John 3:16 Conference Ken Keathley – Perseverance of the Saints

Quote from I.H Marshall
– 2 Tim. 1:12 – Two components
– One is presently saved – you can know that you are saved
– One who in a state of grace will remain in the state of grace –>This is the perseverance

What is the basis for assurance?

Asahel Nettleton says “I think it possible I may get to heaven.”

– Quotes D.A. Carson WTJ. 54. 21.
– “Arminianism and Calvinism meet in strange and sad ways.”

Three views on knowing if we are genuinely saved?

Roman Catholic: Assurance is not possible; Canon 15 at the Council of Trent; Catholics believe that one has to receive special revelation from God to know that one is saved

The Reformers: Assurance is the essence of faith – the very nature of conversion and regeneration is assurance of saving faith; quotes Luther “even if I am feeble in faith…And in him we have all, whether we hold it with a weak faith or strong faith.”

Problems: Reformers taught these:
– The decrees of election and reprobation within God’s hidden will.
– The doctrine of limited atonement
– The doctrine of temporary faith

The Puritans:
– Assurance is logically deduced.
– There is a debate if the Puritans misunderstood Calvin.
– Puritans considered godliness to be the basis for assurance of salvation.
– The pastoral consequence if the struggle for assurance.
– The anxiety about assurance within post-Reformation Calvinism and Puritanism
– Theo. Beza’s doctrine of temporary faith
– Attributed this false, temporary faith to the work of the HS.
– Why? God gives temporary faith to the reprobate is so that “their fall might be more grievous” (Do contemp. Reformers still believe Beza’s theology?)
– Supralapsarianism: God eternally hates some! God ordains the fall in order to bring about the damning of the reprobate

William Perkins: The Golden Chain of Redemption
– Five stages
– The quest for assurance is to dive into one’s own heart.
– Supralapsarian
– There’s a calling that is not effectual.
– How is a person truly saved? If he holds out faithful until the end.
– After writing thousand of pages about assurance.; perkins dies w/out confidence of his salvation

R.T. Kendall quote (Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649)
– The practical syllogism – If effectual grace is manifested in me by good works, then I am elect
– The mystical syllogism – if I experience the inward confirmation of the spirit, then I am elect.

How do I know if I will remain saved?
– Non-elect believers fall – Augustine
– Apostasy is possible (On the Gift of Perseverance)
– Non-persevering believers fall – Dale Moody
– Eternal life is the life of those who continue to follow Jesus.

Implicit universalism – Barth
– Apostasy is not possible
– Error when doctrine begins w/Christ and ends w/man
– The reprobate are those who are in Christ but just don’t know it.
– Once saved, always saved – Grace evangelical society
– Assurance comes by trusting promises of the word of God and manifesting the fruits of salvation.

Three criticisms
– It either ignores or explains always the meaning of the warning passages
– It encourages laxity in Christian commitment
– It gives false comfort to

Three responses
– The bible proved plenty of motivation for Christian service w/out threatening the believer w/eternal damnation.
– Test of genuineness – demarest. Perseverance of the Saints – like the flu “I can’t see the flue, but a person may have symptoms.” Agrees w/once saved and always saved.
– Based on God’s promises that He will complete his work of salvation in the individual believer.

What about the warning passages?
They serve as a litmus test. Believers will show their true colors.

– Irreconcilable tension – D.A. Carson. Apostasy is threatened, but not possible.

Means of salvation – Schreiner and Canaday.

—-Thanks to Matt for the above notes in my absence—-

Prodigal Son story by Vines – everyone ends up at their father’s house whether that is a pig going home to the mud or believers going to the Father.

Thom Schreiner – admires, but disagrees with him on preserverance where Schriener sounds like he’s saying you can lose your salvation. The warning passages talk about conceivable consequences rather than possible ones. The warnings make you continue so you won’t fall away. I.e. threats ensure assurance and confidence.

This is based on the now/not yet tension. He agrees in a sense. Calvinists say that we are declared just because we persevere and there is no other prize but salvation.

In 1 Cor. 9:27, was Paul concerned that he might end up in hell? Schreiner and Cannady say, “yes.” Then this really undermines the assurance of salvation.

What happens to those who don’t persevere? Claims this come very, very close to a works based salvation? What happened to sola fide? Schreiner – “Works are necessary to be saved.” This is not close to Trent this is Trent.

Four great truths of assurance of salvation – We need to be back to sola fide.

1.Only basis for assurance is the objective work of Christ. Any model that begins with Christ and ends with man is doomed to failure. The basis of assurance is the same basis as salvation itself, Jesus and Him alone.

2. Assurance is the essence of saving faith. Works provide warrant, but are not a basis for assurance. Works are the buttress, but Christ and His works the foundation. Perseverance should be understood as the faith that cannot be annihilated.

3. There are rewards aside from just salvation.

He closes from a qoute from Calvin on knowing how he is elect.  Calvin said that Christ is more than a thousand testimonies to me.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 a helmet November 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

–What is the basis for assurance?–

“This is eternal life that they may know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Eternal life is the knowledge of the truth (=imperishable fruit = nourishment for everlasting life)

The fruit does never decrease nor deteriorate. It is the knowledge of truth that is irresistible. How could it be tackled? Only by information that seems to be “truer”. But that’s not possible or else the supposed truth wouldn’t be true at all to begin with.

Note, knowledge is a matter of the head. It is understanding. It is clarity and comprehension. No mysterious element here!

God reveals knowledge via the LOGOS (the word = Christ) only. The logos also means reason, it is clarity and comprehension. God doesn’t work with inscrutabilities!! Thus no mysterious elements at all!

The basis for assurance put another way:

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. ” (1 John 5:11)

Note, the one who gives eternal life is the I AM. Eternal life is knowledge of the truth (Jn. 17:3) and knowledge is spirit — it is the testimony, that is, IT IS THE ASSURANCE.

Put another way:
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

Note, light = sight = knowledge, understanding = life.

So the basis for assurance is the knowledge of the truth.

Ah, concerning “God’s hidden will”:

God’s once hidden will has been made known. A will made known is no longer hidden. Christ gives the FULLNESS of the spirit (knowledge of truth). Not some of it, but the fulness of the spirit. There is no hidden will of God. Note, all transcendece and unknowabiltiy is already judged!

Kehrhelm “a helmet” Kröger

2 Dr. James Willingham January 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm

O my poor aching head. I have read and studied these doctrines for more than a half century. None of it is easy. All of it is exceedingly complex in the midst of utter simplicity. But in the end it is worthwhile, utterly worthwhile, because God stretches our minds and faith by it. I have a sermon on David’s Great Sins, Adultery and Murder, and it is titled, “Payday – Today.” Yup! It is a take off on R.G. Lee’s “Payday Someday.” E. J. Daniels published in his Christ for the World Messenger in the Fall of ’64. He also published it in a book of my sermons, A Dynamic Gospel for A Dynamic Age (Orlando, Christ For the World Pubs., 1965). The price tha a saint pays for a sin ain’t hardly worth it. I mean the misery for sin and failure are excruciating. And yet God continued to use David. All of these legalistic Pharisees who believe the Bible today and come down so hard on marital failures and cut them off from service in the church never cut David and his writings out of the Bible. Ah, consistent how rare thou art!


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