As a younger Christian I was troubled with the question, can I be saved one day but lost the next? I knew I was saved, but then I would sin and would be plagued with the thought, “I must not be saved now. I will never reach heaven!” My problem—though I didn’t know it back then—was a problem about perseverance. I knew Christ was able to save me, but was He able to keep me? I had a He-did-His-part-now-I-must-do-mine kind of mentality.
Our text today deals with the theme of perseverance. The words “continued steadfastly” mean to persevere or continue on. Remember, the disciples had been added unto Christ in salvation; therefore it was impossible for them to totally or finally fall away from the state of grace and true holiness. There are some mistaken views on this theme. We should know that the perseverance of the saints does not mean that a Christian will never sin again while he lives on earth. It means he will never completely fall from the state of grace and thus fail to attain to eternal salvation.
Furthermore, this does not mean that the believer earns heaven or deserves heaven because he has persevered. This is not the basis of our hope, for that would make it a salvation by works and destroy the basis of assurance. We should not imagine that our continuance in the faith depends solely upon us—it is in Christ.
The perseverance of the saints is not dependent on human strength, but it is, as Loius Berkhof stated, “that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart is continued and brought to completion.” Now that’s a truth worth rejoicing in!