"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Q: Briefly state your current understanding of the doctrines of election and perseverance. How have the readings this week challenged your presuppositions about these themes?
The doctrines of election and perseverance are some of the most debated topics of the New Testament Scriptures that a believer may come across. These topics are debated because they are based solely on the way that the Scriptures are interpreted. Many times as believers, we adopt the doctrines of our current home church, our parents teachings, or possibly even come to a conclusion based on our own assumptions and beliefs. Regardless of how we reach those conclusions, we should adequately understand how we reached them, how the elements of those beliefs work, and we should also be able to accurately defend our doctrines.
The doctrine of election can be explained simply by stating that it is the method by which God pre-chooses us as believers or unbelievers. The doctrine of election holds to the truth that God chooses or does not choose individuals to have faith or receive salvation. How you view this doctrine is usually seen through two views of theology or Salvation, that is Arminianism and Calvinism. Arminians believe that salvation is a choice. Our text by Beth Jones best describes it by saying, “a gift of grace from God that comes before us, preceding anything we do- was for all people, not only the elect”. She also states how Arminianism gives grace the flexibility that, “enables sinners to respond to God if we do not resist his grace.”Calvinists believe that God chooses us and that we were pre-selected for His grace and salvation. Jones explains it as “priority and sovereignty of God’s grace by emphasizing God as the sole agent of salvation.”
The doctrine of perseverance also known as “perseverance of the saints”, “once saved always saved”, and many more all deal with the duration of salvation. This doctrine emphasizes that one a person is truly saved or “born again”, that they will maintain their salvation for life. Scriptures such as Jude 24 and John 10:28-29 seem to help support this doctrinal view, but there are others which seem to show us that a person can lose their salvation such as Galatians 5:1-4 where Paul explains how we can fall from grace by running back to the Law. 2 Peter 3:17 shows us that we can “fall from our secure position”. We are also told that we can be “condemned” by James 5:12.
As a Pentecostal Holiness adherent, I am a serious believer in our ability as carnal humans to backslide out of salvation. I have known many church members over the years who have been saved, but find themselves in sinful habits who say they know they are headed for Hell. I also know others who say that they had “backslidden”, were on their way to Hell, but have now been saved again. I believe this is why Jesus gives us the message of Luke 11:27. A born again believer should not be plagued by the same demons of Hell that should be cast out at salvation, but a backslidden believer is susceptible to those demons. This allows him to bring in as the scriptures tell us “seven other spirits” than there were before. I tend to be Arminian in my view of Soteriology as I feel that although God has foreknowledge of who will chose His grace, it is ultimately up to us as Jesus died for every man upon that Cross of Calvary. Our text does not change any opinion or belief I have in these matters as none of our text are equivalent to the Word of God. I understand that there may be Scriptures which do not seem to support this view, but there are also many that do which I mentioned. The truth is that God’s Word warns us of being “luke-warm” and having one foot in the church and one out. If we so choose to live our lives on the edge as to require the Lord to decide if we are deserving of salvation by pure admission or our faith, then where is our fruit? If there is no proof that we are saved by grace and forgiven of our sins, why do we have no proof of this other than a covenant of perseverance? I do not want to walk a fine line of teeter totting between salvation and damnation, but rather seal my fate with true faith in Christ and a life to prove it. Many areas of Soteriology overlap at this point, but I believe that sanctification plays a large part in determining if a Christian is really who they proclaim to be. Although I am open to discussion with all fellow believers, no text can ever change what the Word of God has already pointed out to us all. I also go into detail regarding this subject in a blog post I made last year that I wrote during my bachelor’s degree program at http://www.salvationscall.org/blog/is-there-such-a-thing-as-eternal-security.
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 155
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. 155
 Ibid, 154.