I want to share a few things about what it means to be a man who perseveres. When I think of perseverance, I think of persevering in the faith. This really is the most important facet of your life where perseverance is necessary. You fail in the faith and the rest of your life falls like a child’s game of dominoes.
What I mean by persevere in the faith is this: A man who perseveres through trial and tribulation; hardship and difficulty; pushes through boredom and the mundane all the while holding on to his faith without failure or flinching.
If you have walked even one day as a real man of faith then you know quite well the myriad of forces calling you to abandon your duty, all of which do so with flirtatious temptations that, at their core, seem custom made just for you.
A man of perseverance is a man who perseveres under great difficulty and pain to deal with their greatest problem in their life: Their sin.
The only way a real man becomes a man of perseverance is that this real man confronts his sin head on. He does so with a confidence under-girded by the gospel of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, joined side-by-side with the saints and with yet a deeper vision that others, too, need to taste and see that the Lord is good.
The thing that undermines a man’s perseverance, however, is sin. But not necessarily just any sin. Secret sin. A man of secret sin is living a lie. He is the sort of man whose life is whitewashed by a masquerade of pseudo-manhood. He may know his doctrine well enough but has not tasted the grace of the Lord Jesus such that he has put his doctrine to the test as it ought (Gal 6:4) for his own heart’s sake. A man of secret sin will not persevere in the faith. Not because I said so but Jesus said so (Matt 7:21-23). Not every seminary graduate will inherit life.
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS
The world needs men of perseverance because otherwise the world will go to hell in a hand-basket. And by world, I mean it exclusively as John meant it John 3:16: For God so loved the World.
In the strictest sense we know that God did not die for everyone who ever lived. That would render his sacrifice null and void; ultimately ineffectual. No, he died for those whom the Father has given the Son (John 17:24) and no one else. And the man of perseverance understands this and is concerned by this. Yet, he can do nothing about this if he does nothing about the sin in his own heart. If you love the one, you will despise the other (Matt 6:24).
MORE ON SECRET SIN
Men of perseverance are strong. Strong men deal with weaknesses. Your greatest weakness is secret sin. The better you understand this, the better you can deal with sin and the stronger you become.
There are many ways secret sin manifests. The easiest example of secret sin is the glaring sin that goes unconfessed. Think of David and Bathsheba. Although at least one person technically knew about his initial transgression (the messenger who fetched this woman while she was bathing 2 Sam. 11:4), David was clearly content on not coming clean until God provided Nathan.
If you have a friend like Nathan in your life, then you are surely blessed. Most of us don’t.Tweet
But there are other sins. Sins that are harder to detect by others because they lay underground in our thought life. Most of us know better to not actually physically commit adultery or conspire to murder, but often enough we actually think things we ought not to think.
Jesus helps us see how easy it is for us to play David in just a matter a few moments, without even blinking (Matt 5:22, 28). And because these sins happen in the heart ‘Nathan’ can’t confront us. But we do have the Holy Spirit…someone better than Nathan. Nathan may know us but the Holy Spirit lives in us.
ASK THE SPIRIT
Men of perseverance are so concerned about ridding themselves of sin that they go so far as to ask the holy spirit to help see things about their own hearts which, on the surface, tend to go undetected. Moses prayed:
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.[Psa 90:8 ESV]
Matthew Henry notes,
Secret sins are (those that go no further than the heart and which are at the bottom of all covert acts). In the light of [your] countenance; that is, thou hast discovered these, and brought these also to account, and made us to see them, who before overlooked them. Secret sins are known to God and shall be reckoned for. Those who in heart have returned to Egypt, who set up idols in their heart shall be dealt with as revolters or idolaters. See the folly of those who go about to cover their sin, for they cannot cover them.”Matthew Henry Commentary
THE GOAL IS TO HATE SIN
A man of perseverance cannot cover their sin. A man of perseverance seeks to expose their sin in the light of the presence of God. Therefore, as it concerns your sin, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see what He sees; to illumine to your mind what is obviously apparent to Him; to convict you with the same hatred for this sin as the Father via the pouring out of his wrath on his own son.
A man of perseverance will not tolerate sin in his life any more than the Father, who forsook the Son order to reconcile you to Himself.
A MAN OF PERSEVERANCE
For the man reading this and who are in agreement with what I’ve said up to this point, I know deep down inside you you long for the day when the Father will welcome you into his kingdom saying, well done good and faithful servant.
But he does not do this for men who live in sin, whether open or in secret (Gal 5:19-21). So gird your loins like a man and slay your sin. Kill it. Turn from it. Confess it. Flea from it. Rid yourself of it. At last, put sin to death.
Though you face many hardships from the outside, you will never face any hardship more complicated than the sin inside. That is how you persevere. If you can properly deal with your sin, then you are a man worth trusting; a man worth following; a man who will persevere from this life to the next.
How to Mortify Sin by Sinclair Ferguson (Blog)
The Mortification of Sin In Believers by John Owen (Audio Book)
Make War – Killing by John Piper (Sermon)
The World, The Flesh & The Devil by Voddie Baucham (Sermon)
*Please contact me if you have an additional resources to add to this blog.