Wait…does that say Part 5? (!!!!) Yep, this is the last part of my 5-part series on Calvinism. I am super excited to be doing and finishing this awesome series! I have some plans for posts after this series is finished…….but you will have to find out about that when my next post(s) come out.
What is the definition of “Perseverance of the Saints”, the “P” in TULIP? Here is a definition originally from the Westminster Confession. I found it here.
Perseverance of the saints is the Calvinist doctrine that those who are truly saved will persevere to the end and cannot lose their salvation. It doesn’t mean that a person who is truly saved will never lose faith or backslide at any time. But that they will ultimately persevere in faith (inspite of failures) such as not to lose their salvation. The doctrine of perseverance is rooted in God’s unconditional election and predestination. That is, since God is the One who chose and predestined the elect to salvation, therefore the elect will be saved. They might turn away from faith and give appearance of losing their salvation, but if they really are elect they will repent and ultimately return to faith, because God is the One ensuring their salvation.
Perseverance of the Saints comes down to this: can you lose your salvation? I do not believe that you can “lose” your salvation. However, many of my reasons for believing that we cannot lose our salvation are different than that of Calvinists.
The First Reason I Believe that We Cannot Lose Our Salvation
“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.” -Romans 8:29
Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ cannot fall. They may stumble, but they cannot fall if they are sons of God. Those whom God knew would trust in Christ are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. It’s like the analogy with the plane. If a plane is predestined to fly from Chicago to New York, and you get on that plane, you are going to New York from Chicago. Once you are on the plane, since it is predestined to arrive at New York, and you are on it, you are predestined to get to New York.
The Second Reason I Believe that We Cannot Lose Our Salvation
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” -Ezekiel 36:26-27
When you become a child of God, you receive a new heart. You become a new person. There’s no turning back after that. You are a child of God. You may stumble, struggle, or lose heart, but after you leave that old self behind you, you are never the same.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17
This is regeneration. It has nothing to do with Calvinism, it is a gift from God, for every single person on earth. Not just the elect or pre-selected, but every man on earth can accept this great gift from God, the gift of salvation and regeneration. Until someone is in Christ, he is not a new creation. But once that man chooses to accept this wondrous gift of salvation, he is a new creation for all eternity.
Thanks for reading! Have a great week.
For more on this same subject check out this article. See the other articles in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Also check out Dr. Leighton Flowers articles on Calvinism at his website, Soteriology 101. If you want, check out this article I found on the difference between stumbling and falling.
“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”
–Revelation 3:5 (ESV)
*All Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV translation