6. Grace to Believe and Persevere (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:4-5)


Audio (27:43)

Anthony Van Dyke (Flemish painter,1599-1641) 'Penitent Apostle Peter' (1617-1618), Oil on canvas, Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia.
Anthony Van Dyke (Flemish painter,1599-1641) 'Penitent Apostle Peter' (1617-1618), Oil on canvas, Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia.

The Bible contains lots of mysteries. One of them is the clear linkage between God's grace, predestination, and salvation. For example, Paul writes:

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ ... to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4-6)

"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace." (Romans 11:5)

It is clear from the New Testament that grace has a great deal to do with our predestination and salvation. The problem is that Evangelical believers have been fighting about just how it works for five centuries.

  • Calvinists stress God's sovereignty in predestining people to salvation, minimizing man's part.
  • Arminians see God predestining people to salvation based on his foreknowledge that they will put their faith in Christ.

These are the two primary working theories of how God saves us, each based on a particular understanding of Scripture. Here are some of the theological issues involved.

  • Predestination or election
  • Foreknowledge
  • Free Will
  • Perseverance of the Saints
  • Possibility of Apostasy

While this controversy is important, it tends to bring out lots of passion when people discuss it. And since it doesn't relate directly to the theme of grace as I understand it, I have decided not to argue these issues in the text of this Bible study. However, I refer you to Appendix 2. A Brief Look at TULIP Calvinism, where I try to fairly briefly lay out the various positions, arguments, and their Scriptural support. My goal in this lesson is to exalt the role of grace in our salvation so that we can trust and rejoice in it. We'll look at several passages of Scripture that help us understand that, but for the theological back and forth I refer you to Appendix 2.

6.1 Predestination, Foreknowledge, and Election (Romans 8:28-30)

It is clear to me that the Bible teaches predestination throughout. That is, that God predetermines the affairs of humans. God determines the rise and fall of nations. He raises up leaders and he brings them down. He is the Prime Mover.

Predestination Plays a Definite Role in Salvation

Though we're not certain exactly how predestination works, we do know that it is basic in our salvation. Jesus said that his sheep know his voice and follow him (John 10:14-18, 26-27). He also says:

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

"No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." (John 6:65)

"No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Luke 10:22)

Acts includes several passages that suggest predestination.

"All who were appointed164 for eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48b)

"The Lord opened [Lydia's] heart to respond to Paul's message" in Philippi (Acts 16:14).

"I have many people in this city." (Acts 18:10b)

All Christians agree that God does predestine or foreordain events. Just how he does that and the part that foreknowledge plays in this are not well understood by anyone, since God hasn't revealed all the details. Why these people and events? Why not others? The Scripture gives only vague answers to our questions. We'll have to ask in heaven.

Foreknowledge and Predestination

One familiar passage, however, that helps us peer into the dynamics of God's grace in choosing us to be saved is nestled in the context of the wonderful eighth chapter of Romans

"28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)

"Predestined" (prohorizō) means to "decide upon beforehand, predetermine."165 It means the same as the English word "foreordain." The word "foreknew" (proginōskō) means basically, "to know beforehand or in advance, have foreknowledge (of) something."166 Verse 29 seems to indicate that God's foreknowledge was part of his decision to predestine believers to salvation.

You also see foreknowledge paired with predestination in 1 Peter 1:1-2 (which we'll examine a bit more in Lesson 6.3 in a moment). I am quoting it in the very literal NASB.

"To those who reside as aliens ... who are chosen according to the foreknowledge167 of God the Father ... May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure." (1 Peter 1:1a, 2, NASB).168

"Elect" (ESV, KJV), "chosen" (NIV, NRSV, NASB) is Greek eklektos (from which we get our English word "elect"), "pertaining to being selected, chosen."169 For God to choose is the same as for God to predestine. Notice that, here again as in Romans 8:28-30, this choosing is done in conjunction with foreknowing, "according to the foreknowledge" of God.

6.2 The Role of Grace in Salvation

Did God foreknow how good we would be? Our works of righteousness? Of course, but that isn't what makes the determination. Paul is emphatic that we are "chosen by grace." In a passage talking about the Gentiles being chosen for salvation, he says:

"5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen170 by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:5-6)

Notice how closely grace is tied to God's choosing. Remember, grace is God's favor that is neither earned nor deserved. We are reliant on his love, his goodwill towards us, for without it we would be lost.

However, if God doesn't save us on the basis of seeing ahead of time our works of righteousness, what does he foresee in Romans 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2? We know from many passages that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). I conclude, then, that what God foresees is our faith in Christ, which we've established is all by grace anyway (see Lesson 5.3). Of course, some of my brothers and sisters in Christ understand the interplay between foreknowledge and predestination differently, but th

Note: Christians differ on their understanding of how predestination works. Let's avoid argument and rather discuss this with love! The reason I bring this up for discussion is to help you grapple with the obvious issues -- not as an occasion to fight with fellow brothers and sisters over your interpretation.

Q23. (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:1-2) I realize that this is a mystery, but how do you see God's foreknowledge working alongside his ability to predestine? If all this is by grace, how might faith and/or good works fit into this predestination?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/2158-q23-foreknowledge/

The Glory of His Grace (Ephesians 1:4b-6)

Let's explore the role of grace here a bit more. Some use the phrase "sovereign grace" to describe God's sovereign decision to save us. We see this idea in Ephesians.

"In love he predestined171 us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure172 and will173 -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4b--6)

I like the phrase "glorious grace" (ESV, NIV, NRSV), literally, the "glory of his grace" (KJV). It makes me think of the Shekinah Glory of God pouring out grace with great joy. Glorious grace. And he is pouring it out with great generosity, since it is "freely given" (charitoō is the verb form of the noun charis, "grace").174

Q24. (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-6) How does predestination function with God's grace? What is gracious about predestination? Why is his grace "glorious"?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/2159-24-gracious-predestination/

Prevenient Grace or Enabling Grace that Prepares our Hearts

There's another way that grace works. Wesleyans describe it with the strange term "prevenient grace" (which we referred to in Lesson 5.3). "Prevenient" is an archaic word meaning "coming before."175 Perhaps a better term is "enabling grace." Prevenient grace is God's gracious working through his Holy Spirit to convict people of sin, draw them to Christ (John 6:44), and (hopefully) lead them to receive Christ by their free will. This concept makes lots of sense to me. (Calvinists tend to use the term "regenerate," but I see regeneration as happening at the point of salvation, not prior to salvation.) Whatever term you use to describe it, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

"When [the Paraclete, Counselor, Comforter, Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:8)

In Lesson 2.2-3 and Lesson 4.1 we noted that man's heart without Christ is corrupt, deceived, and deceitful. We need help. So the Holy Spirit works in us to "convict" (NIV, ESV), "prove wrong" (NRSV), "reprove" (KJV). The Greek verb is elenchō, "to bring to light, expose," in the New Testament, "to bring a person to the point of recognizing wrongdoing, convict, convince someone of something,"176 "to show people their sins and summon them to repentance."177 While summoning humans to repentance may seem hard and wrenching, it is part of God's rescue program , "the grace of God that brings salvation" (Titus 2:11-12) by pulling them away from the broad path that would otherwise lead them to destruction and pointing them to the narrow path that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

As mentioned in Lesson 6.1 above, Jesus also tells us of the Father's involvement in this, no doubt by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

The word means to drag or draw with a pulling motion, then "attract."178 It is often gentle, but sometimes God draws people with such deep conviction that they find themselves on their knees praying the sinner's prayer.

"No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." (John 6:65)

"Enabled" (NIV), "it is granted" (NRSV, ESV), "given" (KJV) is the common verb didōmi, "to give," here, "to grant by formal action, grant, allow."179 Yes, the Father wishes for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), but this verse suggests the Father's intimate working with each one through his Holy Spirit.

"Prevenient grace" may be a strange term ("enabling grace" is better), but it is a wonderful, gracious understanding of how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit work in our hearts and minds to bring us to repentance and salvation! He dispels our darkness and floods us with the light of the truth. He frees our will from Satan's influence enough that we can choose Christ as our Lord. (For more on the role of "free will" in salvation see Appendix 2, sec. 4. A Brief Look at TULIP Calvinism).

Q25. (John 16:8; 6:44; 6:65) Why is it impossible for people to come to Christ without God's action to convict, draw, and enable them to come? How does God's preparation illustrate his grace?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/2160-q25-prevenient-grace/

6.3 Grace to Persevere

Nearly all Christians believe in some fashion that all "elect" believers will persevere to the end of their lives with faith in Jesus. "Persevere" means "to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement."180 You might state the Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints in this way:

"God's elect will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives."181

Indeed, Jesus tells us:

"The one who endures182 to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13)

The Puritans used to say that they were "hopefully saved," with the idea that only at the end of one's life could they know if they were one of the true elect. I believe we can have a much stronger assurance of our salvation than that!

Protected by the Power of God (1 Peter 1:4-5)

We looked at verses 1-2 that precede this passage in Lesson 6.1 above, where Peter talks about foreknowledge and predestination. Now he talks about the new birth and our salvation. (Again, we are looking at the very literal NASB.)

3 Our Lord Jesus Christ, ... according to His great mercy183 has caused us to be born again184 to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5, NASB)

This verse refers to Christ's "great mercy," which is another way of saying "grace." This is another passage that links grace, foreknowledge, and predestination (as did Romans 8:28-30, which we examined in Lesson 6.1 above).

I want to focus, however, on what this passage says about persevering in our salvation in verses 4 and 5,

"... to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4-5, NASB)

Observe two words that have to do with guarding.

"Reserved" (NASB, KJV), "kept" (NIV, NRSV, ESV) in verse 4 is the verb tēreō, "keep watch over, guard" (such as guarding prisoners or a building), then more generally, "to cause a state, condition, or activity to continue, keep, hold, reserve, persevere."185

"Protected" (NRSV, NASB), "guarded" (ESV), "shielded" (NIV), "kept" (KJV) in verse 5 is the verb phroureō, a military term, "to maintain a watch, guard something," then used more generally, "to provide security, guard, protect, keep."186 God's almighty power protects and stands guard! This guarding will continue until Christ returns187 and personally consummates our salvation.188

"Through faith" (verse 5). Notice the role of faith in the protection. The preposition here is dia, a "marker of instrumentality or circumstance whereby something is accomplished or effected, by, via, through," in this case "of means or instrument."189

We hang onto Jesus, trust him through thick and thin. Our sometimes weak and vacillating faith is nothing compared to God's strong guard around us, but it is still important. Faith is our link to God. There's a Gospel song with words that picture this:

"Prayer is the key to heaven,
But faith unlocks the door."190

Jesus told his disciples that even if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, it could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Perhaps you underestimate the power of your faith!191

Some doctrinal systems can't hold these truths simultaneously of God's part and our part in salvation -- they must accentuate the one and downgrade the other -- but Scripture doesn't see them as mutually exclusive. Peter teaches that we are guarded by God's mighty power through faith.

Q26. (1 Peter 1:4-5) How does our faith function alongside God's protection to keep us to the end? How does this show God's grace?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/2161-q26-perseverance/

No One Can Snatch You from God's Hand (John 10:27-30)

There are many passages that assure us of God's care over us. One of the most powerful is from Jesus' words about the Good Shepherd.

"27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30)

"Snatch" is the Greek verb harpazō, "snatch, seize," that is, take suddenly and vehemently. Here "to grab or seize suddenly so as to remove or gain control, snatch/take away forcefully.'"192 The promise is twice repeated in this passage! The Good Shepherd is constantly on the watch for the wolves, bears, and other predators that would ravage the flock. Indeed, he is prepared to sacrifice his own life to save the life of his sheep. That is the commitment he makes to us -- and he fulfills it on the cross!

Keeping Us from Falling (Jude 24-25)

Jude concludes his letter with a powerful benediction.

"24 To him who is able to keep you from falling193 and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy -- 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." (Jude 24-25)

Hallelujah! The phrase, "able to keep" uses two powerful verbs. The first is "keep," phylassō, a military term, "to carry out sentinel functions, watch, guard," here "to protect by taking careful measures, guard, protect."194 The second verb is "be able," dynamai (from which we get our words "dynamic, dynamite"). God is able. He is powerful.195

Other Assurances of God's Keeping

Paul shares his firm assurance of salvation to Timothy and various churches.

"38 I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate196 us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

"The Lord will rescue197 me from every evil attack and will bring me safely198 to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:18)

"... Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion199 until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

"He will keep you strong200 to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:8)

Peter assures us in a verse we examined in Lesson 1.1:

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm201 and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10-11)

What powerful promises! What grace! What assurance!

Q27. (John 10:27-30; Jude 24-25; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Timothy 4:18; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Peter 5:10-11) Why do you think there are so many assurances of faith in the New Testament? What is your favorite promise of God's role in keeping you in Christ to the end? How does your favorite promise give you powerful assurance of salvation?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/2162-q27-assurance/

In the face of all these powerful promises, some ask: Is it possible to lose your salvation? Does God prevent you from walking away if you want to? Some would answer: It is utterly impossible to lose your salvation. Others can't go that far. This study focuses on God's grace and this kind of diversion is off-track for our purposes. For a discussion of various views of "eternal security," see Appendix 2, Sec. 5. A Brief Look at TULIP Calvinism.

However, the point we should leave with is that God's grace wraps us from before we are saved, keeps us during our walk with Christ on this earth, and then delivers us safe in heaven before the throne of God. This is the amazing, inexplicable yet wonderful grace of God for our salvation.

The next lessons begin to examine how grace affects our way of living and our ministry for Christ.

Lessons for Disciples


Available in paperback, PDF, and Kindle formats

We've been studying matters that we can only "see through a glass darkly."202 Nevertheless, we learn several things.

  1. Though we're not certain exactly how predestination works, the Scripture is clear that God predestines or foreordains events and people to come to him (John 10:14-18; 6:44, 65; Luke 10:22).
  2. God's foreknowledge works with his predestination to save us (Romans 8:28). Since we know our future goodness isn't the basis of his foreknowledge, perhaps it is our response of faith that he sees ahead of time (Romans 11:5-6; Ephesians 2:8-9).
  3. God's "glorious grace" is poured out in this predestined salvation (Ephesians 1:4-6).
  4. Prevenient grace (or enabling grace) is a theological word that describes the gracious working of the Holy Spirit to convict people of sin, draw them to Christ, and (hopefully) lead them to receive Christ (John 16:8; 6:44, 65).
  5. Many Scriptures speak of God's ability to guard his people and help them persevere with faith in Christ to the end of their lives (Mark 13:13; 1 Peter 1:5; John 10:27-30; Jude 24-25; Romans 8:38-39). Somehow this guarding power works in coordination with our faith (1 Peter 1:5).

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your amazing salvation. Thank you for choosing us, for softening our hearts, and drawing us to you, for helping us day by day, and for keeping us with you for all eternity. We trust you! In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30, NIV)

"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:5-6, NIV)

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4b-6, NIV)

"When [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:8, NIV)

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44, NIV)

"No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." (John 6:65, NIV)

"No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Luke 10:22, NIV)

"The one who endures to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13b, ESV)

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens ... who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood .... 3 Our Lord Jesus Christ, ... according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:1-5, NASB)

"27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30, NIV)

"24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy -- 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." (Jude 24-25, NIV)

End Notes

References and Abbreviations

[164] "Appointed" is tassō, generally, "put in place," but here, of a person put in a specific position, "assign someone to a (certain) classification," passive, "belong to, be classed among those possessing" (BDAG 991, 1b).

[165] Prohorizō, BDAG 873).

[166] Proginōsko, BDAG 866, 1. Some have suggested that the meaning of proginōsko (in Romans 11:2, and in 1 Peter 1:20) is "choose beforehand," a kind of "predeterminative foreknowledge." I'm not convinced (BDAG 369, 2). BDAG cites Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.8, however, this passage has nothing to do with choosing beforehand. This seems like reading into the Greek definition what your theology would like it to mean. No examples of this meaning are given from other Greek literature of the time or prior to it (Liddell-Scott, Greek Lexicon, 1473, 1). The derivation of the word proginōsko clarifies the knowledge aspect: pro-, "before, in advance" + ginōskō, "to know." It is true that ginōskō ("to know") is sometimes used in the sense of election in the New Testament (Rudolf Bultmann, ginōsko, ktl., TDNT 1: 1:698, 706; 715-716). But to extend that to proginōskō is a stretch of logic. Romans 8:29 requires proginōskō to mean "foreknew." Otherwise, the clause would read: "For those God chose beforehand, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son." (Romans 8:29a) This would be a tautology ("a needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word").

[167] "According to the foreknowledge" (NIV, ESV, KJV), "destined" (NRSV) is kata, "according to," and prognōsis, "foreknowledge" (BDAG 866, 1). Danker sees this as "predetermination," but I think this is back-translating from a theological position. See above footnote 165.

[168] You can see a more complete exposition of the passage in my 1 Peter: Disciple Lessons from the Fisherman (JesusWalk, 2001, 2004), Lesson 1 (www.jesuswalk.com/1peter/1_salvation.htm).

[169] Eklektos, BDAG 306, 1.

[170] The noun eklogē is"a special choice, selection," here, ""according to selection out of generosity = selected out of generosity or by grace" (BDAG 306, 1), from the verb eklegō, "pick, single out, choose."

[171] "Predestined" (NIV, ESV), "predestinated" (KJV), and "destined" (NRSV) is the Greek verb prohorizō, "decide upon beforehand, predetermine" (BDAG 873). The word is used only six times in the New Testament: Romans 8:29, 30; Acts 4:28; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5; 1:11.

[172] "Pleasure" (NIV), "good pleasure" (NRSV, KJV), "purpose" (ESV) is eudokia, "state or condition of being favored, favor, good pleasure" (BDAG 404, 2).

[173] The noun thelēma, "will" means "what one wishes to happen, what is willed" (BDAG 447). "Will" is used three times in this passage: Ephesians 1:1, 5 and 11.

[174] "Freely given us" (NIV), "blessed us" (ESV), "bestowed on us" (NRSV), "made us accepted" (KJV) is charitoō, to cause to be the recipient of a benefit, bestow favor on, favor highly, bless" (BDAG 1081), from charis.

[175] In current English, the phrase preceding grace would have a similar meaning, with the doctrine also being called "conviction." Robert E. Picirilli says that the word "prevenient" comes from an archaic English usage meaning "anticipating", "coming before", or "preceding," and suggests as a synonym "enabling grace", as it enables sinful mankind to believe (Robert E. Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will: Contrasting Views of Salvation : Calvinism and Arminianism. Nashville: Randall House Publications 2002). pp. 153, 53). Arminius wrote: "Concerning grace and free will, this is what I teach according to the Scriptures and orthodox consent: Free will is unable to begin or to perfect any true and spiritual good, without grace.... This grace [præenit] goes before, accompanies, and follows; it excites, assists, operates that we will, and co operates lest we will in vain" (Jacob Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, D.D., Formerly Professor of Divinity in the University of Leyden (Auburn, NY: Derby & Miller, 1853), vol. 2:472). The Holy Spirit brings this conviction. "And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [or convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8). What Arminius meant by "prevenient grace" was that grace that precedes actual regeneration and which, except when finally resisted, inevitably leads to regeneration. He was quick to observe that this "assistance of the Holy Spirit" is of such sufficiency "as to keep at the greatest possible distance from Pelagianism" (Wikipedia article, "Prevenient Grace," accessed 24 Jun 2022).

[176] Elenchō, BDAG 315, 2.

[177] Friedrich Büchsel, elencho, ktl., TDNT 2:474.

[178] "Draws" in John 6:44 is the verb helkō, "to move an object from one area to another in a pulling motion, draw." It can refer to someone who is dragged into court (James 2:6), drawing a sword (John 18:10), or hauling a net (John 21:6, 11). Here it is used figuratively, "to draw a person in the direction of values for inner life, draw, attract" (BDAG 318, 2). Jesus uses it in this sense when he says, "When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (John 12:32).

[179] Didōmi, BDAG 243, meaning 14 or perhaps 17b.

[180] Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary.

[181] Wayne Grudem states the doctrine from a Reformed or Calvinist point of view: "The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again" (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 788).

[182] "Endures" is the Greek verb hypomenō, "to maintain a belief or course of action in the face of opposition, stand one's ground, hold out, endure" (BDAG 1039, 2). Similar verses: Matthew 10:22; 24:13; 2 Timothy 2:12; James 5:11.

[183] "Mercy" is eleos, "kindness or concerned expressed for someone in need, mercy, compassion, pity, clemency" (BDAG 316, b). Mercy here is a way of referring to God's grace.

[184] "Caused us to be born again" (ESV, NRSV), "given us new birth" (NIV, NRSV), "hath begotten us again" (KJV) is the verb anagennaō, "beget again, cause to be born again,' figurative of the spiritual rebirth of Christians (BDAG 59). Also at 1 Peter 1:23, cf. 1 Peter 2:2.

[185] Tēreō, BDAG 1002, 2a.

[186] Phroureō, BDAG 1066, 3. From phrouros, "a guard."

[187] Grace continues through Christ's coming: "Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:13). Also Hebrews 9:28; Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:54.

[188] On this, see also John 10:27-29; John 17:11-12; Romans 8:31; 14:4; 2 Timothy 1:12; 4:18; Hebrews 7:25; and Jude 24.

[189] Dia, BDAG 224, 3a.

[190] "Faith Unlocks the Door," by Carroll Roberson, date unknown.

[191] On this, see also Matthew 20:13; Luke 8:13-15; 22:32; John 8:30-32; Galatians 6:9; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 4:14; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 John 5:4; and Revelation 2:10.

[192] Harpazō, BDAG 134, 2a.

[193] The adjective aptaistos, "without stumbling" (BDAG 126); "not stumbling, standing firm, exempt from falling" (Thayer, 70), from the negative particle a- + ptaiō, "to stumble, trip," metaphorically, "be ruined, be lost."

[194] Phylassō, BDAG 1068, 2b.

[195] Dynamai, "be able, capable" (BDAG 261, aβ).

[196] "Separate" is the verb chorizo, "divide, separate" (BDAG 1095, 1).

[197] "Rescue" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "deliver" (KJV) is rhuomai, "to rescue from danger, save, rescue, deliver, preserve someone" (BDAG 907).

[198] "Bring me safely" (NIV, ESV), "save" (NRSV), "preserve" (KJV) is the verb sōzō, "to preserve or rescue from natural dangers and afflictions, save, keep from harm, preserve, rescue," here, "save/preserve from eternal death" (BDAG 982, 2aα).

[199] "Bring to completion" (ESV, NRSV), "carry on to completion" (NIV), "perform" (KJV) is epiteleō, "to finish something begun, end, bring to an end, finish" (BDAG 383, 1).

[200] "Keep you strong" (NIV), "sustain" (ESV), "strengthen" (NRSV), "confirm" (KJV) is the verb bebaioō, "to make a person firm in commitment, establish, strengthen" (BDAG 173, 2).

[201] "Make ... firm" (NIV), "strengthen" (NIV, NRSV, ESV) is the Greek verb sthenoō, "strengthen, make strong" (BDAG 922), from the noun sthenos, "strength."

Copyright © 2022, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

Sign up now!To be notified about future articles, stories, and Bible studies, why don't you subscribe to our free newsletter,The Joyful Heart, by placing your e-mail address in the box below. We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.
FirstLast
E-mail
Country(2-letter abbreviation, such as US)
Preferred FormatHTML (recommended) Plain text