God requires of Christians not only that they believe the gospel, but also that they persevere in living according to the gospel, regardless of the difficulties they meet. Perseverance is proof of the genuineness of faith and leads to spiritual maturity (John 8:31; Acts 14:22; Rom 5:3-4; Col 1:21-23; Heb 3:12-14; 4:1- 11; 6:11-12). When Jesus called people to believe in him, he made it clear that he was calling them into a continuous relationship with himself. Belief involved more than just a momentary decision; it involved a life of following him as a true disciple to the end (Mark 8:34-38; 13:13; Luke 9:57-62; John 15:4-6; cf. 6:60,66-68).

In one of his parables Jesus showed that some people profess to be believers, but later, by their lack of perseverance, prove not to be (Mark 4:15-20). Christians are able to persevere because of the power of God working within them (Phil 1:6; Col 1:11; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24; Rev 3:10). In addition to giving his people the promise of his power, God demands that they exercise self-discipline and effort. Christians must be on their guard and persistent in prayer if they are to endure firmly to the end (Luke 21:36; Col 4:2). If people have true faith in God, they will prove it by their steadfast trust in his power and promises.

Their perseverance is not something God rewards by giving them salvation, but something that gives proof of their salvation. It shows that their faith is genuine (Mark 13:13,22-23; Luke 21:36; Phil 3:13-14; 2 Tim 4:7-8). At times people may be tempted to give up their Christian commitment. The source of their troubles may be the trials of life, persecution, desire for personal prosperity, worry, laziness or false teaching (Mark 4:17-18; 13:13; 1 Tim 4:1; 6:10; Heb 2:1; 10:32-39). Christians can fight against these temptations by training themselves in godliness, resisting the pressures of the world, continuing steadfastly in the truth they have believed, learning more of God through the Scriptures, and giving themselves wholeheartedly to whatever work God has entrusted to them (2 Thess 2:14-15; 1 Tim 4:7,15; 6:11-12; 2 Tim 2:10; 3:14-17; Heb 4:14; 6:1-3; 10:23; Jude 20-21). The outcome of Christian endurance will be the experience of salvation in its fullest expression at the return of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:24-25; 2 Tim 4:7-8; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Rev 2:26-28). The expectation of Christ’s return is therefore a constant incentive to perseverance (Matt 24:45-51; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Tim 2:11-12; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:14,17; 1 John 2:28).

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