“Perseverance of Saints”

Jesse M. Kelley

The Doctrine

“We believe the Scriptures teach that such as are truly regenerate, being born of the Spirit, will not utterly fall away and perish, but will endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (Article XI, The Standard Baptist Manual, page 67)

The Definition

We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul. …All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger.” (From a tract entitled, Do a Christian’s Sins Damn His Soul? by “Rev.” Sam Morris, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Stamford, Texas.)

The Analysis

Misrepresentation is a serious thing. We were very careful therefore to copy the above excerpts exactly as they appear in the Baptist Manual, and the tract by Sam Morris. We have in the above, the official doctrine held and taught by Baptist churches, and the definition of that doctrine by one well qualified to “spell it out.” And “spell it out” he did!

It is absolutely amazing that intelligent people could believe, teach, and practice such a doctrine so obviously contrary to the teaching of the word of God. Both common sense and the Scriptures sustain serious injury when such is preached in the name of Christ. It seems incredible that sensible people could be so deceived by false teachers as to believe that there is no sin a child of God can commit, “from idolatry to murder,” that could result in his soul being lost in hell. But their number is legion.

The number of passages in the word of God that could be cited to show the utter fallacy of such perversion are far too many to be put down here. But as space will permit we want to set a few of them down and ask that you consider them seriously.

The first we would call your attention to is First Corinthians 10:5-12. Here the apostle calls to mind an experience of the Israelites in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. These were children of God whom He had chosen for His own peculiar people. These people. These God-chosen people so sinned that God destroyed 23,000 of them in one day. Paul then says, “these things happened unto them for examples and are written for our admonition.” Now read carefully verse 12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Paul is writing to sanctified people in the church at Corinth, and he is talking about sanctified people in the wilderness. The sanctified people in Corinth were warned to take heed lest they fall like those sanctified people of God in the wilderness. Such warning as here set out to saved people is utterly ridiculous if it is impossible for saved persons to sin and fall from the grace of God.

Another significant passage is found in Second Peter 2:20-22. As you read it keep in mind that Peter is writing to Christians.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Here are some who once “escaped the pollutions of the world,” but who returned to them, becoming entangled again and were overcome. They went back into sin. Peter said the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. Before they escaped they were sinners under the condemnation of God. Frankly, I do not know how they could be worse than they were when they were under condemnation, but Peter said they were and I am not disposed to argue with inspiration. But they became children of God, then returned to live again in sin. Thus they stood under God’s condemnation. Language and its meaning could not be made plainer than it is here put by the Holy Spirit.

It is said frequently that a “real born again Christian” will never fall from grace; that only “superficial professors” return to sin. Let us see. The Bible teaches that every “born again” person is in the kingdom of God. Jesus said that when one is “born again” he enters the kingdom of God. (John 3:5) But did you know that Jesus also said that in the judgment some would taken out of the kingdom of God and cast into a furnace of fire? Read it: “The Son of man shall send forth His angels and they shalt gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” (Matt. 13:41) Who are in the kingdom? Those who have been “born again.” So here are some “real born again Christians,” as they are called, being taken out of the kingdom and cast into a furnace of fire. Does this sound like a “real born again Christian” cannot so sin as to finally be lost?

But indulge us with the citation of one more passage. Read Second Peter 1:4-11. For the sake of brevity we will not quote the verses here; but Peter is writing to those who had been saved from the corruption of the world. (verse 4) Then he tells them, “besides this,” or in addition to primary obedience to the gospel by which they had escaped the pollutions of the world, “add to your faith virtue? and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (vv. 5-7) Then he said in verse 8: “If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now note carefully verse 9: “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” Then, based upon these stated truths, Peter issues a warning to those Christians to whom he was writing. Note it carefully: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall.” (verse 10) “Never fall” is a conditional promise. What is the condition? “If ye do these things.” What if one doesn’t do them? He falls from the grace of God.

Reader, these passages are too plain to be misunderstood. Don’t let some false teacher misrepresent them to you, and thus lull you into a false security of “once saved, always saved.” It is not so and these passages we have introduced, together with many, many, more, prove it beyond the shadow of any doubt.

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Author: Editor

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