Notes on Election:
- Eklego – to “choose out of”. The word indicates that God chose some but not
- The middle voice indicates that God chose for Himself.
- This describes the purpose of the choosing – God chose believers to be in fellowship with Him and to be His special possession throughout eternity.
“Here we see the infinite love of God, that He has been pleased to think of us poor creatures from everlasting and make it His work to reconcile us to Himself. And here is the foundation of the sweetness and comfort of all the mercies of God to those who are reconciled to Him: they are the fruits of the eternal love of God for us.” (Jeremiah Burroughs)
2 Timothy 2:10 - Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
1 Peter 1:1 - Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Deuteronomy 7:6-7 - “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
- Link #3: Calling
Romans 8:30 - And those whom he predestined he also called,
Two Types of Calling in the Bible:
1) “The Gospel Call” – Universally given to all (elect and non-elect).
Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:19 - And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
2) “The Effectual Call” – Specifically given to the elect. Always effectual.
John 11:43 – When he had said these things, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Galatians 5:13 – For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
“Effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith.” (Wayne Grudem)
“All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.” (Westminster Confession of Faith)
- Link #4: Justification
Romans 8:30 - And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified,
“Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.” (Wayne Grudem)
Justification is a legal declaration
Romans 4:3 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Justification is a double imputation
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Justification has lasting consequences
Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:3 – Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings. . .
v.9 – Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God
Romans 5:11 - More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
“This doctrine [justification by faith] is the head and the cornerstone. Therefore it is necessary constantly to inculcate and impress it, . . . for it cannot be inculcated and urged enough or too much. . . The article of justification must be learned diligently.” (Martin Luther)
- Link #5: Glorification
Rom 8:30 those whom he justified he also glorified.
"The tense in the last word (doxazo) is amazing. It is the most daring anticipation of faith that even the NT contains." (James Denney, The Expositor's Greek Testament)
“The aorist tense of glorified speaks of God who sees the end from the beginning and in whose decree and purpose all future events are comprehended and fixed. . .It is already an accomplished fact in the mind and purpose of God. Note that those who were foreknown will all be glorified without loss of a single one.”
1 John 3:2 - Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Romans 8:16-17 - The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
“Glorification thus concerns the final event in the salvation of true believers that began in eternity past with God’s elective decision. It is the fitting conclusion to our spiritual journey in which God’s glory is becoming progressively revealed. . . It is the final realization of our unfolding salvation in Christ.” (Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation)
“The souls of believers are at death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory: and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism)
Romans 8:19 – For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:23 - And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:30 - And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- Key Point: In between the fourth and fifth links in the golden chain of salvation, there is the protecting, preserving ministry of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to keep the believer saved and secure.
1 Peter 5:10 - And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Romans 8:28 - we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:38-39 - For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Philippians 1:6 - 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.
Our responsibility (Next week’s lesson):
Jude 1:20-21 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
Jude 1:24-25 - Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.