The Baptist Faith and Message defines the doctrine of grace as “election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners.” It clarifies how God brings salvation to sinners. Believers can fall into sin and grieve the holy spirit, but the power of God will keep them through their faith in Jesus Christ. This statement is consistent with the free agency of man. It affirms man’s liberty and obligation.
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37 NIV)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44 NIV)
Baptists confirm both truths: God controls all (sovereign), and man has free will and is responsible for His actions and choices. Even though these two truths seem contradictory and challenging to reconcile, we all agree that God alone saves sinners. The fact that God alone saves leaves no room for human arrogance in God’s salvation plan. It takes away all trust in one’s ability and trust in the flesh and leaves the reliance on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29 NIV)
Believers can find great comfort knowing that God’s plan will not be changed or altered. God’s decisions and character are unchangeable, and His power is boundless. As the Apostle Paul told the Romans, we should find comfort in that nothing can separate believers from the love of God.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
This is a great truth. God’s plan cannot be altered by anything or anyone. Those He has called will endure because their salvation is secure in Jesus Christ. The perseverance of the Christian is evidence of an authentic faith in Christ.
God’s purpose of grace reminds us that grace explains our salvation from start to finish. The true Believer is, saved, preserved, protected, and secured by the grace of God.