The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Perseverance of the Saints – A Works Salvation

Posted by Pastor Szekely on December 4, 2006

Calvinism says that “those who are sovereignly elected and regenerated will continue in the faith”.

Romans 8:29-30 says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”.

These verses tell us that God knew that, in His foreknowledge, we who are saved would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and with God knowing this, He predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son, or to be made in His likeness or resemble Him through sanctification after our salvation! But the Calvinist will use these verses to say that the saints will and must persevere in the obedience which comes from faith. They say: Election is unconditional, but glorification is not! Man has nothing to do with salvation, but man has everything to do with losing salvation. So to a Calvinist, faith must endure to the end if a person is to be saved!

John Piper, “the Pastor for Preaching” [quoted from his own website] at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, an author of more than 20 books and a featured radio program, and also a staunch Calvinist [he calls himself a “seven-point” Calvinist, half-jokingly, because of his belief in ‘double-predestination…] cited in a position paper entitled, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism: “No Christian can be sure that he is a true believer. Hence, there is an ongoing need to be dedicated to the Lord and to deny ourselves so that we might make it.”

I just need to ask right here: Is THAT Grace…OR Grace PLUS works for salvation???

This is just another reason why I am a Baptist and not a Calvinist! The Bible clearly teaches the Eternal Security of the Believer! It is the Savior who perseveres [if you will], not the saint, to maintain salvation! The believer is kept; the believer does not keep himself saved!

Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption“.

John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand [Jesus is saying that I cannot even pluck myself out of His Hand ~ Praise God!]. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I an my Father are one.”

To the best of my knowledge, we Baptists are the only people who hold to the eternal security of the believer. Yes, we are “once saved, always saved“. When we are saved, we have a new relationship with God ~ we are now His children. We also believe that it does make a difference how you live! Not that we would lose our relationship with God, but we would affect our fellowship with God.

For example: When Father and Mother have a child, that child will always be their child. That little baby is connected to them by birth. Now, when that child disobeys, or if that child runs away or acts like a prodigal, he or she may break fellowship with the family, but the relationship of child of those parents is always in force.

Calvinism’s Perseverance of the Saints is a Works Salvation. We do not work to keep ourselves saved. God saved us, it’s His salvation, and He keeps us saved. We may break fellowship with Him through our disobedient sin, but a born-again believer can not lose the relationship of child of the Heavenly Father!

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16 Responses to “Perseverance of the Saints – A Works Salvation”

  1. Kathy said

    Bro. Szekely,

    Thank you so much for writing these articles. They have been extremely helpful. I pray the God of all mercy and justice will pour out His divine blessings over you, your family and church. Your unselfishness and desire to glorify God and speak the truth without tearing down others is refreshing.

    38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
    Luke 6:38KJV

    In Christ,
    Kathy

    P.S. We will keep checking back for your new writings.

  2. Bro. Szekely said

    Dear Kathy,

    You have blessed my heart with your kind words and encouragement. I’m so thankful that you have found what has been written to be helpful – that makes my day, and I praise God for it and for you!

    “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowldege and in all judgment” Phil 1:9

    Thank you for checking back from time to time, and may our God strengthen you as you continue to serve Him!

    Your Fellow Laborer,
    Bro. Szekely

  3. Amen! The Bible teaches preservation of the saints (by God), and not what the Calcinists teach (ie. perseverance of the saints). Praise the Lord for that! If my salvation ever depended upon me keeping myself, I might as well throw in the towel and give up now because I fail all the time. But, thank the Lord, He keeps me:

    1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

  4. Bro. Szekely said

    That’s good, my brother…makes me want to SHOUT!!!

  5. Jeff said

    Greetings,
    I am a believer in the doctrines of grace, more or less. There are differences within the Calvinism views within the ranks. I have heard and read, Perseverance of the Saints as having two separated views from Calvinist. The first is that perseverance consists of the elect to maintain their salvation by attending an appropriate church, falling under the church authority mandatorily, while maintaining the sacraments’ and the laws! Unless one does so, I have heard some URC pastors’ say. “What makes one believe that they are working with their salvation and are actually secure whatsoever, by being a rogue? Secondly, on the other hand, I have heard Calvinist leaders say that perseverance of the saints was totally secured through the precious blood of Jesus; for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. I lean towards the second and here is why! In my hometown and for multitudes of miles there are no Reform Churches within my area, so by their standards my security is in jeopardy? I was told by one URC pastor to attend any Presbyterian church and maintain the best I can regardless of their beliefs? I don’t think so! By my layman’s humble understanding of Galatians chapter 3 says; 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
    Jesus is Lord
    Jeff

  6. Bro. Szekely said

    G’day Jeff & thank you for your comments!

    I’m so thankful you hold to [or “it holds you” = a conviction] eternal security through the Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Blood is our ONLY security, and not our “enduring to the end”…it is HIS work, and not ours – to save us AND to keep us!

    So Jeff…do you call yourself a Calvinist? And if so…may I ask “why”? And just one more question: Do you believe that infants/babies need baptized to be “safe”?

    I really look forward to hearing from you ~ Lord bless!

  7. Jeff said

    Thank you for your reply,
    I believe in some areas of the doctrines of grace and some I do not. Perseverance of the saints by holding on to the means of works salvation (through the direction of a man or a church for salvation) to justifying one’s salvation is faulty to say the least. The Catholics, charismatic movement and other cult movements use the same belief. If their beliefs would be true then they would be co-god, and the divine authority of Jesus is slandered by this. It causes man to be on a higher level than deserved, also this would lower the sacrifice of the Cross. I lean somewhat towards the same areas in which Pastor John MacArthur leans, except his view of the blood. I believe the blood of Jesus was and is the blood of God. I have good friends in the Baptist ranks that are absolutely saved. I also like others, I feel some may or may not be saved, but I elect to let God be God in that area. I am not nuts about female pastors, or Baptist, Penetecostals and others jabbering false tongues and jumping over pews. I see no difference than that and the false charismatic movements. I do however believe in total depravity; John 6:31-71 Jesus tells us by the Father’s will he has sent us to him(Jesus) and he will never let us go. No sir, I am not a Calvinist, because he too like me was a faulty man. I believe that all babies are born into sin and if Father God elected; all deserves hell to include cute little babies, but because of his love of his elect, his son took our place. Sir, personally I haven’t thought about Baptizing babies. I was pulled down a Baptist aisle when I was somewhat little and the Pastor asked if I believe in Jesus. I told him that I would believe in anything if my momma would let go of my ear. I wouldn’t know the use of Baptizing babies; If God wanted them in hell they would be there since he is sovereign. I could be wrong, but it seems like a Roman Catholic ritual?
    Jesus is Lord
    Jeff

  8. Bro. Szekely said

    Jeff…thanks again for getting back with me!!!

    Thanks for telling me where you’re coming from…and I’m glad to hear you don’t hold to pedobaptism (infant baptism). The reason I had asked was because I thought you were in a Reformed church…and Reformed Theology really depends upon the damnable doctrine of infant baptism. Here’s what the Westminster Confession of Faith (Reformed Theology) says on baptism:

    “Chapter XXVIII – OF BAPTISM: I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world…VI. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.”

    For the “full confession”, please see: http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs

    Do you adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith? I know, though, you don’t hold to this part, like you said. Did you know this was part was in the Westminster Confession of Faith? This is the Confession that, for example, John McArthur, Jay Adams, John Murray, William Luck, Guy Duty, and Lorraine Boettner {Reformed Theologians} say they hold to.

    What do you have against the Baptists?

  9. Jeff said

    Greetings again,
    I don’t adhere to the Westminster Confession concerning this area. Mark 16:16 says, “Believe and be Baptized to be saved; Believe not a be damned.” I don’t see how an infant could hold to that. I listen to MacArthur and some of his teachings, which do line-up alright.
    You ask, “What do you have against the Baptists?” Some of the churches in which I have visited are turning charismatic, or leaning that way. There is one large Baptist church in my hometown that have ladies; preaching, ushers, dancers and the fixings of the neo-Penetcostal third wave. Seven years ago, I attended and joined a charismatic church and worked in three different ministries. Homosexuality, lesbianism, adultrey

  10. Jeff said

    Sir,
    When I hit submit I lost about 1/2 of what I was going to send you. I will write you later.

  11. Bro. Szekely said

    Okay, Jeff…I’ll look forward to “the rest of the story” 🙂

    BTW: Just so you know…I too do not believe in infant baptism, and I’m glad to hear you denounce it as well.

    From what I’ve gathered from your partial reply, it sounds like you’ve had a bad experience in a Baptist church…and from what you’ve written, I’d have a hard time calling that charismatic confusion “Baptist”…no, it would be impossible for me to see it as a true, New Testament Baptist Church.

    Jeff, I’m just curious…besides lining up with the doctrines of grace, more or less as you’ve written, how would you define what you believe? What specific doctrines do you identify with, for example:
    1. Salvation, 2. Church, 3. Priesthood of the Believer, 4. Bible, etc.
    You don’t have to run through these, but I’d like to know “who you are”, or “where you stand” doctrinally…What church do you go to…things like that. It would help me a lot as we visit.

    I look forward to your reply!

  12. Jeff said

    Greetings,
    As I was saying before I was interrupted; “I have seen perfidious acts take place in the charismatic churches. Recently, these same events are being carried over to some of the Baptist ranks. Sir, I am not classifying all Baptist as being the same in their beliefs or actions. If they were all the same and on the same sheet of music there won’t be seventeen different flavors of Baptist, would they? I cannot be convinced a Baptist is a Baptist; a Reform Baptist and a Free-Will Baptist have what in common? I have had Baptist members (to include a Baptist Pastor) inform me that some within their ranks of their congregation are unregenerate (unsaved) as being members. Also, regardless, of the sign on a building not all in the ranks are the same.
    You also ask me if I adhere to the West Minster Confession and the belief of John MacArthur. Pastor MacArthur is a flawed man just like me. I am a believer in the Word of God alone; however, Pastor MacArthur does have some good sermons. I like Baptist Pastor James Merritt and his sermon (s) somewhat too, but does that make me adherent to TBN. I think not.
    I have nothing against Baptist. However, your question is somewhat loaded subjectively and a little bias. Let me ask you something, by your blanket question do you sir believe that all Baptist are the same?
    You ask what I believe in catagories; 1. The Word of God is absolute word for word. 2. Salvation is outlined by Ephesians 2:8 For by grace we are saved by faith. 3. I don’t believe every person that walks down the aisle is saved. I believe their fruits will witness for or against them. (Lord, Lord have I not…..) 4. I don’t believe every group of people with a sign on their building are of God, do you? Perhaps in your area you are not seeing changes within the Baptist ranks. I visited three Baptist churches, on several occasions to listen to what they were saying. Please allow me what was expelled from them; The first said, “We are trying to get our music just as contemporary as the charismatic’s, so we can be like them.” The second was injecting charismatic belief within the morning Bible study, such as Apostolic healings. The last I visited had a alter call, “Come up and so you can accept Jesus and make him Lord.” Us coming up or down or accepting Jesus or not does not make him Lord” ; I thought that he is/was already Lord.
    Have a great day.
    Jesus is Lord
    Jeff

  13. Bro. Szekely said

    G’day Jeff!

    Thank you for finishing out your thoughts…here’s a few of my own:

    1. You had said, “I cannot be convinced a Baptist is a Baptist”. That’s a good point – not many who name the name “Baptist” are Baptists. Are you a Baptist? Do you know what a Baptist is [doctrinally] supposed to be?
    –BTW: That “Baptist Pastor” who claims unregenerate members is not a Baptist doctrinally, for we Baptists are held to a regenerate church membership.

    2. I’m sorry if you think I asked you a loaded and bias question. It wasn’t meant to be. From reading my blog, you pretty much know what I believe…but I just didn’t know what YOU believed.
    –And by the examples that you’ve given with “Baptist” churches, I too would think…”apostacy”!
    –It’s sad, but true, Jeff…but not all churches who name the name “Baptist” are like what you’ve encountered…some who name the name “Baptist” are actually “Baptists”.

    Jeff again, I’d like to ask you – with no bias, but with all sincerity – how would you define yourself doctrinally? Do you have a church home?
    –I know you said “I am a believer in the Word of God alone”, but frankly and unfortunately today, that could mean a miriad of things to many different people…wouldn’t you agree?
    –So I’m not trying to be mean or somehow trip you up on something…I’d just like to know something more about you doctrinally.

  14. Jeff said

    Sir,
    1. I believe a Baptist (AnaBaptist) is not a Protestant. I believe that Baptist ranks were established within the 1st century and they were persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church when they refused to join their misguided ranks. I believe the Baptist were the first and true church to follow Jesus Christ. I believe that I am Baptist, which agrees with limited reform views but not all.
    I feel that a Pastor that has members of his flock that are unsaved has problem (why are they members?) and they should not be in any positions within the congregation. I believe in Baptism by immersion, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I believe baptism of the Holy Ghost t is at salvation. I believe that apostolic healing ended at 70AD with St. Paul in Rome. I believe that biblical tongues ended about 55AD according to Corinthians.

    2. Presently, I don’t have a home church. I study everyday at home and read my Bible. I believe it is better to stay home than go to a false church. I have been fellowshipping with a friend from Landmark Baptist. He too is also amazed on the numbers of Christians that do not recognize the Sovereignty of the Lord. I have been praying for a church, and I have decided to return to a Baptist Church as a child, but I have been somewhat disappointed with the last three, I visited. I went to a charismatic church in 2000, because I hadn’t been in church in years and I wrongly had in my mind that all churches were the same. I thought that Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ , Snake Handlers were all the same; after several years of intense studying I quickly gained understanding that I was absolutely wrong. I pray and repent each day, but I know in my life there is longing to fellowship with a church family. I won’t lie all people should go to church, the right church…..Nebraska may be different, but here in southern Oklahoma we are having problems. Also, I will be honest with you, this is why a lot of people are listening and reading Reform theology; regardless of their faults they do believe in the Sovereignty of God and have a godly zeal for God.

  15. Bro. Szekely said

    Jeff…thank you.

    I truly appreciate you letting me know “what you believe”. Most everything you mentioned I too am in agreement with. Where we would differ, for example, would be on the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. And if you’d ever want to know why I differ on this, please click on this post I’ve written: https://lbcpastor.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/holy-ghost-baptism

    But listen – I know we’re not going to agree on everything…but another thing I can wholeheartedly agree with you on is there’s a lack of reverence for God in Baptist pulpits and churches. You say it’s happening in Southern Oklahoma…and it’s happening in Nebraska! What I see is that pastors and churches are going about God’s work in a “business fashion”…so planned and programed out that they plan and program out the Spirit of God and the Power of God. They live for the “next exciting event” and pastors have lost their fire [if they ever had it!] as they’ve become CEOs instead of shepherds of God’s flocks. Success in the world’s eye has become their motivation…it’s the old “ABCs” = Attendance / Buildings / Cash, when the glory of God ought to be the motivation.

    I don’t have the world on a downhill tug, but this is what I’ve seen in my “neck of the woods”. Jeff, sometimes it isn’t good “out here”. Churches are “increased with goods and in need of nothing”. They may have “left their first love”, but whatever the case, please…please keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Do what our God says, no matter what is going on. Find a true, N.T. church – it won’t be perfect, and if you ever find a perfect one, don’t join it, because you’ll mess it up :). Don’t let others spoil your obedience and fellowship with God.

    Jeff, it’s been “real good” to have visited with you. I’ll pray for you in what you’re going through, and please pray for me to have that zeal and commitment for our Lord and Saviour.

    Thank you ~ Lord bless

  16. Five Point Baptist said

    Pastor Szekely, I respect very much the fact that your a brother in Christ and a pastor. I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of this doctrine. Truly understood, this doctrine is not one of works, but one based on the result of God’s salvation working within us

    Simply stated, this doctrine speaks to the issue of those who make professions of faith and then apostasize. According to this doctrine, those who make professions of faith and then permanently fall away from Christianity were never saved not because those who fall away were never saved (I Jn. 2:19).

    Jn. 8:31- …If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. (Assurance is conditional upon continuance)
    Heb. 10:38- Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. v. 39- But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition: but of them that believe (NOT WORKS) to the saving of the soul.
    Heb. 3:14- For we are made partakers of Christ (assurance), IF we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (perseverance).

    To say that you may fall away from the faith permanently after making a profession is to minimize the effects of salvation. If we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, He will keep us from falling. If we fall away, we were never sealed. This doctrine is a doctrine of assurance, not works.

    God Bless

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