29 July 2000

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us"-Luke 1:1 We conclude our exposition of "those things which are most surely believed among us" with a brief view of the glorious doctrine which concerns the preservation of the Saints. This doctrine highlights the fact that all of the elect of God shall be kept by God and shall be eternally saved; though they may walk in darkness and disobedience, losing their joy of their salvation in their timely existence, they can never be lost eternally. Jude addresses his epistle to such a people: "to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and Called." I can think of nothing that comforts God's people more than knowing they are in Christ Jesus and that they shall never be removed from such a position. How did they get in Christ? They were chosen "in Him before the foundation of the world"(Ephesians 1:4). The word preserved means to watch or guard by keeping the eye upon. Indeed, Christ knows His beloved, those that He died for. His eye is constantly upon the objects of His grace. As the mother tenderly watches over her young, so Christ watches over His offspring. If our obedience places us in this position, then our disobedience will send us far from it and we will find ourselves in and out of this position every day; every hour; every minute; with every unclean thought and action. Surely, such a people could not be preserved as Jude has prescribed. I will give you five reasons that we may embrace and find security in this wonderful doctrine: (1) Because of God's power or omnipotence. Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand"-John 10:27-29. If you can find a hand bigger and stronger than God's the Saints might find cause to worry. But I am certain you will not. As the song goes, "He's got the whole world, in His hands." The names of His people are graven on the palms of his hands, "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me"-Isaiah 49:16. Whatever He lifts His mighty hands to do, His people are constantly before His eyes. (2) Because of His everlasting covenant. David's last words reveal the comfort he found in this doctrine: "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow"-2 Samuel 23:5. When David spoke of his house, he spoke of his life. It had not been in order. In the 51 psalm, he wrote of his sin with Bathsheba and said, "my sin is ever before me." His peace came not from his performance, but rather in God's performance of His everlasting covenant. David saw it as "ordered and sure". Nothing could be added to it and nothing taken from it. He felt preserved. (3) Because of God's Love. When we speak of everlasting, we must speak of God's love. This is a mark of preservation as well. Jeremiah viewed God's love as everlasting, "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee"-Jerimiah 31:3. Everlasting has no beginning or end. It is as timeless as God. (4) Because of the power of His blood: "when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt"-Exodus 12:13. When God looks upon His children, He sees them through the blood of Christ that has canceled the sin debt. (5) Because of His faithfulness. Peter did not boast in His own faithfulness. He, too, remembered the time he denied his Lord. He boasted in God's faithfulness. He wrote that we are, "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time"-1 Peter 1:5. That is not our faith, it is God's. It is his fidelity; his love; and a perpetual reminder that God will never let His people down. They are preserved in Christ! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor