Picture the sun moving behind thick clouds on a wintry day. Is the sun still there? Can its warmth be felt, and its beauty seen, as before?
How can this example be used to picture the difference between a believer's state and condition, when speaking of his relationship with the "Sun of Righteousness"?
"I understand why you are confused, Ellen," her minister responded, "because both the 'yes' and 'no' answers can be true. Let me explain. When a person believes that he can choose for, turn to, or make a decision for, Christ of his own will, choice, or decision, this is wrong. Totally depraved sinners will never choose for God of themselves, but will always choose for self, world, and Satan because their hearts are set on sin.
"But after the Holy Spirit plants new spiritual life in a spiritually-dead heart and reveals the need for, and desirability of, Christ to the sinner, then his will is renewed and turned. Yes, then he receives, and chooses for Christ."
"Is the difference, then, whether we believe a person can make this choice with his natural will, or with his renewed will?" Ellen asked.
"Yes, that is an excellent way to summarize it," her minister answered.
Who would receive the glory for a sinner's salvation if his turning to Christ was based upon his natural will or upon his renewed will?
Perseverance of the saints does not mean that regenerated persons will progress in knowledge and grace at the same rate regardless of their negative involvement with sin or positive involvement with God's means of grace. Perseverance of the saints (God's people) refers to the truth that those who are once saved by God will always be saved. They shall never fallout of their state of grace.
Perseverance of the saints refers to a person's state of grace once a child of God, always a child of God; but it does not refer to his condition of grace. Those who are saved -who are in a state of grace -can decline, backslide, and wander from God's way through willful sin or neglect of spiritual exercise. God is still their God, but their felt communion with Him, their desire for Him, and their love for His Word can become cool or dormant instead of warm and lively. Their state of grace does not change, but their spiritual condition certainly does.