Perseverance of the Saints

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Messiah Yeshua. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.” – (Phil. 1:6-7)

The perseverance of the saints is the fifth and final of the five points of Calvinism. It speaks to the promise of G-d to seal us with the Ruach HaKodesh as given in Ephesians 1:13-14.

Here we are told that the Spirit seals us to G-d with a promise. It is a pledge of our inheritance now that we are grafted into Israel. Just as G-d will never turn on Israel so He will never turn on us.

I believe it is due to our being grafted into Israel that we have eternal surety of our salvation.

Adonai’s covenants with Israel and the Patriarchs were decidedly one-sided. His promises were not conditional on anything Israel or their forefathers would do. He has promised to awaken Israel in the final days and restore them to Himself. In the same way, He awakens us from our spiritual sleep to bring us to Him by grafting us into Israel.

We are also told in Romans 8:39 that no created thing can separate us from the love of G-d. Since it is explicit in saying “any other created thing” at the end of a long list of physical and spiritual potential obstacles, we can be certain that Paul is going a bit over the top to strongly emphasize that nothing at all, not even ourselves, can separate us from the love of the Almighty.

Part of the reason we may not accept that we are eternally secure in our Savior is that we don’t always feel like it. This may be due to a temporary fall into sin, life circumstances bringing doubt, or a period of distancing our self from G-d by not praying, studying Scripture, or keeping fellowship.

These times can drag us down and make us ineffective for the cause of the Messiah. It can degrade our relationship with our Creator to the point of almost committing apostasy.

But just as an earthly father would not disown a wayward child, our heavenly Father will not disown us. Instead, He gently and sternly disciplines those He loves to bring them back onto the narrow path to reassure them of His eternal love.

The Apostle Peter went through times like these in his own life and wrote about the importance of keeping the assurance of faith. 

2 Peter 1:3-11 encourages us to make our calling and election sure. We do this by living a life that builds qualities such as faith, self-control, godliness and love among others. These make us useful and fruitful as they increase in our lives, and make us certain about His calling and choosing us.

The writer of Hebrews also makes a case for pursuing the assurance of our salvation. He calls on us as believers to work to show love to HaShem, and to minister to the saints so that we can realize the full assurance of our hope until the end (Heb 6:11).

While assurance of salvation may be necessary to the spiritual health of a believer, it is not essential for salvation. Doubt, to some degree, may always be in and out of our lives while we’re walking this earth, but this weakness of ours will never stop the Father from fulfilling His will of saving His elect.

Yeshua still answered the prayer of the man with the sick child that cried out, “Help my unbelief.” Adonai, likewise, hears and answers the cries of His children even when going through difficult times and temptations.

Blessed are you, Adonai, our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, who preserves His elect for the day of salvation.


Counting the Omer

Leviticus 23:15-16 (NASB)
15 ‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord.

When Adonai instituted the Passover celebration, He also used it as a marker to count towards the next festival. This counting of days is the Counting of the Omer or Sefirat HaOmer.

The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath day. Beginning the day after that, on the 16th of Nisan (this evening), G-d commands us to count out 50 days. This span covers seven weekly Sabbaths over spring.

This 50th day is known as Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks. It is traditionally accepted to be the time of Adonai handing down the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

The Counting of the Omer, then, marks Israel’s time of deliverance from slavery in Egypt to their sanctification before the L-rd.

For us today, the Counting of the Omer is a time to prepare ourselves for the gift of G-d’s Word. Just as the barley fields were ripening for the spring harvest, we should prepare our spirits for G-d’s harvest. To ensure that we are an acceptable offering to Him.

We can take this time to reflect on our lives and our relationship with HaShem. Are we where we need to be according to Scripture? Do we need to make changes in our devotion, meditation or prayer time? How do we treat our neighbors?

With these and other questions, we test ourselves against the Word to see if we are walking a righteous path.

The Counting of the Omer also reminds us that we are called to be workers in the harvest fields.

When Yeshua spoke to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4), He planted a seed that not only brought her into the Kingdom of G-d but also sent her into the field to bring others in.

Her messages was simple, “Come see a man who told me all things. Is this not the Messiah?”

As she and others poured out of the city to come to Him, He looked out over the valley and remarked to His disciples, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”

May the Ruach HaKodesh always move our hearts so that we can recognize fields that are ripe for harvest.

Blessed are you, O L-rd our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, Who prepares us to receive Your Words of Life.