Three Pillars of Perseverance (Watson)

Here’s a magnificent section of Thomas Watson’s exposition of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer (Your kingdom come). Watson was discussing what it means to enter the Kingdom of God and he explained what it means to seek the Kingdom of God. He then asked if it was possible for a Christian to persevere until the coming of the kingdom. Here’s part of his excellent answer:

What a wonder is it that any soul perseveres until he comes to the kingdom of heaven! But great as the wonder is, there is such a thing as perseverance. A saint’s perseverance is built upon three immutable pillars:

1) A saint’s perseverance is built upon God’s eternal love. We are inconstant in our love to God; but he is not so in his love to us. “I have loved you with an everlasting love!” (Jer 31:3). God’s love to the elect is not like a king’s love to his favorite, which when it is at the highest spring-tide, soonest ebbs; but God’s love is eternal. He may desert us for a time, but he will never disinherit us. He may change his love into a frown, but never into hatred. He may alter his providence, but never his decree. When once the sunshine of God’s electing love is risen upon the soul—it never sets finally.

2) A saint’s perseverance is built upon the covenant of grace. It is a firm, impregnable covenant; as you read in the words of the sweet singer of Israel. “God has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure” (2 Samuel 23:5). It is a sweet covenant, that God will be our God. This is the marrow and quintessence of all blessing. The covenant of grace is a sure covenant, that he will put his fear in our heart, and we shall never depart from him (Jer 32:40). This covenant is inviolable (unbreakable), it cannot be broken. Indeed, sin may break the peace of the covenant—but it cannot break the bond of the covenant.

3) The third pillar upon which perseverance is built, is the mystic union with Christ. Believers are incorporated into Christ, they are knit to him as members to the head—by the nerve and ligament of faith, so that they cannot be broken off (Eph 5:23). What was once said of Christ’s natural body is as true of his mystic body. “No bone of his shall be broken” (John 19:36). As it is impossible to sever the leaven and the dough when they are once mingled—so it is impossible when Christ and believers are once united, ever by the power of death or hell, to be separated. How can Christ lose any member of his body and be perfect?

You see upon what strong pillars the saints’ perseverance is built.

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer, p. 131-132. (NOTE: The paperback of this book is currently half price at the Westminster Bookstore.)

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

One Reply to “Three Pillars of Perseverance (Watson)”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: