Calvinism: A look at “Perseverance of the Saints”

Brother Scott Allis concluded his series on Calvinism during last Wednesday evening’s service at Gospel Light. As discussed before, the five points of Calvinism are know by the acronym TULIP. This fifth letter “P” was the topic of the evening and stands for “Perseverance of the Saints.” The definition of this 5th point is a continued effort to stay in the grace of God until death. Throughout our class, we were shown that this 5th point is self-contradictory and pure heresy. Calvinism believes the saints must persevere in obedience and those who do not hold fast to Christ can be lost in the end.A leading Calvinist author and preacher, R.C. Sproul, has been known to doubt his salvation. For a believer of Calvinist doctrine, one can never be sure of your salvation because you can lose it; salvation is not eternal. The first four points in Calvinism are about the irrevocably elect and God’s sovereignty; all that changes with the fifth point. Now salvation is up to man and his ability to live like Christ. It is the perseverance of the saints that gets them to heaven, the Calvinists believe. Their own position of the sovereignty of God and predestination is destroyed by their own doctrine of perseverance.“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”, Deut 33:27. “Our refuge is not in theology”, Brother Allis taught, but is in “the eternal God”. We are “preserved in Jesus Christ” Jude 1:1 and are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” 1 Peter 1:5. The truth about salvation is that “after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” and “also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” Eph 1:13. Thus salvation comes from hearing and believing and, once gained, is sealed and cannot be lost.Calvinist preacher and author Jon Piper admits, “Our faith must endure to the end if we are to be saved.” However, the contradiction in Calvism is very clear. A man can not have any part in his salvation since God must choose him to be one of the elect. Yet it is up to him to persevere. Brother Allis displayed an amusing “Prayer of a Calvinist” and it went something like this: “God, are you going to save me by your sovereignty, or are you going to make me save myself?”Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.John 5:24. It is beyond any doubt what the bible teaches about salvation, that it is by faith in Christ. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” Titus 3:5. It is God through the Holy Spirit that preserves our salvation, not works or “perseverance” which bring about pride.

What did Paul think about losing salvation? “For 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.Pastor Vince Giardino concluded the message with his own thoughts. “How read the bible is important”, he stated, because it”will dislodge any cult.” “Cults do not finish the context”, he warned. For example, Phil 2:12 can be easily misinterpreted: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” You must continue to read the next verse, Phil 2:13, in order to properly understand the meaning: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God is there helping you.

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