Thursday, May 2, 2019

Perseverance, Part 2.

In our first installment on perseverance, we learned that our confidence is based not on our own faithfulness, but God's. Paul assures his readers, in Philippians 1:6, that God is the one who guarantees the completion of the work begun in us:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” - Philippians 1:6
A second reason for our perseverance is the knowledge that God is the source of our eternal life. Consider Jesus' words from the Gospel of John:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” - John 10:27-30
This passage alerts us to a very real, ever-present spiritual danger. There is an enemy, working through several adversaries, that is intent on snatching believers from their eternal security. Is it the devil? Certainly. Is it the world with all its allurements? Of course. False teachers? Yes, surely. The flesh and its corrupted desires? Definitely. We don’t have to look very far in the scriptures -just up the page to John 10:10, in fact- to see the troubling dichotomy of our spiritual reality: Jesus has come to give life, the thief has come to steal, kill, and destroy.

With that in mind, see that power of the promise Jesus gives to believers in this passage! Our spiritual safety, our assurance, is firmly established in our relationship with Christ and God. Jesus says, “I give them eternal life.” Not, I will give. I give, now. The Greek is present/active/indicative. Eternal life, is not something that we will one day have. It is something that is given to us now. If you have repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ, it is already given to you.

This idea of eternal life being given in the present is consistent in John's Gospel. 
“Whoever believes in the Son haseternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” - John 3:36
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” - John 5:24

If eternal life is given in the present, it is no wonder that Jesus is also able promise: "no one can snatch them out of my hand." And if that were not enough, He goes on: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.” The Supreme Power of all the universe and beyond has given the believer to Jesus. There are dangers, there are threats. But the danger is not greater than the one who saved you. So when you are struggling, cling to John 3:36 and 5:24 and 10:27-30... unless the trouble or doubt you face is bigger than God -and believe me, it isn't- you're hope is secure in Him. 

So, Philippians 1:6 tied our salvation to God’s character: He always finishes what He starts. In John 10, Jesus ties our salvation to God’s nature: He is supreme, and nothing is greater than Him. And it is He who has given us to the Son, with His omnipotent hand is wrapped around us.

Next time, we will consider how our security is ensured by the Love of God. Until then, keep persevering! May the Lord bless you and use you for His glory.