It is one thing for the ship to weigh her anchor and spread he spotless canvas to the breeze, and sail away with pennants flying and hearts and hopes beating high with expectation. It is another thing to meet the howling tempest and the angry sea and to enter the distant port. The first experience many - perhaps most of us - have begun, but what will the issues be? And what promises do we have for the voyage and the haven? How will all this seem tomorrow, and tomorrow, and six months from now, when the practical tests of life will have proved our theories and measured the real living power of our principles of life and action?
We have been sanctified wholly: how shall we be preserved blameless? Thank God, there is the same provision for both, and to both the closing promise applies: "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Let us look at God's provision for His consecrated people and the conditions on which these promises depend.
The Promise of Our Preservation
We find it in the Old Testament benediction: "The Lord bless you and keep you" (Numbers 6:24). We find it again and again in the psalms and prophets: "The Lord watches over you" (Psalm 121:5); "The Lord will keep you from all harm" (Psalm 121:7); "The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (Psalm 121:8). Even to poor, vacillating Jacob He swears, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15). Of His vineyard He declares: "I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it" (Isaiah 27:3). "He will guard the feet of his saints" (1 Samuel 2:9). Hannah sings in her song of triumph. And even in our halting, David declares that "though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand" (Psalm 37:24).
For those who abide in closer fellowship, Isaiah declares, "you will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3). This was also the Saviour's prayer before He left the disciples: "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one" (John 17:11); "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one" (John 17:15).
Peter declares that we "through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). Paul tells that "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). And Jude dedicated his Epistle "To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:1 and closes with a doxology to Him who is "able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy" (Jude 1:24). The apostle Paul open his last Epistle with the triumphant confession: "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12), and closes with the yet bolder declaration, and "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18). Such then, are some of the promises of God's preserving grace.
The Provision Made for Our Preservation
It is made in the atonement of Christ. "Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:14). The death of Christ has purchased our complete and final salvation if we are wholly yielded to Him and do not willfully take ourselves out of His hands and renounce His grace and faithfulness.
It is continued by the intercession of Christ. "Therefore he is able to save completely [or, as is in the margin, forever] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). It is because He always lives to intercede that they are kept; because He lives we shall live also.
~A. B. Simpson~
(continued with # 16)