God’s Preservation

God promises to preserve His children for Himself no matter what we may experience in this fallen world.  He not only promises to preserve His children, He keeps us from every evil scheme of the enemy who seeks to destroy our faith in our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This preservation of God isn’t some sort of lucky charm that keeps us from all suffering, persecution, trials and tribulation.  God preserves us in the midst of our suffering for His kingdom’s sake as can be illustrated through the life of our beloved brother Paul, that great apostle of the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul gave a recitation of the many difficulties he faced as God’s beloved child in 2 Corinthians 11, which he gave as a certification of his genuine faith in Christ and his apostleship; also one of the many trials he endured is captured for our edification in Acts 14.

23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more:  in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.  2 Corinthians 11:23-28

6 …they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.  7 And they were preaching the gospel there.  8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.  9 This man heard Paul speaking.  Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!”  And he leaped and walked.  11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”  12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was a chief speaker.  13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.  14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things?  We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.  17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”  18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.  19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.  20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city.  And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.  Acts 14:6-20

Despite the many trials and tribulations Paul experienced while being a faithful witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and God’s ambassador to the Gentiles through the apostleship given to him by God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son of God, he never lost his trust in the preserving power of God in his life.  We can see his unwavering confidence in God’s keeping power as he looked ahead to martyrdom as God’s beloved child.

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:6-8

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm.  May the Lord repay him according to his works.  15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.  16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me.  May it not be charged against them.  17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear.  Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.  To Him be glory forever and ever.  Amen!  2 Timothy 4:14-18

Paul trusted God to deliver him from vicious attack through the hand of Alexander the coppersmith, and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was under the keeping power of God for God’s heavenly kingdom.  Death would ultimately come, but Paul would be taken by God into His heavenly kingdom where Paul expected to receive the crown of righteousness laid up for him because he had been faithful to the gospel, kept the faith, and fought the good fight of being true to God no matter the cost.  The grounds of Paul’s assurance that God was keeping him for heaven came from his experience of God’s deliverance throughout his ministry, but also through the words of Jesus Christ, our glorious Savior and Lord, recorded for us in the Gospel of John.

27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  30 I and My Father are one.”  John 10:27-30

As God’s beloved children, His sheep through our faithful Shepherd, Jesus Christ, we can be confident that eternal life is given to us and we can never ever lose it because Jesus Christ our Savior, and God the Father keep us, preserve us for His heavenly kingdom.  The Lord God Almighty keeps us safe for His glorious home, heaven, and we are preserved not only physically, but also spiritually.

15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  19 Do not quench the Spirit.  20 Do not despise prophecies.  21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.  22 Abstain from every form of evil.  23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:15-24

Through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, that destroys the work of the flesh, and His resurrection power in our lives by the indwelling Holy Spirit we can obey all God’s commands to us in His Holy Word, the Bible.  Through God’s sanctifying work in our lives, setting us apart for His kingdom, He preserves us blameless body, soul and spirit.  Through obedience to His Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, His death upon the cross, taking the punishment our sins deserve and crucifying our old man, we are set apart for obedience to God Almighty because we have wholly believed the truth of the gospel as declared for us in God’s Holy Word.  We may stumble along the way, we may endure numerous and strenuous trials, but God, Who is our Father will never leave us or forsake us.  He is with us throughout all we experience in this world and has promised to take us to be with Him in glory when our time on this earth is finished.  Praise God for His sufficiency for us in all circumstances and His promise to take us home with Him at the end.  Amen!

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  6 So we may boldly say:  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  Hebrews 13:5-6

Heavenly Father, through Your Son Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection, You have accomplished what we could never do, reconciling us to Yourself and making us heirs and citizens of heaven.  May You be glorified and eternally praised for Your glorious grace. 

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