Why Saints Persevere
HOPE which filled the heart of Paul concerning the Corinthian brethren we have
already seen to be full of comfort to those who trembled as to their future. But
why was it that he believed that the brethren would be confirmed unto the end?
I want you to notice that he gives his reasons. Here they
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship
of his Son Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9).
The apostle does not say, "You are
faithful." Alas! the faithfulness of man is a very unreliable affair; it is
mere vanity. He does not say, "You have faithful ministers to lead and
guide you, and therefore I trust you will be safe." Oh, no! if we are kept
by men we shall be but ill kept. He puts it, "God is faithful." If we
are found faithful, it will be because God is faithful. On the faithfulness of
our covenant God the whole burden of our salvation must rest. On this glorious
attribute of God the matter hinges. We are variable as the wind, frail as a
spider's web, weak as water. No dependence can be placed upon our natural
qualities, or our spiritual attainments; but God abides faithful. He is faithful
in His love; He knows no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is faithful
to His purpose; He doth not begin a work and then leave it undone. He is
faithful to His relationships; as a Father He will not renounce His children, as
a friend He will not deny His people, as a Creator He will not forsake the work
of His own hands. He is faithful to His promises, and will never allow one of
them to fail to a single believer. He is faithful to His covenant, which He has
made with us in Christ Jesus, and ratified with the blood of His sacrifice. He
is faithful to His Son, and will not allow His precious blood to be spilled in
vain. He is faithful to His people to whom He has promised eternal life, and
from whom He will not turn away.
This faithfulness of God is the foundation and cornerstone
of our hope of final perseverance. The saints shall persevere in holiness,
because God perseveres in grace. He perseveres to bless, and therefore believers
persevere in being blessed. He continues to keep His people, and therefore they
continue to keep His commandments. This is good solid ground to rest upon, and
it is delightfully consistent with the title of this little book, "all
of grace." Thus it is free favour and infinite mercy which ring in
the dawn of salvation, and the same sweet bells sound melodiously through the
whole day of grace.
You see that the only reasons for hoping that we shall be
confirmed to the end, and be found blameless at the last, are found in our God;
but in Him these reasons are exceedingly abundant.
They lie first, in what God has done. He has gone so far in
blessing us that it is not possible for Him to run back. Paul reminds us that He
has "called us into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ." Has he
called us? Then the call cannot be reversed; for, "the gifts and calling of
God are without repentance." From the effectual call of His grace the Lord
never turns. "Whom he called them he also justified, and whom he justified
them he also glorified:" this is the invariable rule of the divine
procedure. There is a common call, of which it is said, "Many are called,
but few are chosen," but this of which we are now thinking is another kind
of call, which betokens special love, and necessitates the possession of that to
which we are called. In such a case it is with the called one even as with
Abraham's seed, of whom the Lord said, "I have called thee from the ends of
the earth, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not
cast thee away."
In what the Lord has done, we see strong reasons for our
preservation and future glory, because the Lord has called us into the
fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ. It means into partnership with Jesus Christ,
and I would have you carefully consider what this means. If you are indeed
called by divine grace, you have come into fellowship with the Lord Jesus
Christ, so as to be joint-owner with Him in all things. Henceforth you are one
with Him in the sight of the Most High. The Lord Jesus bare your sins in His own
body on the tree, being made a curse for you; and at the same time He has become
your righteousness, so that you are justified in Him. You are Christ's and
Christ is yours. As Adam stood for his descendants, so does Jesus stand for all
who are in Him. As husband and wife are one, so is Jesus one with all those who
are united to Him by faith; one by a conjugal union which can never be broken.
More than this, believers are members of the Body of Christ, and so are one with
Him by a loving, living, lasting union. God has called us into this union, this
fellowship, this partnership, and by this very fact He has given us the token
and pledge of our being confirmed to the end. If we were considered apart from
Christ we should be poor perishable units, soon dissolved and borne away to
destruction; but as one with Jesus we are made partakers of His nature, and are
endowed with His immortal life. Our destiny is linked with that of our Lord, and
until He can be destroyed it is not possible that we should perish.
Dwell much upon this partnership with the Son of God, unto
which you have been called: for all your hope lies there. You can never be poor
while Jesus is rich, since you are in one firm with Him. Want can never assail
you, since you are joint-proprietor with Him who is Possessor of Heaven and
earth. You can never fail; for though one of the partners in the firm is as poor
as a church mouse, and in himself an utter bankrupt, who could not pay even a
small amount of his heavy debts, yet the other partner is inconceivably,
inexhaustibly rich. In such partnership you are raised above the depression of
the times, the changes of the future, and the shock of the end of all things.
The Lord has called you into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, and by that
act and deed He has put you into the place of infallible safeguard.
If you are indeed a believer you are one with Jesus, and
therefore you are secure. Do you not see that it must be so? You must be
confirmed to the end until the day of His appearing, if you have indeed been
made one with Jesus by the irrevocable act of God. Christ and the believing
sinner are in the same boat: unless Jesus sinks, the believer will never drown.
Jesus has taken His redeemed into such connection with himself, that He must
first be smitten, overcome, and dishonoured, ere the least of His purchased ones
can be injured. His name is at the head of the firm, and until it can be dishonoured
we are secure against all dread of failure.
So, then, with the utmost confidence let us go forward into
the unknown future, linked eternally with Jesus. If the men of the world should
cry, "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her
Beloved?" we will joyfully confess that we do lean on Jesus, and that we
mean to lean on Him more and more. Our faithful God is an ever flowing well of
delight, and our fellowship with the Son of God is a full river of joy. Knowing
these glorious things we cannot be discouraged: nay, rather we cry with the
apostle, "Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord?"