Week 4 - Kept by God

The Canons of Dordt are the third of the three Confessions Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church subscribes to.  We call these three confessions the Three Forms of Unity.  Remember, a confession is a document that summarizes the Bible.  In other words, most churches say that they believe in the Bible, but confessional churches can say that not only do we believe in the Bible, but here's what we believe the Bible says.

The Canons of Dordt are sometimes called the doctrines of grace.  They are commonly referred to by either the acronym TULIP or FAITH.  The Canons deal with the difficult topic of God's sovereignty in our salvation.

 

This week we will cover the last point, which is the most important to remember: Since we know that God chose you to be His own, He will never let you go.

5) Perseverance of the Saints

  1. Those whom God has called into Christ, and regenerated, he also delivers from the dominion of sin, while in this life there remain the infirmities of the flesh.

  2. The weakness of the flesh and daily sin causes even the best works of the saints to be blemished with sin in order to humble men and drive them to Christ for refuge. The result must be mortification of the flesh, piety, and a striving for the goal of perfection which will be reached after this life.

  3. Believers, because of this indwelling sin, could not remain faithful if left to themselves. It is God who is faithful to mercifully confirm and powerfully to preserve the saints, even to the end.

  4. Man in the weakness of his flesh must be watchful and prayerful that he will not reject the influence that God exerts in his life, and thereby fall into great sin. Although the saints backslide, they are not ultimately lost (cf. David and Peter).

  5. When the saints fall into grave sin, their faith is weakened and they lose their sense of God’s favor until they repent and turn to God again.

  6. God does not change His purpose of election and allow sinners to utterly fall away by withdrawing His Holy Spirit, thus allowing them to fall into everlasting destruction.

  7. God does not remove the seed of regeneration (the Holy Spirit), and by His Word and Holy Spirit works repentance in the hearts of those He has elected that they might return humbly unto Him in faith.

  8. It is not by the merits or strength of man, but by the free mercy of God that man does not totally fall away from God and perish. Man, left to himself would surely perish eternally, but God never deserts His chosen ones nor revokes His eternal purpose.

  1. Why is it so critical that our salvation depends upon God's strength and not ours?

  1. Believers do obtain the assurance of faith which says that they will forever be members of the Church, have forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life.
     

  2. Assurance of salvation comes from faith in the promises of the Gospel, which are worked in us by the Word and the Spirit of God, and from a holy desire to preserve a good conscience and perform good works.
     

  3. What work God has begun by the preaching of the Gospel, He will perfect by the hearing and reading of the Word, by meditations, teachings, warnings, by promises of the Word, and by the holy sacraments.
     

  4. Believers struggle with various carnal doubts and do not always feel the full force of this assurance, but God will never tempt them above their ability to bear it, but makes for them a way of escape; also the Holy Spirit works assurance in us.
     

  5. This doctrine of perseverance (that the saints may never be lost) does not work pride in man, but works humility, reverence, piety, patience, prayer, endurance in suffering, confession of the truth, and rejoicing.
     

  6. Those who are recovered from backsliding are not filled with pride, but take greater care lest they be allowed to fall into more grievous torment and God turn His face from them again.
    The carnal (unconverted) mind is not able to comprehend this doctrine, and thus mock and ridicule it, but the saints of God take great comfort in it.

Answer all of the questions.  Start a new comment for each answer, and begin your answer with the question number.
  1. What does it mean that God will cause you to 'persevere'? (1)
     
  2. What responsibilities do you have to help increase your assurance of salvation? (2, 3)
     
  3. What do you think 'carnal doubts' are? (4)
     
  4. What attitude should you have since you know that God will always keep you? (5)

Step 1 - Pastor Jelmer's lesson on What Is Worship

Step 2 - Canons of Dordt - Part 2

Step 3 - Canons of Dordt - What does this mean to you?

Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church

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