I am fortunate to belong to a small group that meets every Wednesday. Its purpose is relational which means we start by building ourselves first. We have been discussing promises, and I made an observation that the leader suggested would make a good topic. I agree.
Here’s the passage. We’ll build from this.
John 10:24-31, 36-39 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him….”…do you say of him whom the Father concentrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
In this, Jesus clearly established who he is and his granted authority. He also clearly established who are his and the implications of this relationship. Long and short of it – those who have saving faith in Jesus, those who are born-again, are forever guaranteed that position. It cannot be lost.
This is well-established throughout the New Testament as evidenced by the seal of the Holy Spirit. I’m going to leave out those passages for now. Let’s look at this passage. Who are these people? The ones that hear Jesus’ voice and follow him. We’re not talking intellectual agreement. No, following Jesus means giving up everything, knowingly and willingly, to follow the man whom we have come to know as God himself. This isn’t simply following a set of principles, like being a vegetarian, but rather following the person. Let’s face it, there is no denying the identification of a “born-again”. Everyone knows when someone has turned over their life and started following Jesus. The old is gone, behold the new.
That means it’s an irrevocable transaction. One may remember a time when someone joined the Army, he joined the Army. There was no getting out of it. I remember that was one of the things that frightened me as a child – that choosing God was forever. I was taught that there was no turning back. I didn’t like that idea. My eyes were on the allure of sin. Now, I have come to realize that this no-turning-back transaction is the most encouraging aspect of salvation.
Why is that? It’s because there are times I forget. Actually, there are times I go plumb out of my mind and think that I don’t need Jesus. Yup. You do, too. There are times I knowingly enter into sin, choosing to ignore God’s promises, and flat-out sin. Sometimes it’s big sin. That’s bad. Real bad. Does that disqualify me from my inheritance? No. Look at the text. “No one will snatch them out of my hand,” and, “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” That means Satan can’t cancel that transaction. And, guess what? That means you can’t, either. No one is no one, right? It doesn’t say, “No one – except yourself….”
The other thing that most people don’t realize is that even God can’t cancel this transaction. If Jesus can’t, then God can’t. Why? Because this passage is a definite promise of God. It is a one-way, one-time covenant. Saving faith through repentance and proclamation is the one-time, all-or-nothing event. Otherwise, this passage in John is a lie. Certainly, it can’t be talking about a time in the future, as in after death, you know, as in when you are in heaven, you’re there to stay. No, it’s written in the present tense.
Think about this. Once you are a believer, you are always a believer. God cannot back out on his word.
Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior.
Tomorrow, I’m going to tackle what I believe to be the most contradictory verse to all this, one that almost certainly seems to suggest that one can walk away from the faith and its eternal blessing.
Father, your words are plain and so encouraging. Please encourage us all. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers