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Fellow ship > He That Endureth to the End Shall Be Saved- Or, The Biblical Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints by Tom Stewart

He That Endureth to the End Shall Be Saved

Or, The Biblical Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints
Or, Endurance is Necessary for Eternal Salvation

"And ye shall be hated of all men for My Name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved"

(Matthew 10:22).

by Tom Stewart


Those are stern Words, especially to those who are ready to confess faith in Jesus Christ or who have already confessed that they have trusted Jesus Christ for Eternal Salvation.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). You may ask, "Don't you believe in the Eternal Security of the Believer?" Most certainly, I do. "And I give unto them Eternal Life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand" (John 10:28). But, we are nowhere to confuse the Security of the Believer with the Insecurity that Rightfully Belongs to ANY Sinner. "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" (1John 3:6). The self-deception of sin persuades the one who professes to know Jesus Christ that they have already been saved, even though they presently continue in unrepented sin. "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (1John 3:10).

Who Then Can Be Saved?

Faith, repentance, and confession... one, two, three... Is that all that is required to be saved? What about water baptism? Is it necessary to be baptized to become a Christian? Not necessarily, or else how did the penitent-but-unbaptized thief on the cross receive the assurance from the LORD Jesus, "To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)? But, for those who do have opportunity, Believer's Baptism is COMMANDED by our LORD and necessary for all those who would confess that Jesus is both LORD and Savior. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). And also, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19).

If we are saved by grace through faith, aren't all conditions that go beyond simple faith, adding works to Salvation? No.
"8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). All conditions for Salvation must be consistent with grace through faith, or they are the "works of the Law". "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2). Since Evangelical Faith is simply receiving the Unmerited, Free Grace of God, any action by one who has truly received that grace, must be a demonstration of True Faith. "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18). Or, it can be said that all works that can be properly connected to Salvation are part of Saving Faith. "He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life: and he that believeth [literally, obeys] not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).

Whatever and whenever the Spirit of God draws attention to any given condition to be fulfilled for Evangelical Salvation, it becomes a real part of Saving Faith, for example:

Remember the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have Eternal Life?" (Matthew 19:16). He obviously viewed himself as having kept the Law; and thus, accepted by God. However, the LORD Jesus knew better and met the rich young ruler's misconception with the piercing command, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow Me" (Matthew 19:21). Realizing that the young man loved his riches more than he loved God, the LORD had to demonstrate that whatever stands in the way of complete submission of our heart and lives to God must be given up for us to be saved. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (16:26). Even if the thing to be relinquished is humanly difficult, Gospel Faith will be-- first of all-- demonstrated by a willing heart, before any attempted action. "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not" (2Corinthians 8:12).

He That Endureth to the End

In our enthusiasm to promote God's Simple Plan of Salvation, we have made anathema any suggestion that the Scripture demands anything beyond the simple requirement to believe.
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?" (James 2:14). The desire to protect Gospel Salvation from the Judaizers, who wrongly made the keeping of the Ceremonial Law of the Old Testament necessary for Salvation-- "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1)-- has caused the Gospel requirement of persevering in faith, continuing in Christ, holding fast our confidence in Christ, or enduring to the end, to be laid aside from the claims of the Primitive Gospel. "We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14).

If the repentance that brings Salvation is solely the work of man, then we can glory in saving ourselves. But, it is not. Though repentance is a necessary condition of Salvation, men never do repent unless God grants it to them.
"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth" (2Timothy 2:25). Similarly, if the faith that saves us is simply a demonstration of sheer human will power, then we can rightfully take credit for our own salvation. But, faith is not simply the product of man's will. Though man is commanded to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ in order to be saved, men will never believe without the Holy Spirit working it in them. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Also,

Persevering to the end is part of Saving Faith; and therefore, it is a condition of Eternal Salvation. "And ye shall be hated of all men for My Name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mark 13:13). Holding fast our faith (or, "confidence") is the same as enduring. "But Christ as a Son over His own house; Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Hebrews 3:6). Continuing in the faith is not optional to those who will partake of the Saints' Inheritance. "12 Giving thanks unto the Father, Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in Light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son: 14 In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins... 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under Heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister" (Colossians 1:12-14, 23).

Unfortunately, the misunderstanding of the nature of Gospel Faith has caused many in the Evangelical Community to adamantly maintain that Eternal Salvation is in opposition to any works, such as enduring to the end.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). Truly, since any attempt to save ourselves (apart from turning in faith to the LORD Jesus Christ), is negatively, "works of righteousness which we have done", then those works must be rejected as Filthy Rags Righteousness. "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). But, Gospel Faith cannot be separated from the works of faith, such as enduring to the end or overcoming the world. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith" (1John 5:4). And properly, all the works of faith are a part of and conditions for Gospel Salvation. "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [the passive, intellectual perception of the Truth that even the devils have], and have not works? can faith [the antinomian belief that cries out against any works] save him? 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:14,19). Also,

The faith that believes that it is not necessary to endure to the end as a condition of Eternal Salvation prepares the Church for the Apostasy or Falling Away of the End Times. "1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the Day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2Thessalonians 2:1-3). A cardinal tenet of faith is: "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29). And, if we allow and prepare ourselves to fall away from the faith-- ever so briefly-- we will fall away! "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7).

Just the opposite is true for those who would
"continue in the faith" (Colossians 1:23). Those who do not "give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27), will not grieve the Spirit by believing the lie that they may not cease to endure to the end. "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (4:30). Not only is it necessary for the Saints to endure or persevere to the end; but at the same time, both the Father and the Son have promised to preserve those who "continue in the faith". "28 And I give unto them Eternal Life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. 29 My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand" (John 10:28-29). This relationship where the Saints Endure While God Preserves was best expressed by the LORD Jesus: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17).

How to Endure to the End

If God never gives an impossible, grievous, or burdensome command, then the very fact that we have been commanded to "have faith in God" is the highest proof that it is possible. "For this is the Love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous [literally, burdensome]" (1John 5:3). And, if it is possible to begin with faith, then it is possible to continue in faith. " present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel" (Colossians 1:22-23). If the God of Love has wisely designed His vast system of Salvation to draw us "with bands of Love" (Hosea 11:4), then anyone who is ever saved, must be saved by the Love of God. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life" (John 3:16). Our "obedience of faith" (Romans 16:26) is a necessary condition of Salvation, but it is the fulfillment of the New Covenant that God gives us a new heart that causes us to walk in His Statutes. "26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
"He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). If the Spirit of Truth can only show us how this mighty act can be accomplished, even before we are translated into His presence and transformed into His likeness at His Coming for us, we would be truly humbled before Him. "He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Philippians 3:21). The plague of sin and sinning shall not come nigh us when we dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. "1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty... 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" (Psalm 91:1,10).

The LORD Jesus taught us this truth of abiding, which is the key to enduring to the end.
"5 I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:5-6). Abiding or enduring in Christ causes us to walk in holiness. "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" (1John 3:6). In fact, it is impossible to be both abiding or enduring in Christ and sinning at the same time! "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13).
"Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great And Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4). We underestimate the Covenant Keeping God, when we relegate the Promises of the New Covenant to some future time, i.e., Heaven only, or with Israel only. "31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The very argument of the New Testament Book of Hebrews is that the LORD Jesus Christ brought in the New Covenant by His death on the Cross.
"19 For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a Better Hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God... 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a Better Testament" (Hebrews 7:19,22). And, if the New Covenant guarantees the Believer that he no longer needs to be a slave of sin, then why does the Church spend so much time moaning under the load of a multitude of sins? "1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same Mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" (1Peter 4:1-2). Remember, we are not the servants of God when we obey sin. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16).

Again, if the Spirit can only reveal it to us, we could see that
"all the Promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen" (2Corinthians 1:20). This makes the certainty that the LORD will deliver us from the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1) so immediately real that we could not imagine ourselves ever dwelling in sin. Of course, that state of mind can only be maintained while we abide in His Word. "1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep His Testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways" (Psalm 119:1-3). While we are abiding in the Promises of His Word, would it not be prudent to plead the Promises that He would preserve us in His holiness? "Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me" (Psalm 119:133). If we are those who believe in the grace of God, then it will be demonstrated by our dominion over sin-- and not sin's dominion over us. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace" (Romans 6:14).
"Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24). The very essence of God is Love. "And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1John 4:16). Our Eternal Salvation is based upon the foundation of the Love of God. "Herein is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin" (1John 4:10) and, that Love is a hallmark of God's character. "But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His Great Love wherewith He loved us" (Ephesians 2:4). Love was the motivation for God to reclaim us from our sins. "Behold, what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not" (1John 3:1). Likewise, our motivation to Love God is because He loved us. "We Love Him, because He first loved us" (1John 4:19).

Love is the motivation to endure to the end, but faith is the means to carry it out.
"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by Love" (Galatians 5:6). Faith or confidence in the character of God is the only thing we can do to please God. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). How can we ever mature without an ever increasing confidence in the character of God? And, how can we increase in confidence, if we do not persevere? "If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established" (Isaiah 7:9). Considering what the LORD Jesus did for us on the Cross, how can we justify sinning against Him? "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest" (Psalm 51:4). Further, if we cannot bear to offend the Lamb of God, would it not be unreasonable for the LORD to preserve us in holiness? "The desire of the righteous is only good" (Proverbs 11:23). And, "The desire of the righteous shall be granted" (Proverbs 10:24).
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The LORD knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2Timothy 2:19). Hypocrisy is to confess one sin while holding on to another. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess" (Matthew 23:25). Incomplete obedience is really no obedience at all. "And why call ye Me, LORD, LORD, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Even the Old Covenant Saints understood the duplicity of proclaiming love for God while refusing Him entire obedience. "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1Samuel 15:22).

Is it possible for the Saints to be actually free from sin? It must be, or else, why do we have the plain Promise of God that He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness?
"If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). Not only that, but we have been assured that it was His very intention to defang "that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan" (Revelation 20:2) by His First Advent and His Atonement; but first, sin and the "works of the devil" must be cleansed from His own people. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1John 3:8).
"1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2). It is impossible to know the will of God without first the willingness to do all the will of God as fast as it is revealed to us. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself" (John 7:17).

If we attempt to separate obedience from faith, then we will have no better faith than that of the devils.
"33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:33-34). So, intellectual assent to the Truth without accompanied obedience is not Saving Faith! "20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:20-24).
"And, behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with Power from On High" (Luke 24:49). After all, was it not a fulfillment of this Promise that the 120 received at Pentecost? "But ye shall receive Power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth" (Acts 1:8). And, was not this baptism the enduement of Power for mighty witness and Christian service? "18 And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in Heaven above, and signs in the Earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the LORD come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the LORD shall be saved" (Acts 2:18-21). The same Spirit that empowers also seals us to the end. "In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise" (Ephesians 1:13). For this reason, we desire not to quench the Holy Spirit's work within us. "Quench not [literally, extinguish not] the Spirit" (1Thessalonians 5:19). Also, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the Day of Redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).


Evangelical Faith is not a passive act. It is not a mere intellectual assent to the Truth. If it does not demonstrate itself in works-- where opportunity affords-- it was never Saving Faith.
"18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:18-19). Without the works of faith, i.e., the works that accompany faith, only self-deception can abide. "23 For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the Perfect Law of Liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain" (1:23-26).

Why is it necessary for God to require perseverance in grace and faith, if all who claim to be Christian will naturally persevere? Because only the True Saints actually do persevere.
"Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God" (Acts 13:43). It is necessary for God to require our perseverance to keep us from becoming sinfully presumptuous-- as opposed to peacefully certain-- about our Eternal Salvation. "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2Peter 2:10). For our own good, the LORD not only seeks us to be Entirely Sanctified, but to continue in that way until He comes for us. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23).

Again, do all True Saints persevere to the end? Yes, most assuredly!
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). If endurance is indeed a necessary condition for our Final and Eternal Salvation, then we ought to "give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1). Let us continue to lay hold of the Promises of God as those who would endure until He comes for us. "Having therefore these Promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2Corinthians 7:1). And again, "Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24).

May God confirm us in the faith and cause us to stand. May the LORD make us to be like the Rock that He is. Amen, and Amen.


Tom Stewart

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