Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints

The Westminster Confession of Faith in Plain Language
1. No one who has been saved by the grace of God can completely fall away from that grace. Those who have been called, saved, and accepted by God through Jesus Christ and who have had their lives changed by the Holy Spirit will continue in their faith until the end of their lives. They are saved now and forever.

2. This “perseverance of the saints” doesn’t depend upon human strength and determination. It depends upon God’s free, loving, unchangeable, and eternal choice to save them, upon the Holy Spirit who dwells within them, upon the unfailing effectiveness of Jesus’ righteousness and intercession, and upon the fact that God always keeps his promises.

3. Unfortunately, believers can still fall into sin, sometimes for extended periods of time. The temptations of Satan, the world, and the power of the sin inside them can win out for a while, especially if they fail to take advantage of the weapons God gave them to fight back. Since this displeases God and grieves the Holy Spirit, they may lose some of the blessings and comforts of being a Christian. Their hearts may be hardened. They may struggle to tell right from wrong. They may hurt and embarrass others and bring earthly judgments upon themselves.

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