Bavinck on perseverance

At the last session of our Spiritual Life Conference, Tom Schreiner quoted the following from Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck. I'm posting the full quote here:

"Among the Reformed the doctrine of perseverance was very different. It is a gift of God. He watches over it and sees to it that the work of grace is continued and completed. He does not, however, do this apart from believers but through them. In regeneration and faith, he grants a grace that as such bears an inamissible [incapable of being lost] character; he grants a life that is by nature eternal; he bestows the benefits of calling, justification, and glorification that are mutually and unbreakably interconnected. All of the above-mentioned admonitions and threats that Scripture addresses to believers, therefore, do not prove a thing against the doctrine of perseverance. They are rather the way in which God himself confirms his promise and gift through believers. They are the means by which perseverance in life is realized. After all, perseverance is also not coercive but, as a gift of God, impacts humans in a spiritual manner. It is precisely God's will, by admonition and warning, morally to lead believers to heavenly blessedness and by the grace of the Holy Spirit to prompt them willingly to persevere in faith and love. It is therefore completely mistaken to reason from the admonitions of Holy Scripture to the possibility of a total loss of grace. This conclusion is as illegitimate as when, in the case of Christ, people infer from his temptation and struggle that he was able to sin. The certainty of the outcome does not render the means superfluous but is inseparably connected with them in the decree of God. Paul knew with certainty that in the case of shipwreck no one would lose one's life, yet he declares, 'Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved' (Acts 27:22, 31)."

-- Reformed Dogmatics IV:267-268 (bracket added)


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