Here are a few more quotes from Tom Schreiner’s book, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance. I really recommend this book as a helpful tool in understanding the purpose and use of the warnings of the New Testament and how they related to perseverance and eternal security.
The Christian life is like a race, and we run to win a prize. Winning this race is the most important matter in our lives. If we lose this race, everything else we achieve in life is meaningless. 46
Two truths stand out in Paul’s assessment of his life. First, he was confident that he had lived in a way that pleased God….Second, the reason for Paul’s assurance was his perseverance in running the race. He had not quit halfway into the race; he had not abandoned the faith. 47
Both the present and future dimensions of salvation should be viewed as two aspects of an indivisible whole….Salvation is not merely a past reality; it is also our future destiny. 47
We are already saved, yet our salvation has not yet been completed or consummated. We must uphold the tension in the New Testament between the already and not yet when we think of salvation in the New Testament. Believers today are prone to oversimplify the biblical teaching and to think of salvation simply in terms of the present. When this happens, a crucial element of biblical teaching is surrendered… 52
If we wish to represent the New Testament correctly, we cannot say that eternal life is exclusively a present or a future gift. It is both present and future. We already possess eternal life by believing in Jesus as the Christ, yet we will not inherit eternal life nor acquire the inheritance of eternal life until the last day. 67
Forgiveness of sins is not a future gift; we enjoy it as a present possession. 75
What do we say, however, about 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness?” If our sins are already forgiven, do we need to continue to confess our sins to be forgiven by God?
…John really means that we must confess our sins in an ongoing way to be forgiven by God. Of course, this does not mean that believers must frantically try to recall every transgression every committed to be “clean” before God. It means that we must ask God to forgive the sins we remember. The stubborn refusal to admit such sins is lethal. What are we to make of the objection that our sins are already forgiven? The already-but-not-yet dynamic of the New Testament thinking helps us here. Yes, we are already forgiven. But we have not yet arrived in the heavenly city. We cannot use the promise of present forgiveness as a wedge to deny the need to confess sins as we commit them. We are already forgiven, yet we must continue to confess sins in order to be forgiven. The Scriptures teach both truths, and we ignore either of them to our peril. 76-77
Keeping the faith, fighting the good fight and finishing the race are not optional for believers; they are essential for obtaining the eternal reward, the crown of righteousness by which we stand in the right before God. 85