The Virtue of Perseverance

Proverbs 4:20-27

Perseverance of the saints: “those who are effectually called of God to the exercise of genuine faith will certainly persevere unto final salvation.”Boyce, Abstract of Theology

The saints’ perseverance has two facets: that which God does for the saint and that which the saint does in response. Jesus declared that no one can snatch the true sheep from the hand of God (John 10:27-29); Paul similarly declares that nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39). When Peter wrote to the saints of the dispersion he spoke of them as being guarded by the power of God through faith to salvation (1 Pet. 1:3-5).

“The means mentioned [faith, consecration to God, self-purification from sin, the warnings of God’s word] are only some of the numerous ways in whichthe Christian is led to perseverein the divine life,actively co-operating with the grace of God. It is becauseGod bestows, and man attains, as the apostle Peter so completely sets forth in his preceding remarks, that he exhorts his brethren, “give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure,” adding, “for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”2 Pet. 1:10-11. It is because of the divine help afforded through the incarnation, and humiliation, and consequent exaltation of Christ Jesus, that the apostle could urge the Philippians, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”Phil. 2:12-13.”Boyce, Abstract of Theology

The Sage recognized the virtue (moral goodness) and value of perseverance. He also had sufficient life experience to understand that persevering in what is right does not come naturally or easily. We need look farther than our first parents to see that perfect perseverance in righteousness is not a trait inherent in human nature. It is something which requires cultivation and encouragement while providing great and eternal rewards.

A. Requirements

1. attentivenessv. 20, 23

full attention

not multitasking

can’t go through life on autopilot


2. effort

retain/treasure up in memory – we don’t have NVRAMv. 21b

requires continual refreshing

attending to the means of grace – preaching, prayer, ordinances

spending time with the Word

guard – 24/7 dutyv. 23

A man who has charge of a well of water is bound to keep it covered and secured against the entrance of anything that might poison or even defile it. Upon its safe keeping depends, perhaps, not only the health of himself and his household, but that of an entire district. It is a centre of health if pure, of disease if impure.Harris

control speech –James 3:1-12v. 24


right-side up

ponderv. 26

weigh your options

consider the consequences of a particular course of action

3. focusv. 21a, 25, 27

don’t lose sight of the truth, the way of wisdom

fix your gaze on the right goal

don’t deviate from the wise path

4. commitmentvv. 20-27

Commentators note the use of the body in this section: ear (v. 20), eyes (v. 21), flesh (v. 22), heart (v. 23), lips (v. 24), eyes (v. 25), feet (v. 26), and hands and feet (v. 27). Each is a synecdoche of part representing the whole; the total accumulation signifies the complete person in the process.NET Bible Notes

summary of the 1st table of the law: “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, strength”

B. Reward

1. a healthy soulv. 21a-22

Whosoever obey the word of God shall thereby be preserved in soul and body from many miseries, and in them both taste many good blessings.Peter Muffet

Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer 1: That I, withbody and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.

…“heart” became the richest biblical term for the totality of man’s inner or immaterial nature. In biblical literature it is the most frequently used term for man’s immaterial personality functions (emotion, thought, or will) as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible, virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the “ heart.”TWOT

2. concern withproperheart health

labeled menu choices, LDL vs HDL, trans fats, Omega 3, Lipitor, Zocor, Vytorin, antioxidants, aerobic exercise. Don’t smoke, don’t drink, whatever you do don’t do both.

What about heart in the sense used in the Bible? The health of our material heart has temporal ramifications, that of our immaterial heart eternal.

That which incites our emotions, informs our thoughts, and inclines our wills directs our decision-making, guides our path through life, points to our ultimate destiny. The things we guard and treasure in our innermost being are those which are of greatest value and importance. If kingdom issues are #1, we can be sure of our future temporal condition as well as our final reward.Matt. 6:33Romans 8:28-301 John 5:13


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