The Original Promise Keeper: The Doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the Saints -- By: Mark DeVine

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 06:4 (Fall 1997)
Article: The Original Promise Keeper: The Doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the Saints
Author: Mark DeVine


The Original Promise Keeper: The Doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the Saints

Mark DeVine

“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6–7).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7).

Recently I found myself seated on the front porch of our home in Kansas City. My wife was away. I was home alone with my two boys, six-year-old Drew, and Sam, who is two. Sam. was aggressively making rows on the front lawn with his toy mower while Drew was inside at work on his latest book. I lifted Sam into my arms, walked no more that fifty-five feet into my next door neighbor’s house where I spoke to my friend, Vernon, for no more than eight minutes—eight minutes during which my six-year-old did not know where his daddy was—eight minutes of terror for Drew. I returned home to a son who needed comfort, and, I believe, deserved an apology. Drew deserved an apology because the one who had promised to take care of him, the one he looked to for protection, the one who owed him that care and protection, had let him down.

The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints addresses the question of the nature, the extent, and the duration of the care and protection promised to Christian believers by their heavenly Father.

Our understanding of the nature of salvation, indeed, of the very character of God is at stake in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. No dimension of the Christian life is left unaffected by answers given to the questions raised—questions such as: Has our heavenly Father

promised to take care of us? Does our Lord desire that we look to Him for the care and protection of our souls forever?

The Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints represents the conclusion of many believers across the centuries who have felt compelled by the Holy Scriptures to answer these questions with a resounding and grateful yes! Our God can, does, and will take care of His children to the end. To suggest otherwise is false, ungrateful, and certainly is not the Good News of the Christian gospel.

Sadly, the historic church has not yet been able to speak with one voice on this great issue. In fact, even evangelical Christians have frequently found themselves heading in opposite dir...

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