Why is perseverance and overcoming sin important in the Christian life?

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When I think of perseverance and overcoming sin, I think of the book of Revelation, for example. That's fundamentally the purpose of the book of Revelation, is to call upon the saints to persevere and to overcome to obtain life eternal. Now, we have to be careful with that. That might sound initially like works-righteousness. But Revelation is calling upon believers to trust in Jesus, and that trust manifests itself in perseverance. So, it isn't works-righteousness, actually; it's a manifestation of faith. Perseverance is rooted in trusting God. Are the believers in Rome, and other parts of the Greco-Roman world, are they going to trust in the Roman Empire, in the comforts of this world? Or are they going to put their trust in Jesus? Perseverance is required to obtain that final blessing. We have in chapters 2 and 3, in the letters to the churches, we have again and again a call to persevere, to obtain eternal life, to obtain the tree of life, again and again. So, I think it's a practical call to believers to give themselves entirely to Jesus. If one is not persevering, it's a sign that they are trusting in something else, in someone else. It's ultimately a sign that they don't truly belong to God. I think it's interesting and instructive that the New Testament has many admonitions to persevere. I take it that that means that all of us as Christians need those admonitions. We ought not to think, I don't need such an admonition because I'm already a Christian. God uses those calls to persevere as means by which we do persevere, and trust in God until the end.

Answer by Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner

Dr. Tom Schreiner joined the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary