Perseverance of the saints

The author of Hebrews bases his exhortation on teaching which was "first spoken through the Lord" (Heb 2:3) because God "has spoken to us in His Son" (1:2). There were "those who heard" (2:3) and "we have heard" (:1) and "have tasted the good word of God" (6:5). Therefore it is our responsibility "that we do not drift away from it" (2:1). What we have heard is alive and personal because "the word of God is living and active" (4:12). Our response should be to "hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end" (3:6). Therefore, "'Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts'" (:7-8). "We have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (:14).

I heard a seminary graduate state that there were differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, and another say in his book that it was a subject in school and the crux of the matter was eternal security, and it depended on how you interpreted the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Apparently seminaries categorize reasoning regarding certain arguments as doctrines. But he didn't cite the scripture, so I found Revelation 14:12 which says, "here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." People who keep something hold fast to it in faith. If you hold on you will retain your eternal security and Calvinists say all real Christians will persevere. But Arminians say you can lose it if you harden your heart. Jesus explained that in the last days "'the one who endures to the end will be saved" (Mk 13:13). Endurance is synonymous with the word perseverance in that doctrine. "'By your endurance you will gain your lives'" (Lk 21:19).

The doctrine of perseverance holds that saving your life at the end is salvation. One might say that "the end" represents the end of your life, or it may incorporate all those believers who overcome the trials of those last days. In the end "'he will be saved'" (Mt 24:13). However, "at that time many will fall away and betray one another'" (:10). If they fall away then "the perseverance of the saints who keep . . . their faith in Jesus" (Rev 14:12) doesn't apply. "'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven'" (Mt 7:21) because Jesus will say, "'I never knew you'" (:23). He "'is able to destroy both soul and body in hell'" (10:28). There will be "retribution to those who do not obey God and the gospel . . . [and] these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction (2Th 1:8-9). "'He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned'" (Mk 16:16). "'He who believes in the Son has eternal life'" (Jn 3:36).

Jesus said, "'It is finished!' . . . and gave up His spirit" (Jn 19:30). Furthermore he "has passed through the heavens" (Heb 4:14), has been "exalted above the heavens" (7:26) and "has sat down at the right hand of God" (12:2). Israel celebrated Passover when they were delivered from Egypt, and our position is similar when we depend on what Christ did for us. But then Israel had to enter the promised land. You might conclude that since Jesus had fulfilled his responsibility and reached heaven, that by crossing the border into Canaan, Israel reached the identical fulfillment as a type of what Jesus had accomplished. Conversely, those who died in the previous generation failed and didn't make it to heaven. However, that would mean that Moses, Aaron and the others were not in heaven according to that interpretation. So Canaan can't be a picture of heaven because they had to fight their way over time into victory. Our condition also is one of having to rely on the ongoing provision and sufficiency of Christ this side of heaven. However, "our citizenship is in heaven" (Php 3:20). But there is no record of anyone still wanting to return to Egypt and having to be expelled from Canaan. Nonetheless, the warnings in Hebrews of apostasy and losing one's rest seem to disqualify a person from being saved if he rebukes and rejects God. But if you came out of Egypt and into the promised land it seems that God doesn't kick you out, though you might suffer other consequences which are only God's business.