In the Christian tribe of my upbringing, salvation was presented as a possibility rather than a reality, something uncertain from moment to moment and always up for grabs. Even godly believers with fruitful lives often approached their deaths in genuine fear that God would discover that they did not measure up and throw them into hell. The most confident among us taught that true believers were secure but that remaining a true believer depended finally on our own effort and strength of will. That still left us insecure since our marks so far in either category inspired very little confidence regarding the future.
I wish we had been given the balanced, biblical and pastorally-sensitive teaching contained in the recently-released book Our Secure Salvation: Preservation and Apostasy, written, as it happens, by my friend and co-author, gracEmail subscriber Robert A. Peterson (P&R Publishing, paper, 240 pages, 2009). In this thorough study, Peterson examines 18 New Testament passages that teach God’s preservation of his children and their perseverance in faith, followed by 24 New Testament warnings against apostasy.
Peterson admirably exposes the popular error of promising divine preservation apart from human perseverance, while ably refuting the opposite error of supposing that perseverance depends upon human power. God’s preservation is the invisible cause of our perseverance, Peterson rightly points out, and our perseverance is a visible fruit of God’s preservation.
Although Peterson is a thorough-going Calvinist and I am not, that is totally unimportant here. I reject as unbiblical the notion that God predestines anyone to damnation, or that anyone finally perishes solely because God chooses not to intervene on their behalf. Yet I joyfully embrace and affirm the truth that God is loving, powerful and faithful, and that he will finish what he begins. For more information about Our Secure Salvation or to order it at a discount, click here or go to christianbook.com and search by title.