QOTD: Prayer and Perseverance

Schreiner’s words on prayer and perseverance help us balance the objective work of God and the need for our subjective striving when it comes to the economy of salvation. He writes:

One cannot reify salvation so that it becomes a rigid and static reality, impervious to the situations of life. For Paul salvation is worked out in the circumstances of life…

On the one hand, God has promised to sustain believers until the end so that their faith will not fail. On the other hand, believers are to persevere until the end, vigilantly maintaining their faith and ensuring that their hearts do not grow cold…. Paul often prays that God will fulfill his good promises and sustain believers until the end. In some ways prayer is the middle term between these two poles, for in prayer Paul acknowledges that endurance comes from God. At the same time he prays that God will intervene and affect human behavior, human actions. When Paul prays for his converts, both the work of God and the behavior of human beings is taken seriously. Yet it is obvious that God’s work is primary, fundamental and decisive, for prayer by definition is the acknowledgment that God can change human attitudes and actions.[1]

  1. Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology (Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, England: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2006), 294 emphasis added.  ↩