COLUMN: The Christian life is one of preservation and perseverance

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By George Smith

One of my favorite New Testament scripture passages is John 10:27-30. Jesus is pictured as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. We are the sheep who hear, respond to and follow the shepherd. This scripture reveals two great biblical truths: preservation and perseverance.
Preservation is seen in John 10:28-29. Jesus said, "I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish."

Strong's concordance says, "preserve" means "to guard, to protect, to save." Eternal life is not something we get in the future, but something we have the moment we receive the grace of God by faith. Jesus says in John 5:24, "He who hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life." Eternal life lasts forever or it is not eternal.
The second great biblical truth revealed in John10:27-30 is perseverance. Webster defines perseverance to mean "to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter influences, opposition or discouragement."
Jesus says, "My sheep follow me." "Follow" speaks of "continuous action." They persist to the end even if the way is difficult.
Persistence is one of the best evidences of one's salvation. 1 John 2:3 says, "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."
John MacArthur said, "When a person is transformed Christ gives a new heart ­- a new set of desires, a new desire to please God, obey, reflect his righteousness. If that change does not occur, there is no reason to think genuine salvation has taken place."
God calls us to persevere. Perseverance does not mean sinless perfection. True Christians do fall and are victims of sin. But a true believer will be miserable out of fellowship with God. If we falter, he stands ready to restore (1 John 1:9).