Tag Archives: Perseverance of the saints

“To be irradiated by the light of His countenance” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“The inheritance of the saints in glory, the immediate communion with God, the life of beholding Him, to be satisfied with the Lord’s all-sufficiency, to be irradiated by the light of His countenance, to be embraced by His love, to be surrounded by His omnipotence, to be filled with His goodness, even to shine forth in pure holiness, to be aflame with love, to be incomprehensibly joyful in God, to be among the angels, to be in the company of the souls of the most perfectly righteous men, and while being in His immediate presence, together with them behold and experience the perfections of the Lord, and thus magnify and praise these perfections — that is felicity and that is glory.

To be united with one’s own and yet glorified body; to be conformed to the glorious body of Christ; to stand at the right hand of King Jesus in view of the entire world — particularly of those who have tortured and killed them; there, according to soul and body, to be glorified and crowned as conqueror; to be ushered into heaven by the Lord Jesus and there to eternally experience undiminished fulness of joy without end and without fear —all this is the great benefit which the Lord has laid away for all those who fear Him and put their trust in Him before the sons of men.

Attentively consider the following passage:

‘After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number…stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;…What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?… These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed eat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Rev. 7:9, 13-17).

Now compare all your suffering and all that is glorious and delightful upon earth with this eternal and felicitous glory, and you will not be able to make a mental comparison, since the difference is too great. Would this then not cause you to rejoice in your suffering? Will this not make you courageous in the warfare in which, by the power of God, the victory is sure and the crown a certainty?

View the Lord Jesus from every perspective. He is so eminently glorious that it is our greatest glory to confess Him as our Lord and King. We are therefore not to be ashamed of Him. God the Father makes confession about Him by declaring from heaven, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’

The angels bore witness to Him at His death and resurrection — yes, all angels worship Him. How boldly and joyously have all martyrs professed Him and sealed their profession with their death!

Would you then be ashamed of Him? Is He not worthy of a measure of suffering? He is worthy a thousand times to be professed by you while suffering in some measure. How much good has He done for you!

Out of love for you He left His glory, took upon Himself your human nature, doing so in the form of a servant, became poor so that He had nothing upon which He could lay His head, and took upon Himself your sins and put Himself in your stead as Surety.

How heavy a task it was for Him to deliver you from eternal damnation, to reconcile you with God, and to lead you to glory! God’s wrath upon sin caused Him to crawl over the earth as a worm and to wallow in His own blood — blood coming forth as sweat due to the hellish agony within His soul.

He was betrayed, shackled as an evildoer, and led away captive. The ecclesiastical authorities judged Him worthy of death as a blasphemer of God. He was beaten with fists, and they spat in His blessed countenance.

He was smitten in the face, and He was mocked in a most contemptuous and grievous manner. He was delivered to the Gentiles, dragged from the one court to the other, led along the streets of Jerusalem with a robe of mockery, placed on a duo with a murderer, and had His death demanded as if He were the most wicked among the people.

He was scourged in a most wretched manner and crowned with a crown of thorns, which was pounded into His head with sticks. He was led outside the city while bearing His cross, and died on the cross in the greatest distress of soul while suffering the most extreme measure of scorn and pain.

All this He suffered out of love for you in order to deliver you from sin and damnation. He made a good profession, namely, that He was the King and the Savior — a confession which cost Him His life.

Would you now be ashamed of Him and deny Him? Would you not suffer somewhat for this loving and loveable Jesus, and not show by your suffering how dear and precious He is to you?”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, “A Letter of Exhortation to Be Steadfast in the Confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Truth in Time of Persecution and Martyrdom,” The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 3, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 3: 370-371.

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“Prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away” by John Newton

“One trial abides with me: a body of sin and death, an inward principle of evil, which renders all I do defective and defiled.

But even here I find cause for thankfulness, for with such a heart as I have, my sad story would soon be much worse if the Lord were not my keeper.

By this I may know that He favours me, since weak and variable as I am in myself, and powerful and numerous as my enemies are, they have not yet prevailed against me.

And I am admitted to a throne of grace, I have an Advocate with the Father. And such is the power, care, and compassion of my great Shepherd that, prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away.

When I am wounded, He heals me.

When I faint, He revives me again.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 170.

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“God holds us with an omnipotent grasp” by William Plumer

“By faith we have hold on God, but our grip is often feeble. Our great safety lies in this: that God holds us with an omnipotent grasp, and never entirely lets us go.”

–William Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary With Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1867/2016), 714. Plumer is commenting on Psalm 74:23.

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“Savior, Husband, Head, and Shepherd” by John Newton

“Let us then, dear madam, be thankful and cheerful; and while we take shame to ourselves, let us glorify God, by giving Jesus the honour due to His name.

Though we are poor, He is rich: though we are weak, He is strong; though we have nothing, He possesses all things. He suffered for us: He calls us to be conformed to Him in sufferings. He conquered in His own person, and He will make each of His members more than conquerors in due season.

It is good to have one eye upon ourselves; but the other should ever be fixed on Him who stands in the relation of Saviour, Husband, Head, and Shepherd. In Him we have righteousness, peace, and power.

He can control all that we fear; so that if our path should be through the fire or through the water, neither the flood shall drown us, nor the flame kindle upon us, and ere long He will cut short our conflicts, and say, ‘Come up hither.’

Then shall our grateful songs abound, and every fear be wiped away. Having such promises and assurances, let us lift up our banner in His name, and press on through every discouragement.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 72.

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“His grip on us” by Marcus Peter Johnson

“Once joined to Christ, believers will never be separated from Him. This is not because our grasp on Christ is so strong, but because His grip on us is unbreakable.”

–Marcus Peter Johnson, One With Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 174.

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“His grip on us is unbreakable” by Marcus Peter Johnson

“The gospel is full of inconceivably extravagant promises from our Father. He has given these promises to provide His children with the full assurance of His freely given, irrevocable love, and they are grounded in His steadfast, immovable, unchangeable faithfulness.

What God promises He will infallibly bring to pass. And all the promises the Father makes are bound up inextricably in Jesus Christ, in whom they are fulfilled and completed: ‘For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ’ (2 Cor. 1:20, niv1984).

In order to bring to fruition all that He has promised us, God joins us indissolubly to the One in whom all the promises are contained, fulfilled, and secured. It is only in Christ that we benefit from any of God’s lavish pledges.

Thus, the assurance believers have that God will infallibly save them, and that they will never cease to be saved, is rooted in their being joined to the Savior. The Father gives us to the Son, and it is the Father’s will that the Son save us to the uttermost:

‘And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day’ ( John 6:39–40).

Our separation from Jesus Christ would mean nothing less than the failure of the Son to accomplish the Father’s will. Once joined to Christ, believers will never be separated from Him.

This is not because our grasp on Christ is so strong, but because His grip on us is unbreakable. We are not only perfectly and eternally preserved in Christ because His grasp is insuperable, but, should we need even greater assurance, Jesus tells us that His hold on us is undergirded by the invincible grasp of His Father:

‘I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one’ ( John 10:28–30).

The Son and the Father have a common and mutually re-enforcing grasp on those who belong to them. Indeed, we can say more: our preservation in Christ is anchored in the personal relations and purposes of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The Father gives us to His Son through His Spirit or, alternatively, the Spirit joins us to the Son, and through the Son to the Father (John 14:16–20). Only a breach in the common unity and will of the triune Godhead could sever us from Jesus Christ.”

–Marcus Peter Johnson, One With Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 173-174.

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“Honour Him in your life” by J.C. Ryle

“If you are a son of God, I beseech you to walk worthy of your Father’s house. I charge you solemnly to honour Him in your life; and above all to honour Him by implicit obedience to all His commands, and hearty love to all His children.

Labour to travel through the world like a child of God and heir to glory. Let men be able to trace a family likeness between you and Him that begat you. Live a heavenly life. Seek things that are above.

Do not seem to be building your nest below. Behave like a man who seeks a city out of sight, whose citizenship is in heaven, and who would be content with many hardships till he gets home.

Labour to feel like a son of God in every condition in which you are placed. Never forget you are on your Father’s ground so long as you are here on earth. Never forget that a Father’s hand sends all your mercies and crosses.

Cast every care on Him. Be happy and cheerful in Him. Why indeed art thou ever sad if thou art the King’s son? Why should men ever doubt, when they look at yon, whether it is a pleasant thing to be one of God’s children?

Labour to behave towards others like a son of God. Be blameless and harmless in your day and generation. Be a ‘peacemaker among all you know.’ (Matt. 5:9.)

Seek for your children sonship to God, above everything else: seek for them an inheritance in heaven, whatever else you do for them. No man leaves his children so well provided for as he who leaves them sons and heirs of God.

Persevere in your Christian calling, if you are a son of God, and press forward more and more. Be careful to lay aside every weight, and the sin which most easily besets you. Keep your eyes steadily fixed on Jesus. Abide in Him.

Remember that without Him you can do nothing, and with Him you can do all things. (John 15:5; Philip. 4:13.) Watch and pray daily. Be steadfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord.

Settle it down in your heart that not a cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple shall lose its reward, and that every year you are so much nearer home. ‘Yet a little time and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ (Heb. 10:37.)

Then shall be the glorious liberty, and the full manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:19, 21.)

Then shall the world acknowledge they that were the truly wise.

Then shall the sons of God at length come of age, and be no longer heirs in expectancy, but heirs in possession.

Then shall they hear with exceeding joy those comfortable words: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ (Matt. 25:34.) Surely that day will make amends for all!”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (London: Charles Murray, 1900), 427-428.

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