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About Doctrines

Perseverance



Perseverance is the concept of holding on to your faith, of bearing up under your trials. Many of the writers of the New Testament view the walk of faith as a long distance race. The length of the race comes from the need to run your entire life. This is a difficult process at times, so the idea of enduring and persevering are important. As important as the initial sprint of joy following your salvation experience may be, the task God has set before you is to endure until the end. This takes stamina. And stamina comes from building your faith.

This building of your faith produces a godly character. The walk of faith is the walk of becoming more and more Christlike as we deal with the daily battles of life. We are called upon to follow Jesus as our example (1 Peter 2:21). If we continue to abide with Christ, we will produce the fruit of righteousness God desires us to have. Paul says that this character being produced in us will produce the hope he has previously discussed. It is the Christian character that looks forward to the hope of glory.

Peter's letters contain the same thoughts. Peter's sequence is slightly different than Paul's, but it contains the same ideas. "5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-8). Peter emphasizes the character before the results. Virtue, knowledge, and self-control are all parts of character. Virtue is the display of righteousness to other men. Knowledge is God's Word at work in our heart, habits, and actions. Self-control is the patience James speaks about. We need to look to repaying all men with good. Consider, the Words of Jesus as the backdrop for patience and good deeds.

Matthew 5:43-48
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

This is the summation of all we have been considering in these two verses. We must consider our trials and tribulations as the same as loving our enemies. We must strive to become perfect. We must rejoice in the walk toward the hope of glory.

To return once more to Peter, he writes about the effort in this fashion.

1 Peter 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.

James tells us to rejoice. Peter tells us to greatly rejoice. Paul tells us to glory in tribulation. To one with a world view of life, this seems pretty strange, but as Peter puts it, the genuineness of our faith is the most precious thing we have. It will ultimately lead to the salvation of our souls, or as Paul puts it, to the hope of glory.

We need to remember that rejoicing in tribulation only works when we respond properly. This is the growth of sanctification.

Scriptures are from the NKJV unless noted

 

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July 23, 2018

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