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Travelogue: Persevering in the Christian Life

3 Ligonier Fellows teach during Caribbean Study Cruise

by Peter Benyola

 

They, whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

— The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XVII, line 1

Trunk Bay at the island of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. photo: Judy Corley

Overlook at Trunk Bay at the island of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. photo: Judy Corley

 

Jesus Himself told us that the servant is not greater than the master. Therefore, if He, our Master, suffered persecution, then we, His servants, likewise will endure persecution and pain on this side of glory (John 15:20). Understanding what it means to stand up for the gospel is essential in standing undaunted in an increasingly hostile world.

Church history hosts a galaxy of saints, martyrs and teachers who have been down the road that living Christians now trod, and exploring it in one week can barely scratch its surface.

The Royal Caribbean liner Freedom of the Seas anchored near CocoCay, Bahamas, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

The Royal Caribbean liner Freedom of the Seas anchored near CocoCay, Bahamas, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

Ligonier Ministries embarked on a journey to examine the theme “Persevering in the Christian Life” from Sunday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, March 1, 2015, on the Royal Caribbean liner Freedom of the Seas. Each day of the trip had a devotion and theological session delivered by three Ligonier Minstries fellows: Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. and Dr. Stephen Nichols. I already was primed for the study cruise after being able to participate in a concert of the masterpiece Glory to the Holy One, as well as After Darkness, Light: 2015 National Conference. The cruise had about 230 friends and partners of Ligonier, from different parts of the country, various vocations and Christian denominations. We met and became acquainted with strangers with whom we already had in common the gospel, learning each other’s Christian testimonies. Our destinations were CocoCay, Bahamas, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands.

Overlooking Cay Bay at the island of St. Maarten, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.

Overlooking Cay Bay at the island of St. Maarten, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. photo: John Petersen

Jerry Bridges has written, “Perseverance is the quality of character that enables one to pursue a goal in spite of obstacles and difficulties. It is one thing to simply bear up under adversity. This in itself is commendable. But God calls us to persevere (to press forward) in the face of it. Note how the writer of Hebrews focuses on reaching the goal: ‘When you have done the will of God’ and ‘run . . . the race marked out for us.’ The Christian life is meant to be active, not passive. The Christian is called to pursue with diligence the will of God … There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory.”

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