Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
Another nugget of gold from Paul Washer’s “Gospel Assurance & Warnings”:
“The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is not a license for sin or a means of giving false assurance of salvation to the carnal and ungodly. Yes, the doctrine affirms that God keeps those He saves, but it also affirms that He transforms those He keeps. The genuine believer has assurance of salvation not only because of a past profession of faith but also because of the ongoing work of God in His life that continues to transform him into the image of Christ. The person who professes faith in Christ and yet bears no evidence of faith, a divine work of regeneration, or the continuing work of divine providence can have little assurance of eternal life. This is not because he has lost a salvation he once possessed but because he is demonstrating that he never possessed the salvation he claims.” (Chapter 9, “Remaining in the Church,” pg 93)
I think this is a helpful summary of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which is probably more accurately described as the preservation of the saints. The born again – saints – don’t persevere to the end because they are strong and faithful, but because the God who infallibly undertakes to preserve them is all-strong and all-faithful.