The word for this week is 'perseverance'.
It's a word that is synonymous with steadfastness, patience, persistence. Its basic meaning is best understood--'to attend constantly'; 'to continue without swerving or wandering'; 'to adhere firmly'; 'to hold fast'. It is sticking to or sticking with something regardless of what the circumstances are or might appear to be.
Perseverance is necessary in the relationship of a Christ centered marriage as well as a Christ centered ministry because the Adversary continually seeks to undermine both with the temptation of 'instant' gratification. As a result, people hop in and out of marriage and hop in and out of church. Bouncing from one 'feel good' circumstance to another.
God provides what we need by His presence to overcome the tendency of the flesh that seeks to move to greener pasture when things get difficult. God does so by supplying grace upon grace that grows us where we're planted as the roots of faith are driven deeply during 'the drought' into the soil of His supply.
Biblical perseverance is simply daily dependence on Christ regardless of what we are facing, fearing, fleeing from or fighting against. Perseverance is a quality only found in a genuine believer and follower of Christ. It is initially a gift from God that guards the believer through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)
Therefore, those who are legitimately born of the Spirit, (born from above) will persevere. God guarantees it! (Philippains 1:6) In the process of God conforming the redeemed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29) the believer is drawn closer to God and away from the world system. And the church in which that believer is strategically placed becomes stronger, not weaker.
During a time when many in the church and the community are 'falling', perseverance is paramount. In some cases, a lack of perseverance reveals that the believer has fallen down and needs encouragement and assistance in getting up and going on in the journey. (Who of us cannot relate to that?) That is the ministry of the church in bearing the burdens of the brethren. (Galatians 6:2)
But a lack of perseverance can be evidence of an individual falling away from their definition of faith. That is a much different circumstance entirely. The Hebrew writer describes this individual as lost. (Hebrew 6:1-8) They were never legitimate to begin with. Human beings may become religious and even praise God in public BUT those who are never redeemed and reconciled to God personally cannot please God through faith. (Hebrews 11:6)
The Hebrew writer would go so far to say that any other interpretation, such as a person being able to lose the salvation that God provided as a gift through grace, must also include the belief that such a person can never be saved again.
God's word says 'that is impossible' to renew them again, (Hebrews 6:4-6) and when God, who makes all things possible says something is impossible, you and I would do well to believe it simply cannot happen.
To believe that a person may fall away from faith denies that Jesus' work of redemption was completed on the cross. Therefore, to believe that any person can be saved and then fall away or be lost again rejects the truth from the lips of Jesus when He said, 'It is finished'. (John 19:30) For all practical purposes, those who hold such belief call the Son of God a liar.
The only way possible for a person to be saved again after having fallen away from faith would require that Jesus have to return for a 'do over' because someone decided to deny their faith and return to the world system. That belief is little more than crucifying the Son of God over and over again!
Jesus' sacrifice for sin in offering His body both justifies and sanctifies 'once for all', (Hebrews 10:10) As a consequence, His blood saves to the uttermost those who come to God through Him. (Hebrews 9:25) And every person whose sin is covered by His blood is born again and will persevere because perseverance is based entirely and eternally on a promise from God to the believing sinner, not the 'on again-off again' practices of sinful people.
The Apostle John would reinforce the truth that perseverance is the evidence of genuine faith in (1 John 2:19-20) when he penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit--"they went out from us, but they were never of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out--(back to the world system) that they might be made manifest (revealed) that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know these things."
Two final scriptures; One from Jesus and the other from John. We draw inspiration to live as more than conquerors through Him today from both!
Jesus--"These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." (John 16:33)
John--"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith." (1 John 5:4)
Are you overcoming the world system consistently? Are you being overcome by 'it' continually?
The answers may well reveal more than most are comfortable with in this current culture.
When a believer stands on the promise of God in faith, that believer will persevere & overcome!
God guarantees it!
So endeavor to persevere and finish well the race set before you! God has something for you at the finish line. And it will be well worth any struggle and all the trouble encountered here!
God's best to each of you this week!
1 Corinthians 15:58