Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 22
XXII. Of Perseverance in Holiness.
The true believer applies himself with all diligence in this new spiritual life to walk worthily of the Lord (Colossians 1:10, 11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12) and to be fruitful in good Works, not only because be is called and in duty bound thereto (Ephesians 4:1-3; 2 Peter 1:5-10), but because by virtue of his new birth from God (I John 3:9) there is within him an inward impulse (Psalms 119:35) an inbred disposition to the same. 2 Corinthians 5:9. He finds in it a holy delight (Romans 7:22), a great spiritual, yea divine, peace and comfort (Acts 9:31), a growth in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10, 11) and of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:15), in short, the life of the soul. By a contrary course a believer does violence to his own soul (Proverbs 8:36), pursues death (Romans 6:16; 8:6) and brings upon himself great misery. 1 Timothy 6:10.
It is therefore contrary to the renewed nature of the believers and in antagonism with it, to sin. 1 John 3:6-9. Moreover, they are carefully watched over and kept (Psalms 23; Zechariah 2:8; Jude 1) by the faithful Shepherd (John 10:1-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31) and Bishop of their souls (1 Peter 2:25), as also by His heavenly Father who is greater than all (John 10:29), so that it is impossible for any power, however great, to pluck them out of such faithful hands in which they are kept unto salvation. 1 Peter 1:5; John 10:28, 29.
Wherefore also it seems unnecessary that any one should teach them (1 John 2:27) if they will but abide in Him constantly as they ought (1 John 3:6) and will let that abide in them which they have heard from the beginning. 1 John 2:24.
But since they have this treasure in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7) and in their flesh there dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18) but on the contrary a law that wars against the law of their mind (Romans 7:23), since they are, moreover, surrounded by various seductions of the world (1 John 2:16) and temptations of the devil (Ephesians 6:11; 1 Pet. 5:8), and since the Lord permits all this that He may prove their faith and their obedience (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16-18) and keep them in humility through the experience of their weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7); there is required of them, notwithstanding what has been said above, or rather by reason of it (1 Peter 1:5-7; Philippians 2:13), nothing less than resolute watchfulness and earnest care (1 Corinthians 6:13) that they may not fall back (1 Timothy 1:6; 6:20, 21; Hebrews 3:12), become slothful (Hebrews 6:12; 3:13; Romans 12:11), lose again that which they have already obtained (2 John 8), fall from their stronghold (2 Peter 3:17), and be overcome of sin (2 Peter 2:20), as is shown to have been the case with many who at first ran well (Galatians 5:7) but afterward grew weary (Hebrews 12:3-5) and were but scarcely brought back to the right path (1 Peter 4:18; Psalms 40:1, 2) not without agony of soul (2 Samuel 24:14) and grievous chastisement (Psalms 38:1-19; 51; 130) -- let alone that such escape is not recorded of all.
For this reason the Scriptures are everywhere full of admonition to take heed (Hebrews 3:12-15), to watch (Luke 21:36; Revelation 16:15; Matthew 26:41), to pray always (Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18: 1; Romans 12:12) that we may be zealous (Titus 2:14), rich (1 Timothy 6:18), full (Acts 9:36), yea abounding (1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Peter 1:8) in good works (Titus 3:8); also that we consider one another (Hebrews 10:24, 25), exhort one another (1 Thessalonians 5: 11) and pray with and for one another (James 5:14-18); and it is indicated that even the most sincere hearts may not consider this to be useless or unnecessary. 2 Peter 1:12, 13; 3:1; Philippians 3:1; Hebrews 3:12-14.
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