“[Jesus] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” –1 Corinthians 1:8-9
Perseverance of the saints, one of the “five points” of Calvinism, is sometimes misunderstood to mean that once a person professes faith in Christ, that person will be saved, no matter what happens for the rest of his life. What we actually believe is that because God is the one who brings about saving faith, he will keep those whom he has called faithful to the end of their life. Notice a few things Paul promises the saints in Corinth:
- The saints will endure to the end; they will be found “guiltless” at the last day.
- This endurance will occur because the saints are “sustained” by Christ.
- The endurance of the saints is rooted in the faithfulness of God.
- God is the one who called the saints to begin with, and can therefore be trusted to sustain them until the end.
We should believe this 1) because the Bible teaches it and 2) because it’s a great comfort. What a relief to know that my ultimate security depends not on my faithfulness, but God’s! My own performance, my own commitment to God, is inconsistent at best. Thank God I depend not on my commitment to him, but his commitment to me.