What does Scripture say about needing to persevere?

There is a question as to whether one may continue to willfully sin after coming to believe in Christ. I think Scripture is clear that there is a difference between an idea and trust. If one has an idea, it is a belief but with no conviction. If one has trust in someone they have a belief with conviction. It is the latter type of belief, or faith, that one must have in God having sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins and resurrected Him on the third day after His death in order to be saved – in order to be with Christ upon death.

Jesus said we have only to believe to be saved.

John 3:16-18

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Even after people had put their faith in Christ and they believed, Jesus said they had to persevere in what Jesus teaches.

John 8:30-32

30Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. 31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Paul wrote for believers to continue in their faith, in God’s goodness, to hold to what he had taught.

Romans 11:22

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Philippians 2:12-13

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Colossians 1:22-23

22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Timothy 2:15

But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

James wrote, after telling people to pay attention to the word:

James 1:25

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Peter wrote that those who are suffering should continue to do good.

1 Peter 4:19

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

John wrote something similar:

1 John 2:28

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 3:6

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

1 John 3:9

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

1 John 5:18

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him

2 John 1:9

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Putting all the scripture together tells me that someone who truly believes in Christ as his Savior is saved. A saved person can choose to sin, however said person will not continue in sin.

All of us are sinners. We are all imperfect. We will all continue to fail. Being saved does not give one a free ride however. We must continue to have faith and we must continue to demonstrate said faith (otherwise how do you know it is faith?). The undiscipled will most likely have fewer examples of faith and the Holy Spirit in action in their lives than people who are well discipled, but these evidences of faith will still exist.

It may be that we will sin in a particular area and then later stop doing that sin and start up again – I like to call this two steps forward and one step back. But God will work in us to desire to be who HE wants, and will work in us to be able to become that person. This is also where we need to confess our sins and faults one to another – thus we can be prayed for and others can help us in our times of need.

But yes, we need to persevere in our faith and in living out that faith.


One Response

  1. […] Wb Moore has a post on, What does Scripture say about needing to persevere? […]

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