Are you Feeling Secure Yet? On the Perseverance of the Saints

The doctrines of Grace, those teaching colloquially known as Calvinism[1], are a favorite of recreational bible college conversation and scholarly debates. Even though the specific doctrines encapsulated under that heading are not central to Christian orthodoxy, that is to say whether one is an Arminian or Calvinist he is still saved, they have received considerable attention since Augustine. Since accepting Calvinist teachings the one doctrine I have found to receive the most heat is the P in the famous acronym “TULIP;” Perseverance of the Saints (or as known to Baptists “Eternal Security”). I was shocked at the misconceptions they had about this teachings. I have been studying it for the last few weeks and decided to write a little bit on it. In his “systematic theology” Wayne Grudem describes Perseverance of the Saints as having two parts. First, it declares that all who are saved will persevere to the end and then it teaches that perseverance is a[2] sign of being born again, anyone who does not persevere was never truly saved.[3] We will look at the evidence for both of these parts, examine the Scriptures that Arminians say support the possibility of a true believer falling away, and look at its relevance for our lives.

It needs to be noted that Perseverance of the Saints is intertwined with the rest of the doctrines of Grace and in their absence stands in stark contrast to the emphasis on human freedom given in Arminian doctrine.[4] The testimony of the New Testament Scripture, from Jesus’ words to the letters of the apostles, speaks to this doctrine. First off are the verses that teach that believers will not fall away. In John 6:37-39 we read;

37All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”[5]

In these verses Jesus is addressing the crowds who followed Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, shortly after feeding the five thousand and walking on water (John 6). In previous verses he is talking about believing in Him, and how even seeing Him they did not believe (v. 35-36); salvation is in sight here. It is in this context that Jesus says “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” All whom God has given Christ will not be lost, but will be glorified on the last day. Later in John Jesus answers some Jews in the Temple, in the Portico of Solomon, and He says:

27My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30, emphasis added)

The sheep He is referring to are clearly Believers, and He says that “they will never perish” and “no one will snatch them out of My hand”; He does not suggest that they won’t be removed by anyone else but could remove themselves; He says that they will never perish and the “no one” surely includes themselves. Grudem points out that the Greek construction[6] in use here is emphatic, he offers this as a translation emphasizing this construction: “and they shall certainly not perish forever”.[7] In Romans 8:29-30, a very popular verse for Calvinists, we read “29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” This is an unbroken chain, starting with God foreknowing and ending with him glorifying. Even though Glorification will not come until the resurrection it is here written in the past tense, as if already having happened. FF. Bruce, following in the footsteps of Calvin, suggests that “Perhaps he is imitating the Hebrew use of the ‘prophetic past’, by which a predicted event is marked out as so certain of fulfillment that it is described as though it had already taken place.”[8] This verse is clear, prophetic past or not, that those whom God has Predestined will persevere to be Glorified. In Philippians 1:6 Paul writes to the Philippians and tells them that he is “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” In Ecclesiastes 3:14 Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes “I know that everything God does will remain forever”; Scripture is clear that our Salvation is very much something God does, it is his work (see Eph. 1:4).[9] These verses all testify to believers not falling away, but do not mention the reason why they stay faithful. There are verses that explain that it is clearly a work of God. In John 10, which we already looked at, Jesus makes it clear that God is greater than all and He is the one who gave believers to Jesus; he will ensure that we will not be snatched from His hand. We are protected by His unlimited power.[10] In his first letter Peter writes

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5, emphasis added, cf. Jude 24-25)

In verse five He writes that the believers he is writing to are protected in their salvation by the power of God, through their faith. The reason that they will persevere, why we will persevere, is because through their faith they will be protected by the power of God. The present participle translated “protected”, Greek verb φρουρεω, gives the sense of continually protecting; this is not a onetime action, but a continual one throughout our lives.[11] This protection is so sure that Paul writes nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). On the passages preceding v.39 Michael Horton writes: “Paul ransacks his mind for every possible threat to our security in Christ, whether heavenly or earthly opposition, whether external or internal opposition, and concludes with that gloriously absolute and unqualified assurance: nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.”[12] Scripture teaches that God has sealed us with His Holy Spirit, and given us the Holy Spirit “as a pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13-14, Cf. 2 Cor. 5:5-6). We have the Holy Spirit as a pledge, or “deposit” (NIV), a guarantee of our redemption. Norman Geisler puts it this way; “God has placed His credibility on the fact that every believer is going to make it”.[13] Finally we can make some logical deductions from Scripture. We can see this doctrine in three of Paul’s statements in Romans. First, in Romans 11:29 he says; “29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Then in 6:23 we read that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”, and in 8:30 “30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Clearly salvation is a gift and a calling, so according to Rom. 11:29 it must be “irrevocable.”[14] In Romans 8:1 we read; “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If there is no more condemnation for us, we have had righteousness imputed to us and we are declared “not guilty; how can it be reversed?[15] In 2 Corinthians we read; “17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” When we are saved it is not just a change in our hearts, it is a fundamental change in our very nature; we are new creatures. How can we return to what has passed? Throughout the New Testament we read that God will continue the work of salvation He has started in us; we will never be disowned by Him, no power in the physical or spiritual realm can snatch us from His hand, and He will ensure through our faith that we will persevere. If we are saved we will not choose to walk away. Scripture speaks clearly to this; if this is true, then what are we to make of those who seem to be believers, but walk away?

The second part of the doctrine of Perseverance is the hardest for a lot of people to grasp. We all know people who appear to have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, but then one day renounce the faith and walk away. Sometimes they never return. The logical conclusion from the first part of this doctrine is: if all who are saved persevere, and someone who appears to be saved falls away; then they could not have been saved. Scripture gives us many ways we can be assured of our faith; one of the ways Scripture teaches that we can identify believers, and be sure of our faith, is perseverance. We can find the negative side (that those who fall away were never saved) of this teaching throughout the New Testament. In 1 John 2:19 we read “19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so thatit would be shown that they all are not of us.” John is speaking of false teachers, “Antichrists” (v. 18), who were once in the church but had then left. John says that they were “not really of us”, the never were really saved, and the reason he gives for this conclusion is because if they had been “of us” they would have remained. Their leaving showed that they never were really saved, or “of us.” In John 8:31 Jesus says “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;” Jesus here gives continuing in His word as an evidence of true discipleship.[16] In Matt 10:22 Jesus warns the 12 disciples that they will be hated because of him and “it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Continuing, enduring is again given as a sign of salvation. In Col. 1:22-23 we read:

22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

On this passage Grudem writes;

It is only natural that Paul and the other New Testament writers would speak this way, for they are addressing groups of people who profess to be Christians, without being able to know the actual state of every person’s heart. … How is Paul to distinguish such people [those in fellowship who never actually had saving faith] from true believers? How can he avoid giving them false assurance, assurance that they will be saved eternally when in fact they will not, unless they come to true repentance and faith? Paul knows that those whose faith is not real will eventually fall away from participation in the fellowship of the church. Therefor he tells his readers that they will ultimately be saved, “provided that you continue in the faith” (Col. 1:23).”[17]

Similar to this passage we read in Heb. 3:14 “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end”. Reading verses like this we need to keep in mind that, while being an evidence, perseverance is not the exclusive evidence of saving faith. We can have assurance in this life in other ways. Knowledge of these other assurances should keep us from using passages like this in a “pastorally inappropriate way.”[18] Lastly is the imagery we see throughout the New Testament of crops not bearing fruit, and dead branches being thrown away, gathered, and cast into the fires. Throughout the New Testament the imagery of bearing fruit is a sign of salvation, it is the product of true saving faith, and on the other hand a lack of fruit (or weeds, see Heb 6:7) is a sign of a lack of true faith. In Romans 11 Paul teaches how the gentiles were grafted into the vine, which is Israel, replacing those who were broken off for lack of faith (v. 19-20). Like those branches who were broken off for lack of fruit, lack of real faith, the grafted in Gentiles can also be broken off. Michael Horton writes; “Thus, there are dead and living branches: those who are related merely outwardly and visibly and those who are united to Christ inwardly and invisibly in the communion of the elect.”[19] In John 15 Jesus speaks to his disciples and tells them;

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

The branches that don’t produce fruit are taken away by the Father and thrown into the fire, where they are burned. These branches are connected to Jesus in some way, through their participation in fellowship with the Church, but their lack of fruit shows their true state.[20] Along with these verses Heb. 6:1-4 and other supposed evidences for true believers falling away give weight to the Apostles use of perseverance as a sign of faith. It is these verses that we will look at next.

The most common verse brought forth by opponents of Perseverance of the Saints is Heb. 6:1-4, but before we look at this verse we will look at two other commonly used. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 reads; “3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction”. Reading this verse many come to the conclusion that because there is an “apostasy” it must mean believers falling away. Sometimes the “apostasy” is taken as a technical word meaning something like “a believer who falls away.” The Greek word translated “apostasy,” the ESV and NET translate it “rebellion,” is αποστασία, which means “a falling away, a rebellion, apostasy[21] or “an abandonment.”[22] Its meaning needs to be determined by context; on it Geisler writes “It would appear from the context that apostasy leading to ultimate doom and destruction (i.e, hell) not only can but will occur. However, Paul indicates that those who comprise the “doomed group” were not true believers from the beginning, for this deception will take place among “those who are perishing…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (v.10).[23] The other verse presented is Matthew 7:22-23 “22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (emphasis added). They say that since these people prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles they must have been saved; therefore the saved can walk away. But in verse 23 Jesus clearly says “I never knew you,” he doesn’t say “I once knew you” but that He never did. We will look at the assurances given by the Bible as to our faith, but signs, prophesy, and casting out demons are not given as assurances of faith (we can only speculate whether these were legitimate signs, and if so what was their source, if not the Holy Spirit); and in light of v. 23 it cannot be argued that they were at any time saved. The most frequent verse used by opponents of Perseverance is Heb. 6: 4-7;

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

The assertion here is that clearly these were true believers, and there is the possibility for them to fall away. This verse has been dealt with in many ways by various different Calvinist interpreters. Millard J. Erickson, a Baptist Professor of Theology, suggests that this is a hypothetical scenario; one that is possible but will never happen. He writes; “It is our contention that the referents in verses 4-6 and verse 9 are the same. They are genuinely saved people who could fall away. Verses 4-6 declare what their status would be if they did. Verse 9, however, is a statement that they will not fall away. They could, but they will not! Their persistence to the end is evidence of that truth.”[24] But the traditional Reformed interpretation, which Calvin wrote on[25], is that these were never true believers. Hebrews 6:4-5 states that those who may fall away were enlightened, had “tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and had “tasted the good word of God and powers of the age to come.” Erickson argues that the vividness of this description, especially “partakers of the Holy Spirit,” seems to paint them as true believers.[26] Grudem points out that none of these statements have to refer to a believer, and if this is true then we need to look at the context to determine if it says anything as to whether they were believers or not. The word translated enlightened here is φωτιζω(phōtizō) and it refers to learning in general, the word translated once, ἁπαξ(hapax), with it is used throughout the New Testament (Philippians 4:16, Hebrew 9:7) for repeated events. It is well within the meanings of these words for the person in question to have been in fellowship with a Church and learned of the truths of the Gospel, without embracing saving faith.[27] The word we translate “tasted” is γεύομαι (geuomai) and like φωτιζω is not a technical word. It often is used in a figurative sense and has the meaning “come to know something.” Because the verse is not talking about tasting literal food, this is the sense in which we need to take this word, and it means that they probably witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit moving, if they were in fellowship at a church they would experience spiritual power. It does not indicate that they had saving faith.[28] Μέτοχος (metochos), “partake,” likewise is not a technical word and can be used of very close participation, or of associates and companions (see Luke  5:7, and the use of the closely related word συμμέτoχος (symmetochos) in Eph. 5:7).[29]

“By analogy[with the use of this word in Luke 5:7 and Eph. 5:7], Hebrews 6:4-6 speaks of people who have been “associated with” the Holy Spirit, and thereby had their lives influenced by him, but it need not imply that they had a redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, or that they were regenerated. By similar analogy with the example of the fishing companions in Luke 5:7, Peter and the disciples could be associated with them and even to some degree influence by them without having a thoroughgoing change of life caused by that association.”[30]

And finally the word used of repentance in v. 6 is thought to refer exclusively to the Christians repentance. This word, μετάνοια (metanoia), is often used this way, but later in the book of Hebrews the author, talking about Esau, writes “For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance [μετάνοια], though he sought for it with tears” (Hebrew 12:17). Here μετάνοια is used of the change of mind experienced by an “immoral” or “godless person” (v. 16).[31] This doesn’t tell us whether the people in view here are true believers, nor does it tell us they are not. Grammatically both are acceptable, but the context tells a different story. In chapter 6:7-8 we read; “7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” Here we again see the imagery of bearing fruit, and not bearing fruit. The lack of fruit throughout Scripture is a consistent image for the lack of true faith. The ground not bearing fruit, those from verse 4-6, grow weeds in spite of God’s blessings, the “rain.” It is clear that they were never saved; the land did not bear fruit, instead it bore weeds.[32] Strongly supporting this interpretation of Hebrews 6 is v. 9: “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation [belong to salvation – ESV], though we are speaking in this way.” In spite of the warning given, hypothetical to thinkers like Erickson and for unbelievers in fellowship to Calvin and Grudem, the author of Hebrews follows up with the statement that he is sure, in the case of the beloved, they will persevere. Grudem points out that the Greek word Και (translated “and”) would be better translated “also;” and this provides a crucial point for understanding the passage.[33]

If the author had meant to say that the people mentioned in verses 4-6 were truly saved, then it is very difficult to understand why he would say in verse 9 that he is convinced of better things for them, things that belong to salvation, or that have salvation in addition to those things mentioned above. He thus shows that he can use a brief phrase to say that people “have salvation” if he wishes to do so (he does not need to pile up many phrases), and he shows, moreover, that the people whom he speaks of in verses 4-6 are not saved.[34]

The context in which this passage is found supports an interpretation seeing those referred to in Hebrews 6 as not true believers being warned of a possibility of walking away, but unbelievers in fellowship being warned of what will happen if they do not truly accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The greater context of Scripture, all the verses we looked earlier, clearly support this interpretation as well. So what are we to make of this doctrine?

I mentioned at the beginning that I encountered a lot of misunderstanding of this doctrine. Those I talked to expected me to be in constant fear because of this doctrine, worried that I am not truly saved, and asked me what would happen if I did walk away? While these fears would be true of someone holding to a Hyper-Calvinist, I look at the Scriptural teaching on assurance in this life and am comforted knowing that I am saved know, and no matter what happens in my future I am being “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). What are these assurances? The first assurance that comes to most people is the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. These fruit manifest themselves when the Spirit is in our hearts sanctifying us, and there are no indications in Scripture that someone who is not a believer can fake these convincingly.[35] Then we have the various evidences presented in the first epistle of John, most are quite self-explanatory:

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (2:3-4).

18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him (3:18-19).

13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (4:13)

Further evidence is found in keeping (John 2:5), reading, and following his word. In John 4:6 we read; “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” In the absence of John and the rest of the Apostles we have their writings, and it is these which we must listen to.[36] Evidence for salvation, when witnessed with other assurances, can also be seen in holding to the core doctrines of Christianity (1 John 2:23-24). Relationship with Jesus is another assurance of our faith. Are we praying and communing with Him? Are we trusting Him and stepping out in faith when He calls us to. He tells us that if we remain in Him, He will remain in us, and only in Him will we bear fruit (John 15:4). Our love for one another is another evidence of salvation, 1 John 3:18 tells us to love in deed not just in word, and 1 John 3:14 tells us that; “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” And finally, this is not an exhaustive list, if we witness continual Christian growth in our lives, if we see the evidence of sanctification, becoming more Holy, and if we do not continue in sin (that is habitual sin, perfection will not be attained in this life, but we will no longer be slaves to sin (Rom. 6)) (1 John 5:18, 3:9).  We can have assurance of our faith in this life, and with that assurance comes the amazing security knowing that God will protect us through our faith so that we will persevere.

In practical application both a Calvinist and an Arminian will respond to someone who has fallen away in the same way. A Calvinist will see him as having never been saved, and an Arminian we see him as losing his salvation, but both will respond by praying for him and trying to get him to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and devote himself to God. Within both views backsliding while still beings saved is possible, Peter was still a follower of Jesus and an apostle, but he experienced an incredible time of backsliding (see Matt. 26:69-75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:55–62; John 18:16–18, 25–27). In response to the question “what happens if you fall away?” I would respond that I don’t have to worry about that possibility, Scripture promises that it won’t happen; not because of my own strength, which isn’t there, but God’s omnipotence which guard’s me.

Bruce, F. F. The Epistle of Paul to the Romans : an introduction and commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1963.

Calvin, John. Commentary on Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: CHRISTIAN CLASSICS ETHEREAL LIBRARY, n.d. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom44.toc.html.

Erickson, Millard J, and L. Arnold Hustad. Introducing Christian doctrine. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001.

Geisler, Norman L. Systematic theology : in one volume. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2011.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic theology : an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994.

Horton, Michael Scott. For Calvinism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2011.

Mounce, William D. The analytical lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1993.

Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.


[1]Unless otherwise identified contextually, I am using Calvinism in reference to the more common Moderate Calvinist view.

[2] I emphasize the indefinite article “a” because Hyper Calvinists, or strong Calvinists, suggest that perseverance is the only sign of true salvation; only when you have persevered until death do you know that you are saved.

[3]Wayne Grudem, Systematic theology : an introduction to biblical doctrine (Leicester; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994), 788.

[4] That being said: Calvinism is 100% compatible with human freedom, because both God’s sovereignty and human freedom are taught in Scripture; it just places the emphasis on God’s sovereignty. Arminianism is likewise compatible with God’s sovereignty, but places the emphasis on human freedom.

[5] All scriptures are taken from the NASB unless otherwise stated.

[6]Ου μη εις τον αιωνα απόλωνται”  Ου and μη  and the aorist subjunctive verb “απόλωνται”

[7] Grudem, Systematic theology, 789–790.

[8] F. F Bruce, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans : an introduction and commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1963), 178. Cf. John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: CHRISTIAN CLASSICS ETHEREAL LIBRARY, n.d.), http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom44.toc.html. Hebrews 6:4-6

[9] Norman L Geisler, Systematic theology : in one volume (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2011), 898.

[10] Ibid., 899.

[11] Grudem, Systematic theology, 792.

[12] Michael Scott Horton, For Calvinism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2011), 116.

[13] Geisler, Systematic theology, 902.

[14] Ibid., 901.

[15] Horton, For Calvinism, 117.

[16] Grudem, Systematic theology, 793.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Horton, For Calvinism, 119.

[20] Grudem, Systematic theology, 796.

[21] William D Mounce, The analytical lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1993), 94.

[22] Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

[23] Geisler, Systematic theology, 912.

[24] Millard J Erickson and L. Arnold Hustad, Introducing Christian doctrine (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001), 332.

[25] See is commentary on Romans, an online version can be found at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom38

[26] Erickson and Hustad, Introducing Christian doctrine, 332.

[27] Grudem, Systematic theology, 797.

[28] Ibid., 797–798.

[29] Ibid., 978.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid., 799.

[32] Ibid., 800.

[33] Ibid., 801.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid., 804.

[36] Ibid., 805.

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