Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 19, 2015

“Perseverance of the Saints”: “full assurance of faith and certainty of persevering”

Today’s devotion comes from Judges 20:18-48.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+20&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“18 Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?”  Then the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah.  20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah.  21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and felled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel.  22 But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.  23 The sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?”  And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 Then the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin the second day.  25 Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah the second day and felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel;  all these drew the sword.  26 Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening.  And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.  27 The sons of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?”  And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.  30 The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times.

46 So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors.  47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months.  48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found;  they also set on fire all the cities which they found.”  Judges Chapter 20:  Verses 18-30 and 46-48.

——————

The sons of Israel persistently inquired of the LORD three times.  Verse 18, 23, and 28.

We should also be persistent in prayer.  We are reminded of the Parable of the Widow and the Judge.

“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.  There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’  For a while he was unwilling;  but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said;  now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?  I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8.

The sons of Israel asked in faith.  Each time, Israel followed the LORD’s direction in faith after each inquiry, even after they suffered such losses in the first two battles after the first two inquiries.

We should also ask in faith.  We are reminded that God generously gives wisdom.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and  without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8.

Who can pray persistently and ask in faith?

But, there is hope!

Reformed Doctrine teaches “Preservation of the Saints” which is also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  Here is what the Canons of Dordt in FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints states about this “Perseverance of the Saints” in part.

Article 11.  The Scripture moreover testifies, that believers in this life have to struggle with various carnal doubts, and that under grievous temptations they are not always sensible of this full assurance of faith and certainty of persevering.  But God, who is the Father of all consolation, does not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it, I Corinthians 10:13, and by the Holy Spirit again inspires them with the comfortable assurance of persevering.

Article 15.  The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, and the certainty thereof; which God hath most abundantly revealed in his Word, for the glory of his name, and the consolation of pious souls, and which he impresses upon the hearts of the faithful.   Satan abhors it;  the world ridicules it; the ignorant and hypocrite abuse, and heretics oppose it; but the spouse of Christ hath always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it, as an inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor strength can prevail, will dispose her to continue this conduct to the end.  Now, to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, forever.  AMEN.


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