What is Perseverance of the Saints?

by Matt Slick

Perseverance of the saints is the teaching that the work of God the Holy Spirit will never cease in the Christian, that all who are truly regenerated will never stop believing and trusting in Christ, that they will never lose their salvation, and that they will persevere to the end because God has promised to never leave them or forsake them (Heb. 13:5).

This doctrine does not mean that everyone who professes to be a Christian will persevere because there can be those who are false converts and are not truly regenerated.  In other words, there are people who appear to be saved but who are not.  These people often walk away from the faith (Mark 4:3-9).

The doctrine of perseverance is usually held by calvinistic groups.  It is based in the doctrines of election and predestination where God elects (chooses) people for salvation and predestines (brings about by his sovereign will) the redemption of the elect and justifies them (declaring them legally righteous) by grace alone in Christ alone apart from the works of the Law (Rom. 3:28; 4:5).  If God is sovereign who works all things after the council of his will (Eph. 1:11), then he sovereignly keeps all whom he has redeemed.

Furthermore, perseverance is not a license to sin.  Those who are saved and eternally kept by God are also regenerated (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17) and war against their sin (Rom. 7:14-25).

Following are some of the verses that teach perseverance of the saints.

  • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
  • John 6:39-40, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
  • John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 “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. 30 “I and the Father are one.”
  • Hebrews 13:5, "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”




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