Perseverance: a faith that endures to the end

london confessionOne of the benefits of studying history is that we discover the commonality we have with those who’ve gone before us.  As believers, this is especially good because, as the writer of Hebrews says, we are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,” and this bolsters our faith.

The Second London Confession of 1689 was a statement of beliefs written by the English (Particular) Baptists in 1689 (the first one written in 1644).  It follows closely to The Westminster Confession (1646), though in its original title, the Baptists are clear that the confession is for and by those who are “baptized upon profession of their faith.”  In the 18th century, the Philadelphia Association of Baptist Churches (1707) adopted it as their confession.

Regarding perseverance, the Second London Confession states,

Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall 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 and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

There is comfort in knowing, like our brothers and sisters in Christ in 17th century London and 18th century Philadelphia, that the God who accepts us in Jesus Christ, and who calls us, sanctifies us, and empowers us with faith, will keep us to the end.

The salvation that God begins in us, He will keep to the end.  Hallelujah!

Soli Deo gloria.

2 Comments

Filed under History, Theology, Worship

2 responses to “Perseverance: a faith that endures to the end

  1. Linda Puckett

    Love this post and agree with God keeping us to the end. But, if you can, help my hurting head with this question….what do we do with free will?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Linda:

      If you’re like me, your head will never cease to hurt from the dynamic involved between God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s free will. I’ve come to the point where I read scripture and let scripture interpret itself. If we are left to our own ability to understand the relationship between the two, we will have a hard time comprehending God’s sovereignty in salvation. But, in fairness, it was indeed the prevailing belief in the history of Baptists.

      There are numerous scriptures that indicate God’s sovereignty in salvation. Ephesians 1 would be one, and Romans 9 is an example as well. Yet, there are scriptures that speak of salvation being available to everyone, implying that salvation is offered if we will only receive it.

      I know this: there’s no doubt that God opened my eyes to show me that I was (and am) a sinner. When I realized that, and saw the price paid on my behalf, I couldn’t help but respond and call him Lord. And, from that, I’m called to share this with others. I try not to worry too much about whether it’s God or man who offers and/or accepts salvation. I just know that my responsibility as a follower of Christ is to proclaim salvation that God offers.

      But, if you really want to wrap your brain around something, think about this: If man is solely responsible for accepting grace from God, then it follows that we can be solely responsible for losing our salvation, since we have free will. To say that we are totally responsible for whether or not to accept grace, and then claim that God keeps us to the end (regardless of whether we work out our sanctification daily) is a double standard. In other words, we choose salvation but can’t “unchoose” to lose it. Yeesh!

      I go back to my original statement: read Scripture and let it speak for itself. There are times when it is clear that God is sovereign in salvation (for example, Paul), and there are times when scripture tells us salvation is for all who receive. I’m called to proclaim that and not worry about the details!!!

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