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Gospel 101 – An Apostolic Introduction, Part 6: A Gospel to be Held Fast

December 12, 2007

hc541.jpg(The following is completely and accurately excerpted from HeartCry Missionary Society’s Magazine, Issue 54 pgs. 8-13)

The Gospel, thank God, also sustains and keeps us. If we hold fast to this Gospel, we will be saved. And it will be proven that we were saved if we endure to the end. So many modern American Christians today see the Gospel as the fire-insurance they need or the one-time salvific flu shot. They forget that the Gospel they’ve heard, received, and been saved by is the one they hold onto with urgency and grave need. As Paul Washer so wisely and poignantly said, “People say ‘Christ is all I need. Just give me Jesus, He is all I need.’ Christ is not just all you need, He is all you have!” Saints, hold fast to this Gospel. You will find nothing more glorious, beautiful, or more preserving than this Gospel you heard preached.

——————the following is excerpted from HeartCry’s 54th Edition———-

A Gospel to Be Held Fast

… if you hold fast the word which I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
I Corinthians 15:2
The doctrine of the “Perseverance of the Saints”23 is one of
the most precious truths to the believer who understands it. It is the
greatest comfort and encouragement to know that He who began
a good work in us will finish it.24 However, this doctrine has been
grossly perverted and has become the chief instrument of giving
false assurance to countless individuals who are yet unconverted
and still in their sin.

In the above text, the Apostle Paul writes, “…you are saved,
IF you hold fast the word…” The word “if” introduces a conditional
clause that we must not ignore and we cannot remove. A
person is saved “if” he holds fast to the Gospel, but “if” he does
not hold fast, he is not saved. This is not a denial of the doctrine
of perseverance, but rather an explanation of it. No one who truly
believes unto salvation will ever be lost to eternal destruction. The
grace and power of God that saved them will also keep them until
that final day, but the evidence that they have truly believed is that
they continue in the things of God and do not turn away from Him.
Though they will still struggle against the flesh and be subject to
many failing, the full course of their life will reveal a definite and
notable progress in both faith and godliness. Their perseverance
does not save them or make them objects of grace, but reveals
that they are objects of grace and truly saved by faith. To put it
plainly, the proof or validation of genuine conversion is that the one
who professes faith in Christ perseveres in that faith and grows in
sanctification throughout the full course of his or her life. If a man
professes faith in Christ and yet falls away, or makes no progress in
godliness, it does not mean that he has lost his salvation; it simply
reveals that he was never converted at all.

This truth has tremendous and far-reaching implications for
many who profess faith in Christ. How many on the street and in
the pew believe that they are “saved” and thoroughly “Christian”
because one time they prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to come
into their hearts? Their lives have never changed, they show no
evidence of the grace of God, and yet they stand assured of their
salvation because of one decision in their past and their belief that
their prayer was truly sincere. No matter how popular such a belief,
there are no biblical grounds for it.

It is true that conversion happens at a specific moment in time
when men pass from death to life through faith in Jesus Christ.
However, biblical assurance that a person has passed from death
to life is not based merely upon an examination of the moment of
conversion, but rather upon an examination of one’s life from that
moment on. In the midst of much carnality, the Apostle Paul did
not ask the Corinthians to reevaluate their conversion experience
in the past, but to examine their lives in the present.25 We would do
well to follow Paul’s lead in the counseling of supposed converts.
They must know and we must teach them that the evidence of a
genuine saving work of God in the past is the continuation of that
same work until that final day.

23 The doctrine of perseverance is described in the following
summary taken from the Abstract of Principles: “Those whom
God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit,
will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace,
but shall certainly persevere to the end…”
24 Philippians 1:6
25 II Corinthians 13:5

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