John MacArthur: Meeting There at Last: The Perseverance of the Saints

John MacArthur: Meeting There at Last: The Perseverance of the Saints

The year was 1644. The place was Westminster
Abbey. The room was called “The Jerusalem Room.” The greatest theological minds and
biblical scholars in England, the famous Puritans, gathered with lords and commissioners to spend
five years of intense study, five years of discussion to produce a statement of doctrine
true to the Scripture and faithful to the gospel. By 1649, they had completed what became
the most familiar Westminster Confession of Faith. In that creed is a statement on the
security of salvation, accurately calling it “perseverance” in a brief and unambiguous
statement. The Westminster Confession, chapter 17, section 1 says, quote: “They, whom God
hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can
neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere
therein to the end and be eternally saved.” End quote. Need I say they got it exactly
right? Scripture is full of promises that led to that creed, that led to that conviction.
Scripture is clear on the perseverance of the saints: that those who are truly saved
will be brought into eternal glory. Our Lord Jesus said in the sixth chapter of John, “All
that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and him that comes to Me I will not turn away.
All that the Father gives to Me, I will receive and raise him at the last day.” Whomever God
gives to the Son as a love-gift to make up the Son’s bride will be there at the wedding
feast in glory. “My sheep,” our Lord said in John 10, “know Me, and I know them. And
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, neither will anyone pluck them out
of My hand or My Father’s hand.” In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, perhaps an overlooked
comment, verse 7, “You are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless — who will also
confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful,
through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 23, “Now,
may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and
body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful
is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” That is the promise of God. Another benediction familiar and beloved at
the end of Jude, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,” or falling, “and
to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God
our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority
before all time, and now and forever. Amen.” Now unto Him who is able to keep you from
falling. There are many other statements that promise
to us that eternal life is actually eternal. This was widely understood by the Westminster
Divines. But they also understood what perseverance did not mean. It did not mean that Christians
do not fail in their lives, in their obedience. It did not mean that Christians do not fail
seriously and possibly to death. For among the Corinthians, many were weak and sick and
some had died for how they came to the table of the Lord. So, the Westminster Confession
added this: “Nevertheless, believers may, through the
temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them,
and the neglect of their means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time,
continue therein whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit, come
to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened,
and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon
themselves.” In other words, perseverance in the faith
does not mean perfection. Perseverance of the saints they understood to be a better
expression of this great truth than eternal security. Eternal security has come to be
a more popular designation, but it’s not nearly as accurate. Eternal security doesn’t describe
the necessary means by which our eternal life is secured. Even though believers may sin,
may sin seriously, may sin repeatedly, there are some things they will never abandon. There
are some things they will never abandon. They will not come under the full dominion of sin.
They will not lose trust and confidence in the Lord and the gospel. They will not shun
holiness and fully embrace iniquity. The doctrine of perseverance essentially is
that the life that is from God is permanent. The gift of eternal life is permanent. It
is a gift of sovereign grace, it is a gift of mercy, and it is permanent. That is why
Jesus said, “He that endures to the end, the same will be saved.” Security in Christ is
tied to perseverance. It is tied to perseverance. 1 John 2:19 is a very interesting portion
of Scripture. This is what it says, “They went out from us because they were not of
us. If they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out from
us that it might be made manifest they never were of us.” When somebody abandons Christ,
abandons gospel truth, abandons virtue and holiness, walks away, that is not a failure
of eternal life; that is evidence of superficial faith. They never did believe, or they would
remain. Any idea of salvation that leaves out security is a distortion of the truth,
and any idea of security that leaves out perseverance is a distortion of the truth. We are secure
because we possess a persevering eternal life. There are many texts that we could look at.
Our time is limited. For the sake of time, to sum it up as well as it could be summed
up, please turn in your Bible to 1 Peter chapter 1, 1 Peter chapter 1, and I want us to look
at verses 3 through 9. It is a wonderful tradition to stand when the Word of God is read. Would
you do that as I read 1 Peter 1:3-9? And listen very carefully. Don’t let your mind wander
as you look at this text. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living
hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which
is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who
are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary,
you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more
precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result
in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen
Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice
with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the
salvation of your souls.” You may be seated. Let me make a simple comment.
If it were possible for me to lose my salvation, I would lose it. If it were possible for me
to lose my salvation, I would have lost it a thousand, thousand times. Anybody who tells
you it is possible to lose their salvation is predicating the keeping of that salvation
on their own strength, on their own power, and that is a terrible oversight when viewing
the weakness of human flesh and human will. If I could lose my salvation, I would lose
it. This text says, however, that I have been born again. I have been given life, and this
life is eternal life. Just a little bit about the context here.
This is written by Peter, and Peter would be the right person, don’t you think, to write
about perseverance? If there is any New Testament person who was ever prone to failure, colossal
failure, it was the man who wrote those words and personally experienced the power of those
words. Based on Scripture, none of our Lord’s disciples except Judas stumbled more miserably
than Peter. You know, you might even struggle to distinguish Judas from Peter if you just
compare the fact that John 13 says on that Thursday night of Passion Week in the upper
room, “Satan entered into Judas,” with our Lord’s words to Peter in Matthew 16, “Get
behind Me, Satan.” If ever there was one prone to failure, it was Peter, whose failure seemed
to be so massive and so there couldn’t be a better person to write this than Peter. In fact, is it not remarkable that it was
in the 16th verse of Matthew 16 that Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the
Living God,” and Jesus says, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal that to you but My Father in
heaven”? And in verse 23, Jesus turns to Peter and says, “Get behind Me, Satan.” And in the
same text says upon that confession concerning Jesus Christ, “I will build My church.” And
the apostles, including Peter, will become the foundation stones. Peter is proof that
a true believer can stumble but not fall. Peter went out after his further denunciations
of Christ and betrayals and wept bitterly. This must’ve been a glorious time for Peter
to have received this revelation and written it down, to be reminded of how he had lived
through the persevering life that God had given him in darkness and dark hours that
were unusual. The criteria by which a true believer is distinguished
is not a past event, not a past event, and we have been talking about that in the Q&As
today. It is not a past event, it is not a prayer, it is not a profession, it is not
church attendance, it is not baptism — it is perseverance. It is perseverance. We’ve
been given life. We have talked about regeneration. Peter talks about born again. That’s regeneration.
We have been given life, and the Bible is pretty clear, there’s no question about it,
it is eternal life. It is eternal life. Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they
shall never perish. I give them water that will cause them to never thirst.” Let’s go back to Peter for a minute. Turn
to Luke 22, and we’re just trying to set up a little bit of background to look more closely
at the text that I read. But in Luke 22, we are all familiar with Peter’s experience.
Jesus says to him in verse 31, “Simon, Simon,” He used to call him by his old name when he
was acting like his old self, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift
you like wheat.” Wow! If I’d have been Peter, I’d have probably said, “Well, you told him
‘no,’ didn’t you?” No deal? Not really. “But I have prayed for you, that your faith may
not fail.” I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Security in the believer’s
life to eternal glory is not somehow automatic. It is secured by a means, and the means is
that eternal life, a part of which is a faith that cannot fail. “I have prayed for you.”
That faith cannot fail because God planned that it not fail, Christ prayed that it not
fail, and even the Holy Spirit intercedes on behalf of the believer, as Romans 8 says. “I have prayed for you that your faith may
not fail.” That prayer will be answered because when you have turned again and come out of
this trial, this sifting by Satan, “strengthen your brothers.” Peter’s response obviously
demonstrates that he thought that he had the power to hold on. He said, “Lord, with You
I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” The Lord knew better. He said, “I say to you,
Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you even
know Me.” Peter’s faith would not fail because Jesus prayed that it would not fail, and Jesus
prayed according to the will of God. This is a model, this is a wonderful model of Christ’s
intercessory ministry. Look at John 17, just another passage that
we’re familiar with. Here is our Lord interceding in this most wonderful of all biblical prayers,
the intercession of our Lord before the Father. This is how he prays, so when He prayed for
Peter that his faith fail not, what did He say? Pick it up in verse 11, “I am no longer
in the world” He says to the Father, “yet they themselves are in the world, and I come
to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name,” Father, keep them. So here is our Lord saying
to Peter, “You’re going to come through this sifting by Satan because I’m going to pray
that your faith not fail.” And here is an example of that kind of prayer, and it’s not
only for those eleven, but for all who will believe through their words. “All who the
Father gives to Me throughout all of redemptive history. I am asking you, Father, keep them
in Your name.” and then go down to verse 15, and here you see this, which is a further
explanation of the very intercession of our Lord for Peter in Luke 22: “I do not ask You to take them out of the
world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not
of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the
world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they
themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but
for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You,
Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe
that You sent Me. The glory which You gave Me I have given to them, that they may be
one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity,
so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that
they may see My glory which You have given Me.” Here is the intercessory prayer of our Lord,
“Bring those You have given Me to glory.” “Bring those You have given Me to glory.”
It is as if the Lord, on the brink of the cross, says to the Father, “I have kept them.
I have kept them. I am now going to the cross. There is going to be a time on the cross when
I am separated from You. Father, keep them! Keep them.” This is the passionate prayer
of our Lord that believers would be kept from the power of the evil one. That they would
be sanctified by the Word of God. That they would share, ultimately, in His final holiness
and glory. That they would be brought to glory as a unit, all the redeemed with no one lost.
That would therefore persevere to the end. And, by the way, this intercessory prayer
is what is in view in Hebrews 7:25, “He is able to save forever those who draw near to
God through Him, since He always lives to make,” what? “Intercession for them.” It isn’t
just some automatic reality that you were saved and you’re going to go to heaven based
upon some automatic reality. The reason you go from the point of regeneration into eternal
glory is because of the nonstop intercession of the living Christ on your behalf. We don’t talk much about the intercession
of Christ, but it is that intercession before the Father and that intercession by the Spirit
as well, Romans 8, that sustains us to glory. Christ’s intercession guarantees our eternal
salvation and the fulfillment of the Father’s plan that those whom He foreknew, He glorified. So we have been born again, let’s go back
to 1 Peter for just a brief look. We have been glorified. We are on our way to glory.
We have been regenerated. Just look at verse 3, we have been caused to be born again. We
possess new life. That new life is eternal life. Jeremiah 32:40, “And I will make an
everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them to do them good, and
I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.”
The covenant of salvation is an everlasting covenant. There are no dropouts, no one falls
through the cracks. You say, “Well, wait a minute. Aren’t there warnings in Scripture?
Doesn’t Scripture warn people lest they fall away, the book of Hebrews and other places?”
Yes, but that is a warning to false believers and uncommitted hearers. And again I say,
the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints says that true believers will persevere. It
doesn’t say they are secure no matter what they do, it says they will persevere. It doesn’t
say that if they accepted Jesus in a moment, they will end up in heaven. It says they will
persevere. And they will persevere, because that life which is in them, that life is eternal
life. It is the life of God in the soul of man, and it is sustained in every believer
by the intercessory work of Christ and the Spirit according to the purpose of God. You
have a persevering eternal life in you as a believer. This had to be good news to the readers of
this letter. Peter was writing to scattered believers as it says in verse 1, in Asia Minor,
who were facing horrible persecution. These believers feared for their lives. They feared
that their faith would fail when put to the test. Rightly, they didn’t trust in their
own strength. Peter reminded them that they were aliens in the world, they were citizens
of heaven, they were a kind of royal aristocracy, residents of a heavenly kingdom, living stones
in God’s temple, a holy priesthood, a people who were God’s own personal possession. All
of that he reminds them of in this wonderful epistle. But this may be the most wonderful of all,
and that’s maybe why it’s up front. They didn’t need to fear the threats, they didn’t need
to fear the danger, they didn’t need to fear the persecution, they didn’t need to fear
suffering and even death and he talks about that in almost every chapter. They didn’t
need to be intimidated or troubled by the worst that could befall them because their
eternal life would never fail. Never. Instead of giving them doses of sympathy, commiseration,
Peter points them to their absolute safety in Christ. They might lose all earthly possessions,
they might lose their lives, they would never lose their salvation. Their heavenly inheritance
is fixed, it is guaranteed, and they are being kept to its fulfillment. Their faith will
survive anything and everything because it is part of that eternal life. Just looking a little more closely at the
text, let me give you a handful of things to sort of spread this out a little bit. Eternal
life includes a hope that cannot fail, a hope that cannot fail. Verse 3 says, “God the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us according to His mercy by causing us to be born again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Based upon
the fact that Christ came out of the grave as He says in John, “Because I live, you shall
live also,” and grants to us that very life which He possesses which death cannot destroy,
we have a life that is eternal and living and possesses, first of all, a living hope,
a living hope. You have a perpetual hope. Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope is an anchor
of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” Our hope cannot die because our hope is attached
to our life, which is eternal. It is alive. That is the heart of the doctrine of the perseverance
of the saints. We persevere because we have a life that cannot die, and it has a hope
that cannot die. We are guaranteed; this is amazing. We are
guaranteed, verse 4, an inheritance. We are guaranteed that inheritance as surely as Jesus
Christ rose from the dead and purchased for us that eternal life. We have an inheritance
already waiting for us, imperishable (aphthartos), “not liable to pass away, not corruptible.”
It is even used in some places “not subject to be plundered by an enemy or invading army.”
This is an inheritance that is not accessible for any thief or anyone to steal. It cannot
be plundered, it cannot be taken by an enemy including Satan and demons, it is eternal,
it is indestructible, it is safe with God. Not only that, it is undefiled (amiantos),
unstained, not subject to defect, not subject to failure. It cannot be polluted, it cannot
be tarnished, it cannot be touched with anything that is evil. Not only that, it is unfading
(amarantos). That can’t — it doesn’t have the property of decay. It can never lose its
supernatural beauty. It can never lose its glow or its shine. Why? Because, as you can
see, it is reserved in heaven. It is reserved in heaven. And what is true about heaven is
therefore true about our inheritance. And what is true about heaven? Listen to these
wonderful words, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right
to the tree of life, and enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the
sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone
who loves and practices lying.” None of that is in heaven. Heaven cannot be
tainted. Heaven cannot be stained by any such things. It is pure. There is no curse there.
None of that which manifests corruption in this world will be in heaven. No one will
be in heaven who is a corrupting influence. Unlike everything in this life which is subject
to corruption, decay, and fading, our salvation is in heaven, incorruptible, undefiled, and
unfading. It’s not a part of this world. It’s not a part of this system. It is reserved
in heaven for you, and again in the Greek language — very interesting — perfect passive
participle from tereo, which means “to guard” or “to keep,” and the perfect form underlines
that the inheritance is already in existence, alright? It’s already in existence and it
is presently and continually being guarded until you receive it in the end. It’s the
safest place in the universe, isn’t it? The safest place in the universe. Heaven will
never know any invasion. No treasure there will ever be stolen or defaced or defiled
or corroded. We persevere in this eternal life with a living hope, a living hope. Secondly, we persevere with a living faith,
with a living faith. This is so wonderful, verse 5. “Who are protected by the power of
God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We are protected
by the power of God through faith. Faith is the means. We have a living hope that cannot
die. We have a living faith that cannot die. We will believe all the way into eternal glory.
Awaiting us is a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, already prepared, already
present, already at hand, already accomplished. It’s just waiting for us. It is protected
— a military term — it is protected by the power of God till we arrive. But the means
again, by which it is protected, is a living faith. Our continued faith, Ephesians 2:8-9,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the
gift of God.” We have been given a living and undying hope. We have been given a living
and undying faith. We’re not talking about natural faith. We’re
not talking about a human faith. We’re talking about a supernatural ability to believe the
truth concerning God and the gospel throughout the entirety of our lives. Never do we cease
to believe. It’s not apart from our own will, but by divine power it activates our will,
and we remain steadfast — not passive, but active in the persevering. Hence, it is called
“the persevering of the saints.” There is a third element to this. We persevere
in this eternal life with a living hope and a living faith and a living power. Verse 6,
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you
have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious
than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in
praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” What this says to us is that there is a power
operative in our lives that sustains us through the very most severe tests we can possibly
or cannot possibly imagine. Even though you now for a little while, if necessary, have
been distressed by various trials, this becomes the proof of your faith, which is more precious
than gold which is perishable. That’s a fascinating thought to me. I’ve been a pastor long enough
to know that lots of people struggle with their assurance in salvation. They wonder,
“Am I really saved? Have I really been forgiven? Am I really on the way to heaven? I struggle
with trusting the Lord.” Young people will say sometimes, “You know, I’ve invited Christ
to be my Lord. I’ve asked God to save me many times. I fear, I worry that I may not be a
true believer. Where does assurance come from?” Assurance comes from the Spirit of God to
an obedient believer as a grace given, but beyond that assurance becomes stronger and
more firm the more your faith is tested by trials. When the doctor says to me, “Your
son has a brain tumor; could cost his life,” my faith is tested and through nine days of
praying and fasting and coming out the other end of that with a greater love and a greater
trust and a greater confidence and a greater hope in God, whatever it meant for my son.
He spared my son even to this day with no long term effects at all. But I came through
that and what could have crushed me to my knees, humanly speaking, my faith endured,
and I had that golden realization that I have a real faith. There have been a lot of trials like that
through life. My wife, Patricia, car accident, broke her neck, fractured C2, C3. The Lord
spared her. There have been mutinies through the years at the church. Maybe 20 years into
my ministry there, 250 people walk out of the church in hostility against me, betrayal
by friends that I had invested my life in, disappointment with couples that I have tried
to help, families that I have tried to help, disappointed in men that I’ve discipled, disappointed
in men that I’ve trained in their lives. Life is just full of all of that. The illness of
people that you care for and love. And your faith goes through a test. And as those tests
accumulate and you come out of those tests and your faith doesn’t fail no matter what
the assault, you have that wonderful realization that is more precious than gold that this
is the real thing. This is unlike the false faith of the parable
of the soils, where the soil receives the seed but when tribulation and trouble comes,
it chokes the seed and it dies without ever having fruit. That’s a false faith. Or the
love of riches and the cares of the world choke that seed. The greatest thing that the
Lord can give you is a hard trial that proves the validity of your saving faith. And as
you go through life and get to the point that I am, you have accumulated an awful lot of
those. And the older I have gotten and the more trials that I have seen the Lord put
me through, the more assurance I have of my true salvation. People who lose their faith in a trial, shake
their fist at God, and walk away, that’s a rocky soil. Real faith emerges from trials
stronger than before, stronger than before. There is distress for a season and it’s necessary,
because it perfects our faith. Isn’t that what James says? “The testing of your faith
produces maturity and perfection. It grows you. Count it all joy.” They come like fire
to burn off the dross, and that’s the point. What is left is, is power to overcome and
a stronger faith. We persevere because we have eternal life, and that eternal life has
as components a living hope, a living faith, and a living power, a hope that never dies,
never fails, a faith that never dies, never fails, and strength that never fails. This
is the proof of our faith — the power unleashed in trials that one day we will see the praise
and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ. There is so much more I would want to say
about that, but for time let me go to another point. This eternal life has a love that never
fails, a love that never fails. One of the things I talk about a lot is that Christians
love Christ. Christians love Christ. 1 Corinthians 16:22 says, “If any man love not the Lord
Jesus Christ, let him be damned.” If you want to define Christianity in a very simple way,
Christians love Christ. Christians love Christ. That’s reciprocal — we love Him because,
what? He first loved us. Christians love Christ. We have an undying love for Christ. Please
notice verse 8, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him.” We have — we have a hope
that will not fail, we have a faith that will not fail, we have a power that will not fail,
and we have a love that will not fail. We should be defined by that love. With Peter again, John 21, Jesus confronts
him after he has gone back to his old career, fishing. Disappointed in himself, he probably
decided he was unfit for any future ministry even though he had seen the risen Christ.
He had been up in Galilee for a while, waiting for Jesus to show up. Jesus said, “Wait for
Me.” He didn’t, and he went back fishing. The Lord showed up on the shore and made breakfast.
Breakfast. It appeared they ate, He pulled Peter aside and said, “Do you love Me? Do
you love Me? Do you love Me?” once for each denial. Peter finally had to appeal to omniscience
because it was invisible. He said, “You know Me. You know I love You.” “Feed My sheep.
Feed My sheep.” He loved his Lord. There is no question about it, with an undying love.
That’s why at the end of the 22nd chapter of Luke when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus
the night of that terrible denial, he was crushed into tears. How much did he love his
Lord? Enough to be crucified upside down because he thought himself unworthy to be crucified
the way his Lord had been crucified. Love is not just an affection. It is a desire
for obedience and sacrifice and service and worship toward his Lord. The perseverance
of the saints then involves eternal life which possesses a living hope, a living faith, living
strength, living love, and I think a living joy, a living joy. Verse 8, “Though you do
not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of
glory.” What that is saying is that no matter what’s going on, no matter how hard the persecution
is, no matter how difficult the trials are such as in the case of these scattered believers,
no matter how tough the suffering is, there is a deep down, unassailable joy in the anticipation
of future glory. That joy is manifest in a true believer because it is an element of
eternal life. It is an element of eternal life. We know these things, don’t we? Hope
and faith and power and love and joy. The believer experiences those as the components,
the realities of eternal life. They are the ever-present evidence of a true faith, and
it is through those that we persevere. And finally, we obtain, verse 9, the outcome
of our faith, the salvation of our souls. The final salvation, the full salvation, the
salvation that is nearer now than when we believed. Obtaining, present middle, presently
receiving for yourselves even now — you have the outcome already in your hands, already
in your soul — it is yours. The ultimate, final glorification that is the ultimate element
of salvation. And the promise that comes in the words of the apostle Paul we so often
claim, “He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” One final thought — turn to John chapter
15 for just a moment. John chapter 15, the upper room. We’re going to say more about
that chapter tomorrow at church, but upper room, Judas has been revealed and dismissed,
and Jesus gives an analogy, “I am the true vine, the Father is the vinedresser. Every
branch in Me that doesn’t bear fruit, He takes away. Every branch that bears fruit He prunes
that it might bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken
to you.” He is speaking to the eleven that are there, and He is talking about Judas,
who is the prototypical branch with no fruit, the branch that is cut off, verse 6, thrown
away, dried up, gathered, thrown into the fire, and consumed. The Judas branch, didn’t
persevere. It defected. And our Lord says to these eleven, verse 4,
“Abide in Me; abide in Me.” And then down in verse 7, “If you abide in Me.” Now, we’ve
taken that word “abide” and turned it into something rather mystical. You know what He’s
saying to them? Stay — that’s meno — stay, don’t do what Judas did. Stay! Remain. If
you stay, I’ll take up My residence in you. If you stay, you’ll bear much fruit. If you
stay, I’ll hear and answer your prayers. If you stay, you’ll have joy. Stay. Don’t be
like Judas. Stay. Stay with Christ. Don’t do what Judas did. Be faithful to the very
end. Lord, again we thank You for Your truth, Your
Word. We feel as if we’ve scratched the surface of these profound realities. And yet even
the surface yields treasure beyond description. We thank you for that hope that burns bright
in our hearts. We thank you for that promise that we will all meet at last in your presence.
Every one of us that You chose before the foundation of the world and whose name You
wrote in the Lamb’s book of life, every one of those who were chosen to be given as love
gifts to the Son to make up His bride, every one was received by the Son, kept by the Son,
and will be raised to eternal glory. We thank You for this life which perseveres, this life
which triumphs over sin and Satan and death. We thank You for the hope that all of us as
one, chosen before the foundation of the world will be gathered in eternal joy in Your presence.
In anticipation of that, Lord, we live triumphantly over all the issues of life with grateful
hearts for such grace. We thank You, we worship You, in our Savior’s name. Amen.

24 Replies to “John MacArthur: Meeting There at Last: The Perseverance of the Saints”

  1. i'm from philippines ..thank you for the post…i have been following all reformed teachings ..i was so blessed and enlightened…GOD bess you all!

  2. My wife and I lost our first three children due to insufficient lung development.   The second three made it.   Some years after our last child was born to us, I entered an eleven-year period of wondering, contemplating, ruminating . . . over whether God was just mostly good, to most people, most of the time; OR, was God always good, to all people, all the time.   I was blessed, eleven years after beginning this process, with an unexpected gift of conviction that there is no malevolence within the Almighty.   As John states here, genuine faith becomes stronger after trials.   It is true.   Soli Deo Gloria.

  3. Hebrews 3 (NKJV)

    12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

  4. I have a severed handicapped child, now 27 years old. Everyday I pray for her. I never lost my faith. My faith is stronger than ever.

  5. I was saved at 9 years of life. I have been concerned because of a previous message that I was truly saved. I lost all connection to church. My mother a Jehovah's witness. I attended JW bible studies. I left them when a friend of my aunts made it clear that they did not believe Jesus was God.
    I never forgot the gospel. Bits and pieces were foggy.
    I was introduced to Homosexuality but it discussted me .My attempt at drugs was a failure because I could not get into it. My mind went to Aunt and MY god.

  6. Which would you believe, the Bible or the the Westminster interpretation. Jesus came in the flesh, died on the cross, and resurrected to save His people from sins (Matthew 1:21 ) due to the Law given to Moses. The Law in which we all end up sinners. Jesus came to call the sinners to repentance and fulfill the Law; to free us from the bondage of the Law; to release us from the power of sin and death; so that we become righteous new creation and be reconciled with God for we cannot be righteous by doing the works of the Law. Jesus commanded us to love thy neighbor to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law. Jesus first coming was not intended so that we can declare our souls "saved" from the punishment of eternal fire in Hell. That would be on Jesus second coming.

  7. The new life that is eternal is of the Holy Spirit… The Holy Spirit is Himself the seal of salvation… The Holy Spirit will present to Jesus His bride ..washed, sanctified and redeemed… Shalom and Maranatha!

  8. Praise God for the rock solid dependable message about perseverance of the saints. From the Philippines! 😇🙏

  9. The eternal life that is within us is the Holy Spirit, in order to inherit eternal life we must continue to walk in the Spirit, Galatians 6: 8-9 "the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life, and let us not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap as long as we don't give up." The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in and keep our salvation it doesn't possess us and control us forcing us to keep salvation. The perseverance of the saints wasn't taught until John Calvin in the early reformation being completely absent from all Christian literature for the first 1500 years.

  10. At 24:00. Mcarthur says,"The DOCTRINE of the perseverance of the saints says that "TRUE BELIEVERS WILL PERSEVERE"
    The doctrine(of calvin)may say that BUT THE BIBLE DOES NOT. We are told TO PERSEVERE , NOT THAT WE WILL. God bless u saints

  11. Where does the bible say we have been given an "UNDYING FAITH"?
    I read that we are to keep the faith,stand firm in the faith.not wander from the faith,fight the good fight of the faith,TO GROW MY FAITH,etc. if i have already been given a faith that is "undying " then why am i told these things!?

  12. I prefer the Nicene Creed. The Westminster confession reads like an insurance manual or some other legal document.

  13. Love how inconsistent and willing to lie this dude is. It's like he's never read the Bible or used the logic parts of his brain.

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