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.

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Irresistible Grace

Irresistible Grace is the fourth point of Calvinism.

Despite the name, it does not mean that man is unable to resist the will of G-d or the work of the Ruach HaKodesh. We know from both Scripture and from observing human nature that man is very capable of resisting his Creator. Both the believer and unbeliever will have moments when they turn aside from a corrective action or instruction from G-d.

Instead, irresistible grace refers to the calling of the Spirit to regeneration. The quickening of a dead spirit to a live one, or the turning of a heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

In basic terms, it is that one of the elect cannot reject the calling of G-d to salvation.

This is also known as effectual calling, referring to the effectiveness of the Spirit in the lives of those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 13.8). Yeshua said that, as the Good Shepherd, He would lose none of His sheep (John 10:27). Those that are His will answer His call at some point in their lives and respond favorably towards Him.

Irresistible grace is only one step in the process of coming to our Messiah. It is the regeneration of our dead spirit into a living spirit that can worship and serve the Creator.

Even after our calling, we are still capable of sinning. Of desiring to go our own way from time to time. Of seemingly turning our back on the One Who gave everything for our salvation.

But it’s never in open rebellion against Him. It’s never unforgivable.

There are two callings of the Spirit mentioned in the Bible.

There is the external calling that is universal. This is nature calling out to the world (Psalm 19) so everyone may know the attributes of G-d; His eternal power and divine nature.

It is the believer explaining the Gospel. Sowing seeds into the field so that some may grow and bear fruit. Some seeds will be harvested while others will be collected for the fire.

The Apostle Paul says this is so that each one may be without excuse (Romans 1:20) when facing judgment by the Almighty.

There is also an internal calling. The Spirit uses this to compel our dead spirits to accept and believe in the Messiah. It pierces our hard hearts and brings into us a faith so that we can believe the words and promises of G-d. This regeneration allows us to to put our faith in Yeshua so that we might be saved.

This salvation is an act of the Grace of G-d and is not dependent on us. We are saved through the grace of G-d, not by our own works (Eph. 2:8-9).

Grace is an unmerited, or unearned, favor given from the strong to the weak according to the need. It is suitable charity handed out willingly and freely.

The irresistible calling is not hyper-grace.

Hyper-grace is a sub-movement that has flown through history since the days of the Apostles. It shuns all manner of obedience to G-d’s Word, seeing it as a “work” of salvation. Nothing is expected from the believer except for an initial confession of faith. Any type of intentional good work is considered an effort to earn your way into heaven.

In effect, they are actually saying, “Let us sin so that more grace may abound.”

Scripture instructs us otherwise. The Word tells us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. To live sensibly, righteously and godly (Titus 2:11-12). To be active in our pursuit of holiness.

Paul specifically spoke out against the hyper-grace teaching in Romans 6. We have died to our sins he tells us. Our old self has been crucified to sin. We are free from it due to the sacrifice of our Messiah. While we still have a sinful nature that is tempted to break G-d’s commands, we are no longer known as sinners.

Due to our walking with the Messiah, our sins and faults stand out even more to those around us. A moment of anger, an outburst of frustration, or the giving in to a sinful habit can cause us to stumble in front of others. We may even be labelled a hypocrite due to a single, sinful act.

But the attacks of the world prove we are different from them. You don’t attack a friend, only an enemy. Just as hasatan did to Job before the Throne of Adonai, the world accuses us because we don’t walk their path. They don’t understand the forgiveness Yeshua offers us.

This becomes a chance to bear witness to the world. We are forgiven from our sins. We can repent and turn from our wicked ways to honor G-d.

In seeking repentance from our sins, we no longer walk in a manner that brings shame to the Holy One of Israel.

As G-d has called us to His bride, let us also call others to Him. We do not know who will be saved so we need to spread the Word freely. We do this by being a witness to the world both in word and deed.

This is grace working through us. G-d can use us to provide what is desperately needed in the lives of the unbelievers: an act of regeneration by the Ruach HaKodesh.

Blessed are You, O L-rd, Our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, Who is gracious to wake us from the dead and give us eternal life.