Abuse of the doctrine of the perseverance or preservation of the saints: Two ways this doctrine may be abused.
1. It may be into a neglect of duty.
2. Into a liberty to sin.
Take heed of both.
1. Take heed of falling into a neglect of duty upon this score—if a Christian,
thou canst not fall away from grace.
(1.) A constant vigorous performing of duty should not be motivated by the fear of falling away. The Christian treasures communion with his Heavenly Father and every duty is a mount wherein God presents himself to be seen and enjoyed by the Christian.
(2.) To neglect duty upon such a persuasion, is contrary to Christ’s practice
and counsel. Though Christ never doubted of his Father’s love,
nor questioned the happy issue of all his temptations, agonies, and sufferings, ye he prays, and prays again most earnestly, Luke 22:44. he states, ‘But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.’ Sure our Saviour by this provision made for him and the rest, means to save them a labour that they need not watch or pray? No such matter. After this, as you may see, ver. 40, he calls them up to duty—‘pray that ye enter not into temptation.’ Christ’s praying for them was to strengthen their faith, when they should themselves pray for the same mercy; not to nourish their sloth that they needed not to pray, Christ’s prayers in heaven for his saints are all heard already, but the return of them is reserved to be enclosed in the answer God sends to their own prayers.
Doesn’t his mercy (toward his people) endure for ever? (Psalm 136).