perseverance of the saints

Saved, If Ye Keep in Memory? #2

Thursday, October 17, 2013

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1,2 KJV).

Although a stumbling block to many, today’s Scripture is not difficult to understand when we consider the context….

If not approached properly, today’s Scripture can be very confusing and troubling. In fact, some modern Bible translators, misled by denominational thinking, end up distorting the wording of today’s Scripture, thereby giving credence to the Calvinistic doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints,” the idea that we Christians must do our best to hold firm to Christian morality and behavior so we can be saved from hellfire and go to heaven.

In other words, Calvinists deny the Christian’s eternal security, and thus greatly emphasize our performance, which frustrates the grace of God (Galatians 2:21). Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 12:13-17, and 2 Peter 2:20-22 are some of “proof texts” of the Calvinist’s “perseverance of the saints.” Today’s Scripture is another misused verse in that regard, so it behooves us to settle the matter concerning today’s Scripture.

Let us begin by commenting that, over the last 2,000 years, Christendom has made countless false assumptions that have caused literally billions of people to completely miss profound teachings of the Scriptures. For example, the aforementioned Matthew 24:13—“He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”—is explained in verse 22 as physical salvation (“except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved”). This “salvation” is people physically surviving the horrors of the entire seven-year Tribulation period, and has nothing to do with us Christians in the Dispensation of Grace—Matthew 24:13 is not even discussing anyone’s soul salvation from hell anyway!

With that in mind, we now proceed to examining today’s Scripture within its context. The common assumption is that the “salvation” referenced in today’s Scripture is salvation from hellfire and salvation unto eternal life. Is this assumption valid? As we will see, nay, it is not a valid assumption….