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“Preserved in Jesus Christ”
Here God the Holy Spirit tells us that all who are God’s, because we are from eternity “sanctified by God the Father,” are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” The word “preserved” means “watched over,” “guarded,” “kept from loss or injury.” It is a passive verb. So the sweet message of God to our hearts in these words is this. — Because God has set us apart unto himself in Christ in eternal election, we are absolutely kept from any harm coming to us, because we are in Christ made the objects of his unceasing care. The Lord our God keeps his eye upon us all the time. He watches over, guards, and protects us continually. And this preservation is altogether his work. We are not preserved in Christ because we persevere in faith. We persevere in faith because we are preserved in Christ.
Sanctified and Preserved
Let all who trust Christ understand and ever rejoice in this blessed fact. In eternal sanctification, we were set apart by God the Father in election in Christ, chosen in him. We have a place in his heart, who declares, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” We are from everlasting in his heart, in his hands, and in him. We are one with Christ! We are one with him as members of the body are one with the head. We are one with him as our covenant Surety and Representative before God. Being in him and one with him, we are preserved by him — preserved by him before we were called and preserved by him after we have been called. It is written, “They are preserved forever” (Psalm 37:28).
Preserved and Called
All God’s elect are secretly preserved in Christ from eternity, preserved before their calling and unto their calling. We were preserved from condemnation and the second death. We were not preserved from falling with the rest of mankind in the sin and fall of our father Adam. We were not preserved from the depravity and corruption of human nature, which all men have by birth from Adam. And we are not preserved from iniquity, transgression, and sin. We are all, by nature, “children of wrath.”
Yet, even in those days gone by, though fallen, depraved, hell-bent “children of wrath,” Jude tells us, and all of Scripture teaches us, that we who now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all who shall yet believe on him, were so completely and absolutely preserved, watched over, guarded, and protected by our God, by virtue of our union with Christ, that it was not possible for us to suffer any real loss or injury by all that we experience in time! We were, even in our wrathful state of unbelief, so preserved that the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, sin could not damn us, and Satan could not destroy us.
Then, after being called to life and faith in Christ, we are preserved still in Christ. No, we are not preserved from indwelling sin, but in spite of indwelling sin. No, we are not preserved from temptations, but in the midst of temptation. No, we are not preserved from doubts and fears and unbelief, but in the midst of them.No, we are not preserved from slips and falls, from acts of sin and attitudes of evil, but in spite of them. Our Savior said, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).
“Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — In Christ we are preserved in sanctification, justification, redemption, and grace, preserved as the sons of God and heirs of heavenly glory, preserved in life and faith, and preserved in absolute, indestructible safety and security.
“Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — What blessed words! What unspeakable blessedness! What unknown wonders are here described! Only in eternity will we be able to see them. Yet, there are some things plainly revealed in the Book of God about the meaning of these words. — “Preserved in Jesus Christ!”
Every form, degree, and method of preservation is implied. Every state, condition, and circumstance is included. Every danger, foe, and weapon formed against us is taken into consideration. Still, the words are sure. — “Preserved in Jesus Christ!” All who are the objects of God’s everlasting grace are forever “preserved in Jesus Christ.”