Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Perseverance by the Hand of the Lord Alone

As a Christian, I can testify of my own weakness. I know, without a doubt, that I would fall in a micro-second if my perseverance depended on me. However, I am thankful beyond words, that Jesus has undertaken, not just to redeem me, but to redeem me forever. In this case, it is the buyer who insists that "all sales are final -no refunds."

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
     when he delights in His way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
 

     for the Lord upholds his hand."
- Psalm 37: 23-24

In these four lines of poetry, we learn so much about God's promise of faithfulness to His people. There is no cheap grace, no "once saved, always saved" nonsense here. For the promise isn't, "If you raise your hand, you will be set for life, no matter what you do." Rather, it is a promise that the Christian will be sustained in his walk, that is, in His life as a Christian. Furthermore, there is no prosperity-gospel promise of "now I am happy all the day. rather, it explicitly states that a part of the Christian walk is to stumble, as David did, in his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (II Samuel, chapters 11 and 12). However, there is a promise here that such a stumble, though it may be severe or for a long time, yet it will not be permanent. Why? Because we are so spiritually-resilient that we will bounce back on our own? No, but rather because it is His hand, not our own strength, that upholds us (compare John 10:27-30). 

I don't understand that opposition of Arminians to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Well, Actually I do. They misrepresent it, and then reject it, what logicians call a "strawman argument." However, I find it of such comfort that I could not live without knowing it. My hope is in the hand of Christ, not my own strength.


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