The Perseverance of the Saints
Kept by the Power of God
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. –I Peter 1:2-4
There are several precious things that regard the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ.
Our salvation has its source in eternity, not on the earth.
Whatever takes place on the earth is secondary to what is in the mind and purpose of God. Humanism in all its forms will not admit this. Humanism had its beginning in the Garden of Eden. In partaking of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam fraudulently assumed ownership of the earth, refusing to be under God’s authority and control. Atheistic humanism is a continuation of the rebellion of Adam. It wants to maintain control over the earth. It cannot bear the idea that things in the physical world might have their cause in eternity. This world is all it knows. Christian humanism seeks to clothe this rebellion in the stolen garments of Christianity, for the wolf likes to go around in sheep’s clothing.
Such Control Is Impossible.
Adam didn’t actually take control, of course, because it could not be that a creature, no matter how exalted and noble, could actually assume authority and control over the things that God made—not even such an insignificant thing as a piece of fruit. He could not even eat nor digest, or ever reach forth his hand to take the fruit off the tree—he could not see the fruit or even perceive that it was good for fruit and pleasing to the eyes. All these things are gifts of God, for in Him we live and move and have our being, and without Him we could not so much as move. We have no independent existence.
The Means of Salvation.
The means of our salvation is the “sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.” [see verses quoted above] Through faith in the blood of Christ, we have peace with God, as the Holy Spirit begins His blessed work of conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. This is the wonderful gift of God through faith. This work is regeneration, a new birth.
Our First and Second Birth.
Our first birth implanted in us the spiritual image of our first father, Adam, so that we are under the guilt of his transgression, and under the curse and corruption of sin. Our second birth is by the Holy Spirit, and implants the spiritual image of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Last Adam. This is the reason the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Adoption,” because we are made like Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. We cannot, like Him, partake of the very essence of God, but we can be made in His image, and bear the marks of the children of God. These marks are the fruit of the Spirit, which are in part listed in Galatians: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Because God loves His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, He very much loves us, who are formed in the image of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ. We have peace with God, and the work of sanctification is begun in us.
Because we are sons of God we have an inheritance. This inheritance is undefiled and never fades away, because it is not of the earth and earthly, but it is in heaven. All things on the earth fade and pass away. Moth and rust corrupt them, and thieves break through and steal. Not so, our heavenly reward. The true eternal city is in Heaven, and it has solid foundation, the promise and the covenant of the Triune God. Christ is in Heaven the guarantor of the inheritance, and nothing can ever corrupt or defile Him. We are commanded, as we saw in Colossians, to set our affections on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. We will forever be with the Lord in heaven, and the things of this earth—even the most glorious and beautiful of them—cannot compare with the glory that belongs to the children of God in heaven. So this brings us to our text, quoted above.
The inheritance is reserved for a kept people.
We are kept by the power of God. Note the following passages: John 10:25-35. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. My Father and I are one. For anyone of the Lord’s sheep to be lost, someone would have to rise up into eternity, and pluck them out of the hand of Divine Omnipotence. It would require a Being of Infinite intelligence, power, and Eternity to do this. In other words, it would take someone as mighty and infinite as God Himself. But this is impossible, for there is only One God: and Jesus affirms the unity of the Godhead with the words: “I and my Father are one.” There is a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, equal in power, wisdom, glory, honor, and might. But the diversity in the Godhead does not mean that God can be divided against Himself, that there be contention in the Godhead over the eternal souls of the Lord’s people. The Son did not have to persuade a reluctant Father that the plan of redemption was a good one. It was the Father’s plan, conceived in His love, and consented to by the Eternal Son. The Father’s justice cannot be turned against the sheep, for Christ fully satisfied for all the sins of the Sheep. The Father’s holiness cannot be turned against the sheep, for the Holy Spirit is fully engaged in calling and the Sheep have learned the voice of the Father, and have begun to follow Him.
All of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all fully engaged in the salvation of the people of God, and their security could not be stated any more emphatically than Christ did here.
This is similar to John 10 27-30—it might even be considered a commentary on the words of Jesus.
God’s General Providence and Government. “All things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The security of the believer is cast against the background of God’s general providence and rule of the universe: verse 28. God works all things: this is clear in the entire content of the Bible: He is the Creator, sustainer, ruler, and judge of all the earth. Things do no just happen. God has a good and loving purpose for all that He has done: and that loving and good purpose is described in the verses that follow: it is for the good of those who love God and who are the called according to his purpose. It is not necessary for Christianity to show that nothing but good things happen to people throughout the earth—the Bible doesn’t claim that, for the world lies in wickedness, under the judgment of God, and bad things happen to the godless in this world and in the world to come. But God does intend the salvation and the final eternal blessing of His elect, even though they must endure earthly trials. We do not expect earthly and worldly rewards, for our inheritance is in heaven, not on the earth. The good that the Holy Spirit speaks of in verse 28 is that which is explained in verses 29-the end of the chapter, which we will try to explain.
This good that God intends for His people is worked out in foreknowledge—for nothing is hidden from God; in predestination unto the image of Christ; in calling to faith; in justification—the forgiveness of all their sins; in future glorification in eternity, when we shall be forever with the Lord.
God is For Us!
If God is for us! What can stand against infinite power? What device can be conceived against infinite wisdom? What event in time can overcome an eternal decree? What sin can prevail against the blood of Christ? Christ is given for us when we were in rebellion and without God. What more is there for God to give to us? Can His eternal decree miscarry, and the blood of Christ prove to be impotent?
Shall they plead our sins against us, and call us condemned before the law? That we freely admit. But it is God who justifies. It is God who has freely pronounced forgiveness of all our sins. How can the holiness and justice of God be the enemy of God’s people, when their salvation was planned by the Father, purchased by the Son, and performed by the Holy Spirit?
What Of the Debt We Owe To God? “It is God that justifieth.” Vs. 33 Shall they call our debts before our face? “Condemn” means to call up the accounts, to read the bill against us. Shall all of the charges of guilt and pollution suffice to make void the blood of Christ? Can such charges reach into heaven and pry us loose from the hand of Christ, who sits at the place of power and glory, precisely to answer such charges?
Shall We Be Separated from the Love of God? “Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ?” Vs. 35. Who can cause division between us and our Savior? What will drive a wedge between us and the love of Christ? What could possibly do it? Of all the things that we could imagine that could separate us from the love of Christ, this prospect is the most alarming. If we could be separated from the love of Christ, then we would be without hope and without God in the world. Without His love we would have no atonement, no mercy, no sacrifice, and no answers to our prayers. The Holy Spirit answers: not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, or things to come; not height, depth, nor any other creature can take us away from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But what of our sins? Cannot our sins separate us from Christ? But how can that be, when they are taken away by the blessed work of all the Persons of the Holy Trinity? The Father takes them away by His eternal foreknowledge and decree of predestination. The Son takes them away by fully obeying the law on our behalf, and suffering the full weight of the law that we deserve. The Holy Spirit takes them away by working faith in our hearts, calling us to the Savior, sanctifying, preserving, and keeping us. So are fulfilled the words of the Apostle Paul in Phil. 1:6: “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.” What more could or ought to be said? The lawyers retire defeated, the jury is dismissed, and the child of God goes free, rejoicing in the love of God in Jesus Christ. “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” --Romans 8:38,39.
Amen and Amen.
Trinity Covenant Church
6050 Del Paz Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Email: email: Pastor Powell