is there any clear example of situation or happening in the Bible that clearly demonstrates Philippians 2:12-13 brother? I’m thrilled to see that unfold through Biblical stories.
Good question! I can’t think of any stories about this, since the language in this text is NT language, and so doesn’t occur in OT stories, to my knowledge. (But someone can feel free to correct me if they have an example!)
One text that illustrates perseverance is Jesus’ parable of the sower in Luke 8. I was recently struck by the wording of this verse in the CSB, where Jesus describes the good soil (I’ve bolded the key part): “The seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit” (Luke 8:15). Notice that those who have life will “hold on to” what Jesus calls “the word” (the gospel), and will “produce fruit” by means of “enduring.”
Does this (condition of their salvation) mean that perseverance of the saints is the proof or evidence that a person is genuinely saved?
In a way, yes. Persevering in faith in Christ proves that you are converted, and are genuinely saved.
But there’s more to it than that: Persevering in faith in Christ is a condition for going to Heaven, and not to Hell. That is, if someone abandons faith in Jesus, shifting “from the hope of the gospel” (Col 1:23), they will not go to Heaven. Paul even tells Christians, “Don’t abandon Jesus, or you will go to Hell.”
Now, it is impossible for someone who is truly born again to abandon Jesus and be separated from his love, to be removed from his hand and his Father’s hand, and go to Hell. But this doesn’t mean that we who have believed in Jesus can relax and just coast to Heaven, because God calls us in his Word to act, to deliberately hold on to Jesus. Not that we must keep ourselves saved; rather, our clinging to Christ is the means by which God preserves us and holds on to us. This is like Philippians 2:13-14. God uses warnings like the one in Colossians 1 to strengthen us, to ensure that we do hold on to Christ, and do not abandon him.
Can you give us list of verses that really give clear message of the perseverance of the saints brother? So that when other people confuse believers like us about this doctrine by giving us hard verses that seem to show the opposite of this doctrine,then we will have something to hold on to.
I’d be glad to give you a list, Mildred. Here are some Scriptures that have help me understand perseverance:
- Col 1:21-23
Paul states that these believers (see 1:2) have been reconciled (v. 22), but only “if” they “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (v. 23). Thus Paul makes their perseverance in trusting in Jesus a condition of their final salvation. This is not a condition for justification, which is by faith alone, but for entering Heaven at the end of life. (Remember Spurgeon’s illustration about God using these warnings to enable his children to persevere; this doctrine doesn’t fight against the truth of the eternal security of each believer. It does fight against the idea that someone can pray a prayer and is then eternally secure, regardless of how they live afterward.)
- Phil 2:13-14
These verses state that it is our responsibility to work, to work out the realities of our salvation. But we can only do this because God is the one producing this work in us. It is not that we work instead of God working; no, God’s work is under our work. God’s work doesn’t invalidate or remove the need for our work; God’s work enables and empowers and ensures our work.
- Heb 12:14
Again, the author of this book is writing to believers (see Heb 3:1). And he tells them that there is a holiness, a righteousness present in one’s life, that is necessary for someone to “see the Lord.” Justification is by faith, but those who are justified must walk along the pathway of holiness. Heaven is at the end of this pathway, and only those who walk on it reach its gates. This necessitates our pursuit of holiness, of sanctification.
Lord, please make us listeners. Help us to love your counsel and reproof. Let us not be scoffers, fools or simple.
There is quite a contrast here, isn’t there!
I love summarizing the main points of passages, so I wanted to give it a shot here. To borrow the language of Arcing, the emphasis of 29-32 is verse 31, as the Inference of verses 29-30, and which is supported by 32. Then there’s an Alternative in verse 33.
So here’s my summary: Turning away from God’s counsel will kill you (29-32), but embracing God’s counsel will give you abundant life (33).
The application to us is clear. It reminds me of Moses’ words to Israel: “Therefore choose life” (Deut 30:19). We need grace from God for this, since our sinful hearts love to drink poision and to run, lemming-like, off the cliffs of rebellion.
As with 1 Timothy 2:8-15, I’m approaching this passage because I want to know what God’s Word teaches for how men and women, specifically, should live. What does the Bible teach about gender roles?
“Enrolled” shows us that Paul is talking about a list of widows; verses 4, 8, 16 show that this list is of widows for whom the church provides financially.
The big relationship here is Conditional, followed by a threefold Series.
Verses 9a-10a: For a widow to be added to the list, she must first be elderly; she must have been faithful to her husband, and have been committed to godly living.
“The qualifications taken together depict one who is clearly past the time one usually remarries and past an age where she is likely to be able to care for herself” (Knight 225).
That 9c doesn’t mean a widow must have been married only once; after all, “the permission to remarry (v. 14) points the other way; the writer would scarcely exclude from the official list a widow who on his advice had remarried and again became a widow” (Lock, in Knight, 223).
Verses 10b-f: By godly living, Paul means raising children, being hospitable, serving fellow believers, helping those in need, and, in fact, being devoted to every good work.
The first qualification is regarding a woman’s family; the remaining three are outside (see Knight 224).
“So a church may have a list of elderly and godly widows who have no one else to care for them and who commit themselves to serving Christ. The church commits itself to assist these widows and in turn may ask them to perform certain tasks as need arises. … [T]he church enters into this permanent arrangement only with certain qualified widows and with mutually accepted commitments and possible responsibilities. … The teaching of the passage is…that the church only provides for widows when families do not” (Knight, 222-23).
“The significance of the criterion of age—at least sixty years old—is borne out by its appearing first (v. 9), by the emphatic way in which it is stated (μὴ ἔλαττον), and by its reiteration (v. 11)” (Knight, 222).
The big relationship here is Inference, followed by a twofold Progression.
“Younger widows are counseled to marry again and avoid the difficulties that can arise for themselves, their families, and the church once they are on the list (vv. 11–15)” (Knight, 222).
Verses 11b-12b: What does it mean to be drawn “away from Christ”?
“The meaning of the uncompounded form expresses the strong impulse of sexual desire, which naturally makes such young widows ‘want to marry.’ This desire to marry means that they will need to set aside or annul the commitment they have made to serve Christ as widows” (Knight, 226).
“Vv. 11 and 12 indicate that remarriage itself for any ‘enrolled’ younger widows carries with it an inherent turning from Christ and an inherent ‘judgment.’ But v. 14 makes it clear that remarriage before being “enrolled” does not carry that inherent judgment. The difference is that younger widows, by being ‘enrolled,’ have taken a ‘pledge’ that they would ‘break’ by marrying, and thus would ‘incur judgment’” (Knight, 226).
It is important to notice that “[t]he danger of this broken “pledge” is Paul’s first reason for insisting that the church “refuse” (παραιτοῦ) younger widows” (Knight, 227).
Verses 13a-13e: The second danger is idleness.
Young widows who are financially provided for have the temptation to misuse their leisure time gossiping (13), misusing their time, and others’ time as well (see Knight, 227).
So what does Paul recommend for younger widows? They should get married again, have children, take care of their households, and thus not give enemies (and/or Satan) the reason to slander the Christian faith because of the sinful conduct of professing Christians.
This doesn’t contradict his instructions in 1 Corinthians 7, where he recommends singleness, because for everyone to serve the Lord thus undistracted was a “wish” of his that he knew could not be fulfilled, for God only gives the gift of singleness to some (see Knight, 228).
We can extrapolate from this what is wise behavior for young women in general, I would say. Marriage, generally speaking, is God’s will for men and women. See 1 Cor 7:1-2, 6-9.
It is a shame that young people are putting off marriage longer these days than a couple or a few decades ago.
This is, after all, one of the main reasons for marriage (see Gen 1:28). But not just children - godly children (see Mal 2:15).
BDAG points out that the Letter of Diognetus uses this word to describe “a normal practice among Christians and in contrast to custom of infanticide” (994). This would also contrast the modern praise of no children (either for the planet’s sake, or for self-indulgence).
“Manage their households”
This refers to being in charge of the household. “The call for household management suggests giving guidance and direction to the household” (Lea and Griffin, 152).
This shows that the focus of a godly married woman will be her home. Not that a woman may never work outside the home. But the focus of her energies and her heart should be on her children and on her home - “homemaking” is the old term I think of to describe this.
RESULT: “[I]f the first three things are done (marry, bear children, and manage one’s home, especially the first), then ‘no occasion for reproach’ is left to be given” (Knight, 229). This would keep young widows from wasting their lives.
APPLICATION: Widows are praised here if they have raised children and have served others. Young widows should remarry, have children, and focus on ordering their households.
This means that the focus of a godly, married woman will be her family and her home. She will also focus on serving fellow believers.
Of course, extenuating circumstances can arise: there may be a scarcity of godly young men; a couple may be unable to have children; a woman may need to work to support her family. But these exceptions do not cancel the fundamental principle in play here.
So parents should bring up their girls with this end in mind: marriage and service of one’s family in the home, and service of others.
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan (1 Timothy 5:9-15 ESV).
Summary: Because the Thessalonians were being afflicted, like Paul was, he sent Timothy to the Thessalonian church so that he could strengthen them to endure afflictions, lest they be shaken from their faith in Christ.
We need to examine what two phrases mean: What does it mean to be “moved” (3a)? How would Paul’s labor “be in vain” (5d)? These are important questions for the topic of perseverance.
To be “moved” is synonymous with being tempted by Satan (5c), and have one’s faith shaken (2c-3a, 5a).
For Paul’s labor to be “in vain” would mean that Paul’s work in preaching the gospel to the Thessalonians would have been useless. In other words, it would turn out that the Thessalonians had been shaken from their faith in Christ, resulting in their eternal damnation.
So Paul thought it was a possibility that the Thessalonians be “moved” by afflictions (3a), be tempted away from their faith (5a, c) which would mean that his “labor [was] in vain” (5d). So Paul was worried that the Thessalonians, who had responded in faith to the gospel, might go to Hell!
But if they remained faithful to Christ in spite of affliction, that would prove the genuineness of their profession of faith (see Schreiner, Run to Win the Prize, Kindle ed., loc. 188-204). So the “authenticity of … faith,” to borrow Schreiner’s language, is proved “in … response to trials” (ibid.).
And believers must be exhorted to continue trusting Christ in trials, as demonstrated by the fact that Paul sent Timothy to do this (2-3a). This is the doctrine of perseverance: believers must persevere in holding tightly to Jesus no matter what comes, or they will not go to Heaven.
Justification is by faith alone, but faith is demonstrated and proved by works, by clinging to Christ, by continuing to trust in the gospel. We need to make an effort to do this, not to be lazy, especially when confronted by trials. No believer will go to Hell, but perseverance teaches us that we must not lay around and think that we can float to Heaven. God uses warnings like the implied warning in this passage to keep us, to protect us, to ensure that we will indeed to make it to Heaven, that we will work out our own salvation because of the God who works in us (Phil 2:12-13).