Holding on While Being Held

Day 12 - April 4 / Pastor Scott Winchester

1 Peter 1:4b.-5

We started off this week by reading Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” This verse is a good support for the doctrine of preservation, or what we commonly call “perseverance of the saints.” For those who have hung around Reformed circles for any length of time, you should recognize this as the “P” in the Calvinistic acronym T.U.L.I.P.

Simply put, it means that God determined, began, is preserving, and will bring to completion your salvation. That’s what the apostle Peter means when he says we “are being guarded through faith” for the full revealing of our salvation. This is the homecoming we’re all yearning for. And we’re being guarded “by God’s power.” The Westminster Confession of Faith 17.2 says that “this perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.” Mic drop, please.

But there is certainly another aspect of our perseverance, which is to press on and hold on. That same chapter of the Confession tells us that we do great harm to ourselves by neglecting the means of our perseverance. These include the basics of Christian disciplines, which we’ve considered earlier this week: Word, sacrament, prayer, fellowship. Right now, COVID-19 keeps us from enjoying some of these, at least fully. So do what you can, remembering that these things are means of grace, not works. Saints…we don’t bring as much to the table as we think we do; we never have. It is God who is our fortress and defender, not our (rightfully owed) obedience to him.

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20–21).

Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for his strength and power
  • Confess your misuse of, or misplaced trust in, the means of grace. Conversely, confess your lack of pressing on using those same means.
  • Give God thanks that the obedience he requires is not to satisfy divine justice, but to bring him glory and to benefit our lives greatly
  • Ask God to grant you an “improvement” in a certain area of spiritual disciplines during this time, such as praying more intently, being more deliberate in reaching out to your fellow churchmen, or reading the Bible with more purpose

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