Preservation of the Saints

Preservation of the Saints

I want to start this off by saying that perseverance or preservation of the saints is not the same thing as eternal security or once saved, always saved. Matt Slick has a really great explanation about the differences between the 3 and I will link that below for you so you could see more from it. I also wanted to note that I waited until today to add resources that cover Calvinism as a whole to a post. The reason for that is I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by putting these resources up potentially too early. I’m going to have it divided up into podcasts, books, and articles. There are more resources and Bible verses to support Calvinism than what I have put in these posts, but I hope these have facilitated some good study!

Link: https://bit.ly/3jMtlfc 

What is it?

So, the P in TULIP actually has two different meanings that are used interchangeably, perseverance of the saints (most common) and preservation of the saints. You can see here that I tend to use preservation, I like it because it reads more that God is preserving/keeping you; whereas, perseverance gives more of an indication that there’s action on our part. That said, both are perfectly valid ways to read the P and I think both are needed. Preservation of the saints is the doctrine that if we are truly one of the elect, we cannot lose our salvation and that “he who started a good work in you will see it through to the day of completion” (Philippians 1:6).

But doesn’t this just give us license to sin?

There’s 2 main routes that are taken in objections to preservation of the saints. The more scriptural argument against preservation of the saints is largely based on a passage in Hebrews (5:20-6:11) that warns against falling against the faith (it’s not the only one that talks about it, this is just the most glaring). This passage is actually a great lesson in paying attention to the context of what’s written. It is written to condemn and warn about apostasy, which still happens, even if God already knows who the elect are. We have to understand going in that there’s two things working simultaneously together in this passage. The first is that God knows things we don’t know and has ordained things we can’t know until they’ve already happened. And like yesterday’s post dealing with the effectual call, we cannot know who the elect are, but we can encourage those that are part of the visible church to stay strong in the faith and have courage (and call them to repentance and remind them not to fall away). If you actually continue into verse 12, the writer says that they don’t want us to become lazy, “but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (ESV). 

Later on in Hebrews (ch 7), the writer also acknowledges the permanent state of those who are in Christ, saying:

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

This is also a good time to give a reminder that the epistles are letters that were read all in one sitting and not broken up into chapters and verses, so when the church was hearing this, they did hear the full context, which is a call to piety and obedience, even as Christians.

The less scriptural objection, but so much more damning, is the pushback that if preservation is true, we do not need to obey because God will continue to give grace. To that, I say in the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 6, by no means.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

I want to be super clear on this point because I have gotten pushback on multiple posts of mine calling me an antinomian because people did not give me the opportunity to elaborate my points when I say that obedience is not salvific. It is not. Our obedience will not bring us salvation, only God will do that. And God has more grace than we could ever exhaust for when we do inevitably sin. But this does not mean that we do not need to obey and it does not mean that we should not obey. The last week of this month, we’ll be taking a look at the law gospel distinction and how it plays a role in our lives, so I don’t want to leave you with an incomplete picture of the reality of the Christian life.

So to the person who genuinely asks why a Christian’s life should look different after becoming regenerate, I have a question that I want to ask back with as much grace as I could possibly have. Why would a Christian want to sin?

Scriptural Support for Preservation of the Saints:

  • Matthew 7
  • Hebrews 1:3, 7:25
  • Philippians 1:6, 29
  • John 6:28-29, 38-40; 10:27-29
  • Colossians 1:17
  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • Ephesians 4:6
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • 1 John 2:19

John Calvin Speaks About it in the Institutes:

  • Book 3, Chapter 2, Section 40
  • Book 3, Chapter 14, Section 6-9

More Resources to Learn:

 

Resources on Calvinism:

Podcasts:

Books:+

Articles:

 

+ These include affiliate links that we may make a small commission off of.

Irresistible Grace

Irresistible Grace

The next two days are actually among my favorites, partly because I love talking about God’s grace, but also because I like to talk about regeneration and what that means in the life of a believer (also why I looooove talking about covenant theology and the law gospel distinction). 

What is it?

Irresistible grace is the doctrine that teaches that when the Spirit of God is sent to change a person’s heart, that person cannot resist the change (A Puritan’s Mind link at the bottom). This is not to say that God is trying to fit square pegs into round holes. RC Sproul describes it as, “at the time of one’s choosing, God removes all obstacles a person has from hearing the gospel.”

The PRCA overview at the bottom also writes it as this:

You understand what the term “irresistible” emphasizes. Do not think that irresistible grace is some sort of blind force which simply drags the struggling, rebellious sinner into heaven against his will — as a policeman might drag a rebellious prisoner to jail. The grace of God is not such a power that compels to enter into heaven those who would not.

That God’s grace is irresistible emphasizes the idea that not only does grace bring His people to glory, but it prepares them for this glory and works within them the desire to enter into glory. Grace is irresistible in the sense that by it the knee is bent which otherwise would not bend; the heart is softened that otherwise is hard as stone. Nor is there anything which can prevent the accomplishment of that purpose of God to save His people by His grace.”

Moreover, they argue that you cannot hold to total depravity without also holding to irresistible grace and I think that’s a really important distinction to make. Again, if we are completely dead, we cannot make ourselves alive, so God will have to be the one who wakes us up and removes all obstacles for life in order for us to truly live.

But we also know that Matthew 22:14 says that many are called and few are chosen. 

But what about evangelism?

So this actually involves more deeply the idea of an effectual call and the idea of a general call, which I’ve talked about a couple of times previously. The general call is the call that goes out to everyone by the  sharing of the gospel. The effectual call is when the Holy Spirit works in the heart of the elect to bring them to him. In Humble Calvinism, J. A. Medders describes it as, “when the Spirit goes to work, he brings you to the place where you agree.”

There’s an extent where the effectual call should be something that any Christian who evangelizes should see. You could have an answer for every question and be as gracious as can be, but someone would still be blind to the truth of the gospel and their eyes just would not open. Even if you spend any length of time watching Ray Comfort videos (which I definitely do a lot of honestly lol), you see this seasoned pro going patiently and thoroughly through a gospel presentation and not everyone listens to even him. That’s not his fault. He is fulfilling the Great Commission by going out and evangelizing and hoping that some would hear the call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, knowing full well that it is God that saves and opens someone’s eyes.

But since God already knows who’s his and some people can hear the gospel and completely reject it, why even bother evangelizing? Well for one, Jesus put no restrictions on evangelism in the Great Commission. God commanding us to do something is really the only reason we need to do it. Even aside from that, it’s not like people walk around with neon signs above their heads saying “elect” and “reprobate.” We don’t know who is called, so we are doing the will of the Father by evangelizing, even imperfectly. And more than that, this should give us comfort and confidence because if the Holy Spirit is the one who changes hearts, we don’t have to worry about getting the words completely right or knowing all of the answers to all the questions. We just do something and God will do the rest. 

Scriptural Support for Irresistible Grace:

  • Psalm 110:3
  • John 6:37-39, 44; 10:1-30; 17:2
  • Acts 7, 9:6, 16
  • 1 Corinthians 15:10
  • Revelation 13:8, 17:8
  • Ephesians 1:19-20, 2:8-10
  • 2 Timothy 1:9-10
  • Romans 8: 29-30

John Calvin Speaks About it in the Institutes:

  • Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 1
  • He also wrote on it in his commentary on John, particularly in chapter 6

More Resources to Learn:

Every Christian Should be a Theologian | Episode 87

Every Christian Should be a Theologian | Episode 87

This week Coleen and Angela discuss why theology is important for every Christian.

Reformed Standard podcast – Westminster Larger Catechism: Q1

You can find Theology Gals merchandise here.

Episode Resources:

Theology is for Women Too

Has American Christianity Failed? with Bryan Wolfmeuller – Theology Gals Episode

Has American Christianity Failed? by Bryan Wolfmeuller

The Lost Soul of American Protestantism by D. G. Hart

The Disturbing Legacy of Charles Finney by Michael Horton

Charles Finney and the Legacy of American Pelagianism – White Horse Inn

Charles Finney and American Revivalism – White Horse Inn Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

State of Theology

Theology Book Recommendations

Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton

Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story by Michael Horton

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs JI Packer

Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples

(we’re working on a more extensive reading list)

Women can join our Facebook Group Theology Gals-Ladies Theology Discussion and Encouragement
Follow us:
On Facebook
On Twitter @TheologyGals
On Instagram theologygals
Email us at theologygals@gmail.com

If you’d like to ask Theology Gals a question which may be answered on a future episode, you can text or leave a voicemail at (951) 407-0234. You may also send an email.

Consider supporting Theology Gals with just a few dollars a month

Covenant Baptism with R. Scott Clark | Episode 85

Covenant Baptism with R. Scott Clark | Episode 85

This week Coleen and Angela discuss covenant baptism with Dr. R. Scott Clark. They also briefly address Reformed identity. You can follow Dr. Clark at The Heidelblog and hear him on The Heidelcast and Office Hours podcasts.

Reformed Identity 1:22

Covenant Baptism 13:04

You can find Theology Gals merchandise here.

Episode Resources:

On Being Reformed: Debates over a Theological Identity by Matthew C. Bingham, Chris Caughey, R. Scott Clark, Crawford Gribben, D. G. Hart

Reformed Identity with Chris Caughey – Theology Gals Episode

On Being Reformed – Office Hours podcast

Covenant Theology with R. Scott Clark – Theology Gals Episode

A Curriculum For Those Wrestling Through Covenant Theology And Infant Baptism – Heidelblog Resources

Heidelcast Series: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children

Covenant Theology & Infant Baptism – Heidelblog Resources

A Contemporary Reformed Defense of Infant Baptism – R. Scott Clark

Women can join our Facebook Group Theology Gals-Ladies Theology Discussion and Encouragement
Follow us:
On Facebook
On Twitter @TheologyGals
On Instagram theologygals
Email us at theologygals@gmail.com

If you’d like to ask Theology Gals a question which may be answered on a future episode, you can text or leave a voicemail at (951) 407-0234. You may also send an email.

Consider supporting Theology Gals with just a few dollars a month.

Reformed Identity with Chris Caughey | Episode 84

Reformed Identity with Chris Caughey | Episode 84

On this episode Coleen and Angela talk with Chris Caughey from The Glory Cloud Podcast about the new book he contributed to, On Being Reformed: Debates over a Theological Identity.

(To use the skip ahead begin playing and then click on the time stamp. This works while listening on our website)

Intro – a little fun talking super heroes

5:52 – Intro to our subject

11:07  – The Glory Cloud Podcast and Meredith Kline

24:31 – Reformed Identity

Episode Resources:

On Being Reformed: Debates over a Theological Identity by Matthew C. Bingham, Chris Caughey, R. Scott Clark, Crawford Gribben, D. G. Hart

By Oath Consigned  by Meredith Kline (free digital copy)

The Tale of Two Adams by Chris Caughey (You can also download a free pdf copy here)

Covenant Theology Under Attack by Meredith Kline

The Glory Cloud Podcast

Women can join our Facebook Group Theology Gals-Ladies Theology Discussion and Encouragement
Follow us:
On Facebook
On Twitter @TheologyGals
On Instagram theologygals
Email us at theologygals@gmail.com

If you’d like to ask Theology Gals a question which may be answered on a future episode, you can text or leave a voicemail at (951) 407-0234. You may also send an email.

Consider supporting Theology Gals with just a few dollars a month.