According to the Baptist Confession of 1689 the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints maybe summed up as follows: "Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, and has effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they will certainly persevere in that state to the end and be eternally saved." The current Southern Baptist Statement of Faith agrees with this: "All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end." Those statements are clear, concise, and to the point. Although they are not authoritative as Scripture, they do express what Baptists have believed for many, many years on the matter of final Perseverance. However as I look across the Southern Baptist Convention today I see many men, some of whom signed the Baptist Faith & Message, denying the doctrine of final Perseverance. That makes me wonder if people are paying enough attention to these matters. The popular doctrine of eternal security or once saved, always saved is a watered down copy of this great doctrine of final perseverance. So what is the difference between final perseverance of the saints and eternal security? Let's start by defining the doctrine of eternal security. According to Dr. Charles Ryrie, eternal security is defined as follows: "Eternal security is the work of God which guarantees that the gift of salvation, once received, is forever and cannot be lost." -pg328 (Basic Theology). That is probably one of the best definitions of eternal security out there. What should be noticed, however, is what is missing from that definition. There is no mention of how security affects the believer. This should be no surprise, for in his book "So Great Salvation", Dr. Ryrie expresses the belief that "a believer may come to the place of not believing, and yet God will not disown him, since He cannot disown Himself" (pg 130 So Great Salvation). Other advocates of the doctrine of eternal security state the same thing (Charles Stanley, Zane Hodges, Tony Evans, etc). This is, without a doubt, the fatal flaw in the doctrine of eternal security (OSAS). The fact that perserverance is omitted and denied opens the door to extreme and unBiblical claims. The Biblical position is much more in agreement with the classic understanding of the final perseverance of the saints. Let's return to that definition for a moment: "Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, and has effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they will certainly persevere in that state to the end and be eternally saved." It starts off by putting the focus where it belongs, on God. Salvation is not something God must do, it is something God chose to do. It is His grace, not our deserving (Eph 2:8-9). Each and every person who has been saved, has been saved because he/she has been graciously "accepted in the beloved" (Eph 1:3-8). With the focus on God, the confession moves on to talk about how believers became believers. Salvation is not the work of man, faith is not from man, salvation is from God. The Bible tells us that faith is a gift (Eph 2:8-9, 2Pet 1:1, Acts 3:16, 1Cor 1:26-31, etc) and the confession agrees with that when it states that God grants "the precious faith of His elect". The Lord Jesus Christ is the author and perfector of our faith (Heb 12:2). Our Lord told us plainly that "no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (Jn 6:44). A person is only saved when God moves that person to come to Christ in faith. Apart from that, nobody will/can be saved. Christ paid the penalty on the cross, and all who believe benefit from His finished work, but only those the Father draws to the Son will believe (Jn 6:37). God effectually called each and every person who is saved (i.e....each of the elect). They are called by Him and accepted in His beloved. Next the confession moves to the fact that each believer has been "sanctified by His Spirit". The Holy Spirit has entered our lives and set us apart as one of God's children. The Holy Spirit is not leaving our lives (Eph 1:13-14), He is there forever and therefore we are forever children of God. With all of the groundwork laid, the confessoin turns to the meat of the issue: "can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they will certainly persevere in that state to the end and be eternally saved." We have seen that faith is a gift given by God to the elect. We have also seen that Christ is the perfector of faith. It is for these reasons that a true believer cannot fail to finally persevere or finally fall from salvation. True believers are eternally secure, but true believers persevere. As the late Dr. Adrian Rogers once said "the faith that fizzles before the finish had a flaw from the first". True believers finally persevere in the faith. That means a true believer is one who is "believing" (Jn 3:16, etc). Those who cease to believe and finally walk away were never truly saved (1Jn 2:19, etc). For more information on the wonderful doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the Saints click here.