Q. If perseverance is like good works in that they do not produce eternal life, why are there so many bible passages that say “he who endures to the end will be saved”. No where in the bible says “he who do good works to the end will be saved”. If a person is a true believer, even if he fails to endure to the very end, he would be saved because He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Isn’t that true?
A. The phrase actually appears 3 times in the Bible:
- Mt 10:22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
- Mt 24:13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
- Mk 13:13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
The context of Mt 10:22 is Jesus sending out His 12 disciples to preach the kingdom of heaven, warning them a hard road will be before them, where they will be hauled to court, scourged, and persecuted. It will be perilous times as even family members will betray each other.
Both Mt 24:13 and Mk 13:13 refer to Jesus’ disciples asking Him what will be the sign of His (second) coming, and of the end of the age. Again, the end times will be times of deception, wars, famines, earthquakes, tribulation, apostasy, and betrayal. There will be severe trials and suffering for the disciples, no wonder the Lord encouraged them to endure.
Good deeds are the fruit expected under ordinary times. Under trials and tribulations, the focus switches to survival. Disciples still bless those who persecute them (Rom 12:14), but the emphasis is endurance; hence you don’t find “do good to the end and you will be saved” in the Bible.
Yes Php 1:6 is true:
- For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
As I have argued, ultimately perseverance does not depend on how tough the true believer is, it depends on the Lord promising to see him through. So he may be weak and fail, but he will still be saved because He always keeps His promise.