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Doctrine of Perseverance

July 23, 2010

Doctrine of Perseverance

Definition and Description
Perseverance is steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state. The believer who perseveres is one
who is faithfully obedient to the Word of God. He is persistent in executing the Father’s will for his life. God the
Holy Spirit produces perseverance in the believer when the believer is applying the Word of God, which is the mind
of Christ. The believer who exchanges his pre-salvation Adamic-life for the post-salvation Christ-life will manifest
this characteristic. Perseverance is continuing in a state of grace to the end of his life. Perseverance suggests activity
maintained in spite of difficulties, steadfast and long continued application. It is remaining faithful and obedient to
the Word of God despite the obstacles in life such as the old sin nature, self, the cosmic system of Satan.
Perseverance is being steadfast and faithful in applying the Word of God despite the many obstacles and cares of life
in the cosmic system of Satan. It being steadfast in picking up one’s cross daily and being willing to experience
identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. The believer must have this characteristic in his life, which
is produced by God the Holy Spirit in order to; overcome the various difficulties and obstacles in life. This is why
the Christian way of life is characterized as a race to be run (1 Co. 9:24; He. 12:1; 2 Ti. 4:7). It is also described in
Scripture as a struggle or athletic contest to be fought (1 Th. 2:2; 1 Ti. 4:9; 6:12; 2 Ti. 2:5; He. 10:32). There are
other terms such as labor or toil or work (1 Co. 3:8; 15:58; 2 Co. 11:27; 1 Th. 2:9; 2 Th. 3:8). The Word of God also
characterizes the Christian way of life as testing or trials (Ja. 1:2-4; 1 Pe. 1:6; 4:12). No believer can continue to run
in the race, stand firm in the adversities of life, perform Christian service or handle the trials of life without
perseverance.
Fruit of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit produces perseverance in the believer. It is one of the characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The believer who applies the mind of Christ will have the life of Christ, which is eternal life. When the believer
applies the mind of Christ, the Holy Spirit is permitted to produce the characteristic of perseverance in the believer.
In Galatians 5:22 is denoted by the noun makrothumia. The Spirit is able to produce Christ-like character in the
believer when he is filled with the Spirit. The Greek word for “fruit” is the word karpos, which is in the singular.
The “fruit” of the Spirit is 9-fold. There are 9 different manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit and not 9 “fruits” of
the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit produces fruit in the believer. It is not the fruit of the believer, but the fruit of the
Spirit. The believer must be filled with the Spirit and walk by means of the Spirit in order for the Holy Spirit to
produce Christ-like character in the believer’s life. The filling of the Spirit is noted in Ephesians 5:18 and walking
by means of the Spirit is noted in Galatians 5:16. The filling of the Spirit deals with the believer’s actions whereas
the walking by means of the Spirit deals with his actions. The believer must first be filled with the Spirit before he
can walk by means of the Spirit. It takes place in the life of the believer who acknowledges any known sin (1 Jn.
1:9), which permits the Holy Spirit to influence his soul in order to produce Christ-like character. The characteristics
which are related to self: (1) Agape (a)gavph), “virtue-love” (2) Chara (xarav), “contentment” (3) Eirene (ei)rhvnh),
“soul prosperity” Characteristics which are related to people: (1) Makrothumia (makroqumiva), “Patientendurance”
(2) Chrestotes (xrhstovth$), “Integrity” (3) Agathosune (a)gaqwsuvnh), “Generosity” Characteristics
which are related to God: (1) Pistis (pivsti$), “Faithfulness” (2) Praotes (praovth$), “Humility” (3) Enkrateia
(e)gkravteia), “Discipline.”
Prayer
The Scriptures state that the believer must persevere in prayer. Prayer is the responsibility, privilege and
invisible spiritual weapon of the believer’s royal priesthood. It functions efficaciously under the Filling of the Spirit
in accordance with the will, purpose and plan of God the Father. Prayer is an expression of confidence and total
dependence in the character and integrity of God to meet one’s spiritual and temporal needs and desires on the basis
of the personal merits and finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross resulting in the glorification of God in the
angelic conflict. The believer is commanded many times to persevere in prayer (Matt. 7:7-8; 26:39-44; Luke 11:9-
10; 18:1-8; 21:36; Rom. 12:12; 15:30; Acts 1:14; 6:4; 12:5;
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Spiritual Race
The Scriptures employ the track and field or foot race analogy many times. It is used to characterize the spiritual
life. The believer must persevere in his walk with the Lord if he is to win the race and receive a reward from the
Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat Evaluation. The footrace occupies the largest place in the imagery of the apostle,
as it was the contest in which of all the Grecian games aroused the deepest interest and the keenest excitement. In
his addresses reported in Acts, Paul alludes to the foot-race, describing John the Baptist as “fulfilling his course,”
and speaking of himself as counting not even life dear unto him that he may finish course with joy (Acts 20:24). In
his very 1st epistles he asks the prayers of the Thessalonians that the word of the Lord may run (treche) and be
glorified (2 Th. 3:1).
In his last, when the crown is full in view, he writes to Timothy, saying, “I have fought the noble fight of
doctrine” (ton kalon agona): “I have finished the course” (ton dromon) (2 Ti. 4:7-8). His whole career as an apostle
and as a follower of Christ, and that of his converts, is a race. He is anxious “lest by any means he should run or
had run in vain” (Ga. 2:2). He is confident that he will rejoice “in the day of Christ” (Phlp. 2:16). In the epistles to
the Philippians and the Corinthians his employment of the imagery of the games reaches its highest point (1 Co.
9:24-27; Phlp. 3:12-14). The imagery in these passages is unusually full and rich. The strenuous, exciting, and
definite purpose of the runner, the self-control imposed during the period of training, with the punishment of the
body to make it more fit, the prize, the crown, the reward of the victor, the call to the contest and the proclamation of
the conditions, the chance of final disgrace if these are not properly observed (2 Ti. 2:15), are all set forth with a
vividness that must have brought home powerfully and impressively, to those who were familiar with the Isthmian
and Olympian games, the lessons of Christian instruction which the apostle wished to convey. The winner in this
race must be occupied with Christ in order to attain his goal of spiritual maturity and receive rewards at the Bema
Seat Evaluation (Heb. 12:1-2). The believer is to lay aside every hindrance (acknowledging sin) in order to achieve
victory in this spiritual marathon.
The Christian way of life is a spiritual marathon and thus requires endurance (Heb. 12:1). Just as the eye of the
runner in the ancient athletic running events had to fix his eye on the square pillar that he must reach so must the
believer fix his eyes on the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union Who pioneered the spiritual life during His 1st
Advent. Paul employed running as a metaphor several times in his epistles (1 Co. 9:24-26; Ga. 2:2; Phlp. 2:16). He
wanted to make absolutely sure that the course he was pursuing or had pursued was not in vain (Gal. 2:2; Phlp.
2:16). Paul was totally occupied with Christ in the spiritual marathon in order to win the imperishable crown or
wreath that God had reserved for him in heaven (1 Co. 9:24-26; Phil. 3:14). The runner in the ancient track and field
events would be disqualified if he broke the rules of training or the race itself and the same applies to the believer in
the Church Age who does not adhere to the rules of the plan of God. The believer is disqualified from receiving
rewards for the things he has done in his physical body if he failed to produce divine good which is accomplished by
consistently being filled with the Spirit and applying Word of God. The believer must be trained by his pastorteacher
just as the runner in the ancient games was trained (gumnazo) (1 Tim. 4:7).
The pastor-teacher is to faithfully communicate the mechanics of the spiritual life to the believer (Eph. 4:12-16).
The believer will receive an imperishable wreath or crown at the Bema Seat Evaluation of Christ just as the runner
in the ancient world received a perishable wreath or crown in the ancient games. Every believer is entered into the
spiritual marathon at the moment of salvation and thus has equal privilege and equal opportunity to win and receive
rewards at the Bema Seat Evaluation of Christ (Ga. 3:26-28). The starting line of the spiritual marathon is thus at the
moment of salvation and the finish line is the execution of the plan of God. The goal of the Christian way of life is to
be identified with Christ in His death and resurrection experientially which is the direct result of gaining Christlikeness
or Christ-like character and integrity.
The apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 employs a track and field metaphor to describe his attitude as a mature
believer at the time of writing regarding his spiritual status. He uses the image of a runner sprinting for the finish
line, fixing his eyes upon the stone pillar, which marks the end of the race. The stone pillar is analogous to Christ,
which spurs him on to greater exertion. He relates that in the same way that the winner of the race in the ancient
world received a prize so the winner believer will receive rewards for executing the plan of God. Planet earth is the
stadium where the contest takes place and the angels are those who viewing the contest.
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Spiritual Combat
Every believer in the Church Age has been enlisted as a soldier of Christ Jesus in order to engage in spiritual
combat with the kingdom of darkness with the ultimate objective being the glorification of God in the angelic
conflict. The Christian soldier must persevere in order to experience victory in spiritual combat. The Scriptures
portray the Christian way of life as a contest or conflict, which each believer should be enduring if they attain
spiritual adulthood. The Greek New Testament employs the noun agon and the verb agonizomai in order to express
the concept of spiritual warfare. Agon refers to an intense struggle, involving physical or nonphysical force against
strong opposition. It is used for the intense spiritual combat that the pneumatikos believer will engage in with the
kingdom of darkness which will result in undeserved suffering as a soldier of Christ Jesus (Eph. 6:11-18; 1 Tim.
6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). The word refers to any struggle with dangers, annoyances, obstacles, standing in the way of the
believer’s advancement spiritually or spiritual growth. It refers to any conflict which the believer has in life that
attempts to hinder their advancement in the spiritual life or the spiritual growth which will result in rewards at the
Bema Seat Evaluation, the conveyance of escrow blessings of both time and eternity as a winner (nikao) believer.
Agon refers to the believer’s battle with those who oppose the communication of doctrine, which includes
reversionistic believers, or unregenerate humanity who are employed by the kingdom of darkness to hinder the
believer’s advance in the spiritual life. Both the noun and the verb are used as an athletic metaphors in the NT (1
Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1). They are also used in military metaphors in the NT (Phil. 1:30; 1 Tim. 6:12).
The Lord has given the believer spiritual armor (Eph. 6:11, 14-17), and spiritual weapons to fight this spiritual
warfare (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Spiritual combat demands that the believer have proper knowledge in the use of their spiritual weapons and
equipment (Eph. 6:11-18). The believer’s failure to understand the proper use of their weapons and equipment will
result in the believer becoming a spiritual casualty or entering into cowardice resulting in the believer going AWOL
from the plan of God. “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God” in spiritual combat (Eph. 6:17; Hb. 4:12). The
Filling of the Spirit and metabolized doctrine circulating in the believer’s stream of consciousness combine to form
the only weapon that can defeat Satan and the kingdom of darkness in the angelic conflict. Invisible God plus
invisible power plus invisible assets equals an invisible hero.
Spiritual Rewards
The believer who perseveres in life is characterized by the Scriptures as one who overcomes (Rv. 2:7, 11, 17).
The over comer will receive rewards from the Lord Jesus Christ for his perseverance at the Bema Seat. Rewards will
be distributed immediately after the Rapture or resurrection of the Church at the Bema Seat Evaluation, which will
be conducted by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bema Seat is the evaluation of the church age believers works. It will take place in the earth’s atmosphere
(1 Thess. 4:14-17). 2 Corinthians 5:8 states that every church age believer must “appear before the judgment seat of
Christ.” This is judgment is not to determine salvation which was already accomplished for every believer at the
moment of personal faith in Jesus Christ on earth. This judgment is an evaluation of the believer’s works whether
they were done with proper motivation from the application of metabolized doctrine under the enabling power of
God the Holy Spirit or from the power of the old sin nature (2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:11-15). God will only accept that
which was performed by His power and not the old sin nature. A perfect God can only accept that which is
performed by perfect power, therefore, the believer must perform his good deeds by applying the Word of God
while filled with the Spirit. The believer who executes the plan of God through the application of doctrine under the
energizing power of God the Holy Spirit will receive rewards at the Bema Seat Evaluation. The loser believer’s will
remain in the earth’s atmosphere until the winner believer’s have been acknowledged before the Father in heaven.
The winners receive the conveyance of their Escrow blessings for the eternal state. The Bema Seat Evaluation is the
mature believer’s confidence (1 John 2:28; 4:17). Only mature believers receive the conveyance of their Escrow
blessings for the eternal state (Rev. 22:12). Losers experience temporary shame and embarrassment (Rom. 5:5; Phil.
1:20; Phil. 3:18-19). Loss of Escrow blessings and rewards for the eternal state does not imply loss of salvation (1
Cor. 3:14-15; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). The following rewards are the believer’s escrow blessings for eternity and they will
be presented by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat Evaluation: (1) ‘incorruptible crown” (aphtharton
stephanon). Describes the nature of all crowns given to the over comers. It contrasts our crowns with the temporal
and temporary treasure of this life. It is also a special crown given for faithfulness in running the race and
exercising self-control in order to serve the Lord and finish the race. Documentation: 1 Cor. 9:25. (2) “crown of
righteousness” (Tes dikaiosunes stephanos). This is given to the believer who executes the plan of God for the
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church age. It represents a tremendous amount of privileges and responsibilites during the millennium and eternal
state. Documentation: 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (3) “incorruptible crown of glory” (Ton amarntinon tes doxes stephanon).
This is given to the Pastor-Teacher who was faithful in communicating the mystery doctrine for the church age.
Documentation: 1 Peter 5:4 (4) “order of the morning star” Reigning with Christ in a position of authority during
His millennial reign and throughout all of eternity. Documentation: Revelation 2:28. (5) “crown of life” (ton
stephano tes zoes) This crown is given to the believer who passes Evidence Testing as a witness for the Prosecution
in the rebuttal phase of Satan’s appeal trial. Documentation: James 1:12; Rv. 2:10. (6) “crown of rejoicing”
stephanos kaucheseos Soul winners crown. Documentation: 1 Thess. 2:19-20. (7) The “hidden manna” in
Revelation 2:17 refers to the special intimate access to the Person of Christ during His millennial reign and
throughout all of eternity and will be given only to the over comer or winner believer. Manna is called food from
heaven (Ps. 78:24). In John 6:48-51 the Lord spoke of Himself as the true bread from heaven that gives eternal life
in contrast with the manna of the OT. The new title on the white stone in Revelation 2:17 refers to the privilege of
having intimate access to the Person of Christ during His millennial reign and throughout all of eternity which will
be exclusively to the over comer. The winner believer will have his name recorded in the historical record section of
heaven (Rev. 3:12). The winner believer will be acknowledged (homologeo) before God the Father in heaven by the
Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:5). The winner believer will rule with Christ during the Millennium (Rom. 5:17; 8:14; 2
Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26; 3:21).
.2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries