- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
REFINEMENTS OF CHRISTIAN VIRTUE: PERSEVERANCE
(2Pe 1:6 from vss. 3-10) 9-9-12
Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming
Pastor Daryl Hilbert
I. ADD MORAL EXCELLENCE
II. ADD KNOWLEDGE
III. ADD SELF-CONTROL
IV. ADD PERSEVERANCE
A. The Definition of Perseverance (hupomonę,)
1. Hupomonę, is a Greek compound of the preposition hupo which means “under” and me,nō which means “to remain, stay, or abide.” It means to remain under a difficulty waiting for God’s desired effect.
2. In the Hellenistic world it was used in various ways such as “staying behind or still,” “to expectantly wait,” or “stand fast, endure, or be steadfast.” It also carried the Greek virtue of a courageous immovability in the face of some danger or evil (“to wait for hostile attacks.” “to stand firm against them,” Hom. Il., 16, 814).
3. The biblical concept of perseverance contains a similar sense of “remaining under,” only it includes a Godward view of His direction, protection, and deliverance.
B. The Biblical Aspects of Perseverance
1. It is a Christian Virtue (Rom 5:3-4)
a) Perseverance is a character of Christ (2Th 3:5) and the believer is exhorted frequently in the Scriptures to exhibit this extremely important Christian Virtue.
b) Peter (2Pe 1:6), James and Paul show how perseverance is necessary for growing in Christian character and maturity (Rom 5:3-4*). In addition, Paul frequently exhorts all believers to exhibit perseverance in their Christian lives (1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 3:10; Tit 2:2).
2. It is Supplied by God (Rom 15:5)
a) Unlike self-control, there are many references in the Bible to the necessity of perseverance in the believer’s life.
b) However, like self-control and all the virtues that Peter mentions, they are supplied to the believer by God. They are divinely worked in the believer so that he can work them out in his life.
c) God gives the believer perseverance (Rom 15:5*). Therefore, the believer has been strengthened with perseverance through God’s power (Col 1:11).
3. It is “Waiting on God” (Psa 27:14)
a) The OT quite frequently sees the concept of perseverance (hupomonę in LXX) as waiting on God. A believer waits on God because God has sovereignly allowed every trial to bring God glory and work in the believer’s life and situation.
b) “Waiting on God” is a favorite expression of David (Psa 27:14*; Psa 33:20; 40:1; 69:6) as well as other OT writers (Mic 7:7; Lam 3:25-26). The ones who wait on the Lord will be rewarded (Psa 37:9, 34) while unbelievers who do not seek the Lord will receive recompense (Zep 3:8). The Lord strengthens those who wait upon Him in due time (Isa 40:31).
4. It is Endurance in Persecution (2Th 1:4)
a) One of the main aspects in which a believer needs perseverance is in enduring persecution. The believer will indeed suffer persecution because he emulates Christ and the world hates Christ (2Th 1:5; 2Ti 3:12).
b) It is the Christian Virtue of perseverance that allows the believer to endure it (2Th 1:4*). Paul, as a servant of God, endured and persevered in beatings and imprisonment (2Co 6:4-5). Peter exhorted believers to patiently persevere through suffering because that finds favor with God (1Pe 2:20).
5. It is Considering Trials and Temptation All Joy (Jam 1:2-4)
a) James admonishes believers to “remain under” all sorts of various trials and temptations (perasmos - temptation (positive) or temptation (negative). This produces perseverance which allows God to work in the believer and in the situation (Jam 1:3-4*).
b) In fact, because God is sovereignly in control, believers are to “consider it all joy” while going through these trials (Jam 1:2*). When we understand God’s purposes in trials, we are able to persevere through them and maintain the virtue becoming to believers (Rom 12:12).
C. The Concept of the Perseverance of the Saints
1. Rev 14:12 uses the phrase “perseverance of the saints” (NASB). This phrase has been a concept used by the church to explain the biblical teaching on the state of a true believer.
2. True believers are the ones who persevere in their faith and obedience while on earth because they have been divinely regenerated and given perseverance (cp. Rom 15:5; Col 1:11).
3. This concept does not teach that a person can lose their salvation by not persevering. Rather it teaches that only those who have been truly saved (not a mere profession of faith) will persevere in their faith to the end.
4. Neither does this teach that a believer will be perfect, sinless, or never fall. It simply teaches that in spite of those realities, the believer will respond to the Spirit’s work in his life and continue in the faith.
5. They, whom God hath accepted in His beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
6. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
7. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. (WCF 17:1-3)
D. Observations and Applications
1. The believer needs perseverance to battle with sin (Heb 12:1).
2. The believer needs perseverance to maintain the Christian life (Heb 12:2; Jam 5:11; Rev 1:9; 2:3; reward - Heb 10:36; Jam 1:12)
3. The believer needs perseverance to continue in ministry (Heb 12:3; labor of love - 1Th 1:3; evangelism - 2Ti 2:10; cp. 1Co 13:7; 2Co 1:6)