Chapter 18: Why Believers Persevere

THE HOPE which filled the heart of Paul concerning the Corinthian brethren we have already seen to be full of comfort to those who trembled as to their future. But why was it that he believed that the brethren would be strengthened unto the end?

I want you to notice that he gives his reasons. Here they are:
'God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.' (1Corinthians 1:9)
The apostle does not say, "You are faithful." Alas! the faithfulness of man is a very unreliable affair; it is mere vanity. He does not say, "You have faithful ministers to lead and guide you, and therefore I trust you will be safe." Oh, no! if we are kept by men we shall be but ill kept. He puts it, "God is faithful."
If we are found faithful, it will be because God is faithful. On the faithfulness of our promise-keeping God the whole burden of our salvation must rest. On this glorious attribute of God the matter hinges. We are as variable as the wind, frail as a spider's web, weak as water. No dependence can be placed upon our natural qualities, or our spiritual attainments; but God is always faithful. He is faithful in His love; He knows no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is faithful to His purpose; He does not begin a work and then leave it undone. He is faithful to His relationships; as a Father He will not renounce His children, as a friend He will not deny His people, as a Creator He will not forsake the work of His own hands. He is faithful to His promises, and will never allow one of them to fail to a single believer. He is faithful to His covenant, which He has made with us in Jesus - that covenant which was ratified with the blood of His Son. He is faithful to His Son, and will not allow His precious blood to be spilled in vain. He is faithful to His people to whom He has promised eternal life, and from whom He will not turn away.
This faithfulness of God is the foundation and cornerstone of our hope of final perseverance. Believers shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace. He perseveres to bless, and therefore believers persevere in being blessed. He continues to keep His people, and therefore they continue to keep His commandments. This is good solid ground to rest upon, and it is delightfully consistent with the original title of this little book, "all of grace." Thus it is free favor and infinite mercy which ring in the dawn of salvation, and the same sweet bells sound melodiously through the whole day of grace.
You see that the only reasons for hoping that we shall be strengthened to the end, and be found blameless at the last, are found in our God; but in Him these reasons are exceedingly abundant.
They lie first, in what God has done. He has gone so far in blessing us that it is not possible for Him to run back. Paul reminds us that He has "called us into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ." Has he called us? Then the call cannot be reversed; "for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Rom 11:29). From the effectual call of His grace the Lord never turns. "those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified:" this is the invariable rule of the divine procedure.
There is a common call, of which it is said, "Many are called, but few are chosen," but this of which we are now thinking is another kind of call, which indicates a special kind of love, and necessitates the possession of that to which we are called. In this case it is with the called one even as with Abraham's seed, of whom the Lord said, "I have called you from the ends of the earth, and I said to you, You are my servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away."
In what the Lord has done, we see strong reasons for our preservation and future glory, because the Lord has called us into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ. In other words, into partnership with Jesus Christ, and I would have you carefully consider what this means. If you are indeed called by divine grace, you have come into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and this means that you are joint-owner with Him in all things. From this time on you are one with Him in the sight of the Most High. The Lord Jesus bare your sins in His own body on the tree, being made a curse for you; and at the same time He has become your righteousness, so that you are justified in Him. You are Christ's and Christ is yours. As Adam stood for his descendants, so does Jesus stand for all who are in Him. As husband and wife are one, so is Jesus one with all those who are united to Him by faith; one by a marriage union which can never be broken.
More than this, believers are members of the Body of Jesus, and so are one with Him by a loving, living, lasting union. God has called us into this union, this fellowship, this partnership, and by this very fact He has given us the token and pledge of our being confirmed to the end.
If we were considered apart from Jesus we should be poor perishable units, soon dissolved and carried away to destruction; but being one with Jesus we are made partakers of His nature, and we are endowed with His immortal life. Our destiny is linked with that of our Lord, and until He can be destroyed it is not possible that we should perish.
Dwell much upon this partnership with the Son of God, into which you have been called: for all your hope lies there. You can never be poor while Jesus is rich, since you are in company with Him. Want can never assail you, since you are joint-proprietor with Him who is Possessor of Heaven and earth. You can never fail; for though one of the partners in the company is as poor as a church mouse, and in himself an utter bankrupt, who could not pay even a small amount of his heavy debts, yet the other partner is inconceivably, inexhaustibly rich.
In such partnership you are raised above the depression of the times, the changes of the future, and the shock of the end of all things. The Lord has called you into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, and by that act and deed He has put you into the place of infallible safeguard.
If you are indeed a believer you are one with Jesus, and therefore you are secure. Do you not see that it must be so? You must be strengthened to the end until the day of His appearing, if you have indeed been made one with Jesus by the irrevocable act of God. Jesus and the believing sinner are in the same boat: unless Jesus sinks, the believer will never drown - and Jesus will never sink. Jesus has taken His redeemed into such connection with himself, that He Himself will have to first be smitten, overcome, and dishonored, before the least of His purchased ones can be injured. His name is at the head of the company, and until His name can be dishonored we are secure against all dread of failure.
So, then, with the utmost confidence let us go forward into the unknown future, linked eternally with Jesus. If the men of the world should cry, "Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" we will joyfully confess that we do lean on Jesus, and that we mean to lean on Him more and more. Our faithful God is an ever-flowing well of delight, and our fellowship with the Son of God is a full river of joy. Knowing these glorious things we cannot be discouraged: no, rather we cry with the apostle, "Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?"


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