THE DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS (THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER)

OUR GREAT SALVATION (8)

During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints’ (The Eternal Security of the Believer). Her main text was taken from the Book of John 10:26-30.

THE DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS – DEFINED AND EXPLAINED

According to God’s Word, all true believers in Christ will persevere in the faith to the end of their lives because they are preserved by the sustaining grace of God. Because of the continuous gracious work of the Holy Spirit every child of God will endure in the faith until the end of his life. He will run the race of faith to the end and go to heaven. To persevere it means to continue in a course of action, be steadfast in purpose, despite difficulty, opposition, or discouragement. Other similar words  are persistence, endurance, and determination.

Perseverance of the saints is truly the perseverance of the Holy Spirit working in the saints. The Holy Spirit working in them is the secret of their perseverance. God works and perseveres inside so that the Christian can work out, manifest the fruits, of his salvation. Without the work of the Holy Spirit inside his heart, the Christian becomes weak and discouraged and not be able to endure to the end of his life. Your salvation is God’s plan and ‘pleasure’. Glory to God for our great salvation!  “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12, 13).

This doctrine was initially defined by the Church Fathers, like Augustine, but came to light fully during the Reformation. This doctrine brought the greatest joy to the believers. Because of it, many went to death with joy in their hearts!   

A child of God may backslide for a season, but God will restore His child back to Him before he dies. No child of God can totally fall from Grace, lose his salvation, or go to hell! Heaven, Eternal life, Salvation is sure to every child of God. This is the promise of the Father! And we believe it! The word ‘saint’ in Greek, means someone who is holy, separated unto God. According to the Bible, every genuine Christian, a born-again child of God is a saint. The word saint does not apply to a religious unbeliever or to some ‘special Christians’. This doctrine says that a child of God will continue to run the race by faith, will persevere against all hindrances, to the end of his life! God makes sure that his faith will not fail him until his last breath. This assurance of heaven is because salvation, from the beginning to the end, is God’s work. A believer is saved by Grace and thru Faith in Christ crucified and resurrected. This all-powerful holy chemistry of Grace and Faith works not only for Justification, but to the end of their lives, in the process of sanctification. Not only that the believer MUST end in faith, but that he WILL END IN FAITH! The doctrine is also called the eternal security of the believer. All those eternally elected by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit will finally be brought to sure salvation on the last day through the sovereign grace of God. All those who are chosen, called, and converted by God are kept by God for His glory!

THE DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS – HISTORY AND ARGUMENTS

The churches are divided concerning this doctrine. Some believe it and others reject it. It is easy to misinterpret this doctrine. Many oppose it. They refuse to preach it saying that if a believer is sure of ‘making heaven’ he will not repent of his sins and become spiritually careless, proud, and lazy. He will take the grace of God for granted. Apostle Paul had the same problem with the people who took God’s grace for granted. He said: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:1, 2). Over the centuries, many Christians have argued about this doctrine. Their most anxious questions are these: ‘Can a true believer in Christ lose his salvation? Can a child of God miss heaven and end in hell?’ These are extremely important questions to consider. About half of all Christians believe that a child of God can lose his salvation and end in hell. The other half, believes that a Christian may backslide for a season, but God will restore him to the right path and of necessity end his race in heaven.

The Roman Catholic Church totally rejects this doctrine. They believe that justification is secured thru the water baptism performed by the priest in the church. They say that this justification can be lost if the believer commits ‘mortal sins’ and fails to cooperate with the laws of the church (confessing of sins to the priest and the observing of penance deeds to atone for sins committed after the water baptism). They insist that no believer should boast of heaven. They call justification by grace and thru faith and the assurance of salvation we proclaim, presumption.

There are two famous theologians who strongly and openly argued about this doctrine. Each one has many followers. The first is John Calvin (1509-1564). He was a French theologian, pastor, and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He believed in the doctrines of the sovereignty of God in election, the depravity of man, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. He said that man is born spiritually dead. He cannot desire salvation. The only people who will be saved are the elect, those chosen by God before the foundation of the world. They alone respond to the effectual call of God. The Holy Spirit brings them to repentance and salvation. He said that salvation is only by grace and thru faith and the saints persevere to the end. This is because God is working in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. He said that a child of God can never lose his salvation because it is the gift of God, and it is irrevocable.    

The second famous theologian is a Dutch man called Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). He argued bitterly against the teachings of Calvin. He believed that man has a free will to repent of not. He believed that election is conditional. The faith of the believer determines his stand with God. He said: He believed that a man can be born again but thru sin, he can lose his salvation.  He believed that preservation is conditional: All believers have full assurance of salvation with the condition that they ‘remain’ in Christ. Therefore, perseverance is conditional. He said that all believers are graciously empowered by Christ and The Holy Spirit to overcome temptations, ‘to fight against Satan, sin, the world and their own flesh’. He said that the security of salvation is conditional, “provided they [believers] stand prepared for the battle, implore his help, and be not wanting to themselves, Christ preserves them from falling.” As you can see, Calvin exalted the Grace of God, and Arminius the faith of man!

Some of the most famous theologians and preachers in the world, John Knox, John Owen, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd Jones, David Livingstone, were all Calvinists in doctrine. George Whitefield said: “I embrace the Calvinistic scheme not because of Calvin, but Jesus Christ has thought it to me” Charles Spurgeon said: “There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless you preach what is now-a-days called Calvinism… Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else”.

John Wesley (the brother of Charles Wesley), who was the founder of Methodism, was Arminian in theology. William Seymour, the leader of Asuza Street revival, was Arminian too. These two men of God have influenced most of the Pentecostal churches at the present time. The most prominent among the denominations is ‘The Assembly of God’ churches, which are basically Arminian. All Presbyterian and Reformed churches are Calvinistic in theology! The Baptist, the Lutheran and the Charismatic Churches are split over these views.  It is important to say, that all these Christians agreed that a sinner needs to be born again to be saved. But they differ especially in the matter of assurance of salvation.

OUR TESTIMONY

As for us, we believe Calvin’s doctrines of Grace because it is more in line with the revelation in the scriptures. We do not follow men blindly. Calvin’s doctrines are not some additions to the Gospel. They stand as pillars of revelation concerning our salvation. But we are not ‘Calvinists’. We are ‘Christians’. It is important to say that you don’t need to know all the doctrines to be saved and go to heaven. But these doctrines help you to better understand God’s plan and purpose for your life, and to have greater peace of mind concerning your stand in Christ! By the Grace of God, convinced by the Word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit, we believe that a Child of God is eternally saved and cannot lose his salvation. Our confession, our faith, is not a matter or religious arguments. It is based on the personal revelation of God’s Word by the Holy Spirit. Truth may be hated but truth always wins! Be humble and encouraged as you study God’s Word for yourself!  May God open the eyes of your understanding to see the truth and to be set free from religious constricting man-made doctrines! I declare that it is well with your soul!     

THE DANGER OF APOSTASY

Christians have wondered why some abandon the faith and do not persevere to the end. This is a mystery! In Greek, the word apostasy means departure, or rebellion. It is a willful falling away from the faith, making mockery of the religious practices you once cherished. In the Muslim religion, apostasy is illegal and even punishable with death. In Christianity, apostasy is the rejection of the faith by someone who formerly was a Christian. It is a conscious abandonment of faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. These are some dangers that can lead a Christian to commit apostasy: temptations, deceptions, persecutions, worldliness, fears, and doubts. King Saul in the Old Testament and Judas Iscariot in the New Testament are good examples of apostasy. We need to pray for wisdom, strength to run the race to the end! Let us encourage one another in the faith! “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb 2:1-4).

We should examine our doctrines and lives! These must be in line with the Holy Spirit revelation!  “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue (persevere) in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:1, 2, 12-15). This is a spiritual law: as you make spiritual progress, others will follow you! Amen!

YOUR FATHER’S GRIP IS STRONGER THAN ALL – ETERNAL SALVATION IS SURE FOR GOD’S CHILDREN

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:26-30)

The words of our Lord are the most powerful argument to believe that eternal salvation is sure for all true children of God. Here, our Lord reveals the plan and the purpose of God concerning our salvation. First, He separates His ‘sheep’ from others. The believers are called ‘My Sheep’. The religious unbelievers who reject Him are not ‘My Sheep’. This clearly proves the doctrine of election. The unbelievers reject Christ. But they are not excused for their sin of unbelief. They shall be judged for it at the last judgment. Here you see that our salvation is by Grace alone. This holy work is done by the Holy Spirit alone. The Holy Spirit plants the gift of faith in the elect. Thru this faith the sinner believes in the Gospel.  It is not that his faith saves him. It is Christ who saves him, by His Grace, thru His death and resurrection. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:8, 9). Salvation is a miracle, the free gift of God given only to the elect. It is free but it is not cheap. Christ’ Blood shed on the Cross is the price for our standing before God.

Look at the major doctrines of grace in these scriptures.

*Divine election is by grace – “My sheep…My Father has given them to Me”

*Effectual calling: – “My sheep hear My voice”

*Justification – “I know My Sheep!”

*Sanctification – “My Sheep follow Me”

*Glorification, perseverance, and assurance of salvation – “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish! No one is able to snatch them out of My hand and out of My Father’s Hand! My Father is greater than all!”  God’s grip is stronger than any other power!

Faith has good hands, good ears, and good feet! Faith has good hands and says: ‘I receive!’ Faith receives the Gift of salvation offered by Christ! Faith does not doubt or argue but receives the truth! Faith has good ears and says: ‘I listen!’ The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd. “So, faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ” (Rom 10:17; AMP). Faith has good feet and says: ‘I obey and follow!’ Faith follows Christ from earth to heaven!

The words of our Savior are so clear. It is hard to understand why some Christians believe that you can work your way to heaven, and that you can lose your salvation. Read these words again and worship your Savior: “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish”. For those who say you can lose your salvation, they have not received the revelation of truth. Eternal life is free and by Grace alone. The life you receive when you become born again is ETERNAL LIFE! It is not a temporary life that can end or be lost on the way to heaven. Eternal life is a true gift from God. God never makes mistakes. He does not take back His gifts. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call]” (Rom 11:29; AMP). If by His Grace God chooses to give you eternal life, then you cannot lose it. God knows the end from the beginning. Falling into sin in the future cannot destroy the eternal gift He gave to you! Backsliding has sad consequences. A Christian loses peace of mind, the joy of his salvation, fellowship with the brethren, opportunities for ministry and rewards. But he cannot lose his salvation. In this life, thru trials, and temptations, we lose strength, friends, possessions, social status, or money. But one thing is sure: You cannot lose your salvation! If you worked for it, salvation is like payment. If you merit it, salvation is like a reward. But salvation is not payment, and it is not a reward. It is the free eternal gift of God, because of the sacrifice of His Son, who died that you may live! Nobody can ‘snatch’ you out from the Hand of the Father! Even you, cannot snatch yourself out form the hand of your Father! For He is the Greatest of all! Halleluiah!     

Sin keeps in bondage. The Word of God received and believed makes free from sin. Never forget! There are many slaves, hirelings, and workers in a house. They come and they go. But the children of the King abide in that family forever. A son may backslide for a season, but a son will come back to his father. He can never become a slave to the devil again. This is our confidence! “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn 8:34-36)

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE SHALL BE ABLE TO PERSEVERE TO THE END? Our confidence rests fully in God’s Word!

*We are saved eternally because it is God’s sovereign Will and eternal Plan!

It is not your will! God wishes, He desires, that all men should receive the truth and be saved (1 Tim 2:4). But HE WILLS to save only the elect. God’s will must always be done! Salvation is God’s idea and not man’s idea. The same God who foreknew, called, and justified us, will also glorify us. He will sustain us to the end. The saints persevere to the end because God sovereignly chose them to be eternally saved. “Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:30). All these verbs are in the past tense. In the will of God, those He predestined are already glorified! It means that we already live in heaven! I repeat: God’s will and plan can never fail!

Apostle Paul said: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). This is a spiritual law: whatever God starts, He finishes it! God is not like man. He does not have ‘half completed’ projects. Just examine your heart and see: has God ‘started’ anything of eternal value in your soul? Then your salvation is sure! Heaven is your home!

*We are saved eternally because of God’s sovereign Grace and God’s free Love!

God’s Grace is unmerited favor to sinners He chooses to save. God’s Love is free. We did not do anything to earn God’s love. He loves us freely because of who He is, and because of what Christ has done, not because of what we have done. If we think that God loves us because of what we have done for him, we shall never have peace. Our lives will be in constant anxiety and fear of failure. Because we know that God loves us freely for Christ’ sake, we should relax in His love. God’s love never changes. God does not love you more today because you behaved well. God does not love you less because you disobeyed. God loves you every day the same! That is our confidence of heaven! It is not free will. It is free Grace! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39)

*We are saved eternally because of Christ’ merit!

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). This is the greatest exchange. When the Father looks at you, He sees you covered by Christ. All your sins are taken by Christ. Your life is hidden in Christ. Christ is your life, your righteousness. Therefore, you cannot lose your salvation. For you to lose your salvation He has to say this: “I am taken My Son’s righteousness back and I give back to you your sins. That is not possible!  

*We are saved eternally because it is the promise of Jesus that we shall be with Him in heaven!

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:1-3)

*We are saved eternally because of our eternal union with Christ

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom 6:3-5)

Water baptism is a picture of our union with Christ. We die and rise with Christ. Jesus’ death becomes your death. Jesus’ resurrection becomes your resurrection.

*We are saved eternally because His Spirit has sealed us, and it is God’s guarantee for His sure salvation

The Holy Spirit has anointed you and sealed you for final salvation. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is the guarantee for your total salvation. A guarantee is defined a deposit paid in advance until the total purchase is made. “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor 1:20-22). “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:13, 14). The Holy Spirit is in you already and He will be with you forever! “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (Jn 14:16). Never doubt Him!

*We are saved eternally because God’s own seed abides in us.  

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:8, 9). A child of God may fall into sin, but he cannot continue in sin for too long. In the past, like a pig, the sinner loved staying in the mud. After he is saved, he hates that ‘mud’. The Holy Spirit in him will remind him that he does not belong to the ‘mud’. He will repent, will rise, start to run, and finish the race! This is another picture: Let’s say as a young girl, you worked as a waitress in a restaurant. You dress with the uniform provided. Your boss, the owner of the restaurant orders you to serve the clients. One day, you resigned from that job. Many years later, you go to that restaurant with your husband and children to eat. The former boss cannot tell you to dress in your old uniform to serve the clients. Now, he must serve you at the table. The position has changed! God’s seed is growing in you and your testimony is sure!

*The nature of the New Covenant of Grace

If you are a believer, you are a part of the new covenant of Grace. You do not longer belong to the old covenant of the Law. God’s laws were good. The Law covenant was holy. But because their heart was sinful, the people broke God’s law. The new covenant is different. It will change your heart. It is internal. It is the work of Grace! Now, you will desire to obey. It is in unbreakable covenant with an eternal promise of salvation!

 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer 31:31-34).

“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ (Jer 32:38-41). God’s puts His fear in you so that even when you stumble and fall, but you will not totally ‘depart’ from God! God’s unfailing grace anchored you eternally in the purpose of God. For you to lose your salvation God must destroy the work He has done in your heart. He must take away His Spirit from you. And that is not possible!

*We are saved eternally because Christ is our eternal Intercessor who prays for us

In the Old Testament, the High Priest, had 12 stones on His breastplate. On them, there were the 12 names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Now, Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has our names written on His heart. Christ always prays for you and His prayers are always answered. “Therefore, He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God]” (Heb 7:25; AMP). Christ is able to save you forever! Why? Because He lives forever to intercede for us. It is His prayer for our perseverance that keeps us to the end.

JESUS INTERCEDES FOR PETER

Just before the Cross, Jesus Predicted Peter’s Denial. “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me”  (Luke 22:31-34).

That night Judas betrayed Jesus. He was arrested. It was a terrible night. Jesus said that it was ‘the hour and the power of darkness’ (Lk 22:53). In that dark hour, Judas’s soul was lost. Satan wanted Peter too, but he failed to drag him to perdition. Why? It is because Jesus kept Him thru His prayers so that Peter’s faith will not fail. That night, Satan almost won Peter’s soul. Peter stumbled badly. He denied his Savior three times. But Jesus has prayed for Peter and Satan has lost the battle for Peter’s soul. Jesus’ Prayers for Peter prevailed. Jesus persevered on behalf of Peter. When the rooster crowed Peter remembered His Savior’s words and wept bitterly (Lk 22:54-62).  As you know, Peter repented. Peter turned back to the Lord. He became the mighty Apostle Peter who died as a martyr for Jesus. He came back from his terrible fall and obeyed the command of Jesus to strengthen the brethren. He does that even today, thru his words in the New Testament. As you can see, our eternal salvation does not depend on us. It depends on the faithful and powerful prayers of Jesus, our Great High Priest and Intercessor!

FINALLY…

Dear Child of God, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints should not make you careless with your soul. You need to pay the price for spiritual maturity. You need to study God’s Word, fast, and pray, and attend your local church to have fellowship with the brethren. The devil is real, and he is an enemy. He cannot drag you to hell, but he will try to spoil your testimony as a servant of God.  

Now, this is a word of encouragement for the children of God who still struggle with doubts concerning their eternal salvation. As you can see, no man can convince you. Study God’s Word and pray for personal revelation. For a child of God to lose his salvation and go to hell, God must deny His Word. God must do the following: He changes His eternal will, plan, and purpose for you! He stops loving you. His Grace will be lacking, not be sufficient for your salvation. God has to say: “I am taking the imputed righteous of My Son from you and I give you back your sins!” If the life of Jesus is in you, you are married to Christ. What God has joined together let not man separate. For you to lose your salvation, the Father must separate you from Christ. He must remove the seal and the guarantee of the Holy Spirit given to you! He needs to break His promises to you in Christ! The Father will not do that! I am “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Perseverance does not mean I do not fall into sin. I fall and rise again! For you to lose your salvation Jesus must stop praying for you or the Father decides not to answer the prayers of Jesus. Both these two possibilities can never happen! Is this not the most wonderful, good news? Do you need more persuasion? Then pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit of hope! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen!” (Jude 1:24, 25). Worship the Lord!

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