In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. Last time we learnt that a Christian cannot fall away – a Christian always stays a Christian. But why does a Christian always persevere in the faith?
The Bible teaches us that the unchangeable love of God guarantees that believers remain believers.
The Bible often speaks of the wonderful love of God towards his people. For example, the prophet Jeremiah says: ‘The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’ (Jeremiah 31:3).
The apostle Paul also reminds the church in Ephesus that it is the love of God that saved Christians from sin and raised them up with Christ: ‘3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:3-7). God has seated Christians with Christ and he has done so for the sake of his loving kindness. If Christians fall away, God’s love will be tarnished in the coming ages.
The love of God is also perfectly displayed in the death of Christ. John’s first epistle is all about the love of God and the love Christians should have for one another. Thus John writes: ‘8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 4:8-10). This means that if God loves Christians enough to send his Son to die for them, he will always give his people exactly what they need to persevere. Paul says: ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). If the love of God extends to giving his Son, then the love of God will continue to extend to keeping his people safe for all eternity.
And if that is not enough to convince you of the unending love of God, study the book of Hosea. The prophet Hosea and his relationship with his adulterous wife is used to show the never ending love of God for his people. God says through Hosea: ’19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD’ (Hosea 2:19-20).
So do you trust in God and know that his love has saved you? And if you have trusted in God, do you know that you can’t fall away because of his great love?