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Theology > Salvation > Work of Salvation > Preservation and Perseverance


Preservation is the doing of God, while perseverance is the doing of man—and the one who is being preserved will persevere. The believer’s perseverance is anchored in God’s preservation.

Preservation is the work of God by which He maintains, keeps, and holds onto the one He has brought to Himself; and because of God’s preservation the believer is secure, both in time and eternity. The believer cannot and will not be removed from his position in Christ, a position which affords him acceptance before God. Scripture emphatically teaches God’s preservation:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand . . . for the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever (Ps. 37:23-24, 28);

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed (Ps. 71:1-2, 23);

This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day (Jo. 6:39);

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone 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 My Father’s hand (Jo. 10:27-29);

 . . . having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (Jo. 13:1);

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39);

God . . . who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 1:4, 8);

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6);

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one (II Thess. 3:3);

I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (II Tim. 1:12);

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25);

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who . . . has begotten us again to a living hope . . . to an inheritance . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (I Pet. 1:3-5).

Also see: Isa. 43:1-7; Jer. 32:40; Jo. 4:13-14; Acts 13:38-39; Phil. 2:13; 3:11-13; II Pet. 1:1-3, 10

Preservation is God’s continuing work whereby the believer is enabled to pursue the Lord, and preservation is God’s guarantee that the pursuit will be completed. Supporting the concept of preservation are: God’s Sovereignty; God’s election; the surety of grace; union with Christ; God’s promise to keep the believer; the work of Spirit in the life; the intercession of Christ; and the assurance and promise by God of eternal life to the believer.

The believer who is being preserved must persevere and will persevere. Jesus teaches: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13), and “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lu. 9:62). Perseverance is the  pursuit of the goal, which is full and complete salvation; the believer will not fall away from his profession, but will continue until the end. One must continue in belief and in practice, and this is a struggle.

The true believer will not turn away from the struggle that he has entered into, but, with fear and trembling, will look to Christ and follow Him. False teaching and improper conduct will not totally and finally ensnare the believer. Paul provides insight into the work of perseverance: “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (I Cor. 9:27). The persevering life is a life of discipline.

Those who do not persevere were never a part of Christ or of His Church: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, thou would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” (I Jo. 2:19; see: II Pet. 2:1-3; Heb. 6:4-8; 10:29).

For those who do persevere, perseverance will terminate in perfection (II Cor. 3:19).

God preserves us so that we may persevere.
Robert Duncan Culver, ST, 767

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