Bible Reading: John 10:27-30; Hebrews 6:4-12
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” [John 10:27-30 NLT].
For centuries a theological debate has raged about whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation. If we are saved, is it possible to then be lost? A casual glance at these verses might indicate this, but let’s look a little deeper.
Jesus makes it very clear that if we are His sheep, then no one can snatch us away. Some Bible versions say, “no man,” but it is probably more accurate to say, “nothing can snatch them from the Father’s hands.” This then includes, not just men but spiritual powers of darkness. Paul, writing to the Romans, says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” [Romans 8:38]. This verse is all-inclusive – nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, and nothing shall be able to snatch His children from the Father’s hand. Here is absolute safety and protection. Nothing external can take our salvation away!
The question is can we take ourselves out of the Father’s hand? Jesus said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” [Matthew 10:22]. No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand but is Jesus saying that those who do not endure to the end will not be saved?
Salvation is a gift, but it is possible to hand that gift back and say that we don’t want it. The writer of Hebrews warns us of the danger of falling away. The Aramaic version of the Bible uses the word “abandon” which is implied in the Greek text. It is the deliberate giving up of the faith. The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith [1 Timothy 4:1]. To depart means to leave or to abandon. Christ’s sheep cannot be taken from Him against their will; but their will is free, and they may choose to leave the flock. God wonderfully promises to protect us and keep us but we must continue to choose Him and His way.
What did Jesus mean when He told us that those who endure to the end shall be saved?
How would you define backsliding? The writer of Hebrews warns us to be diligent to the end and not sluggish [Hebrews 6:11-12]. God promises to restore the backslider who repents, but when does backsliding become apostasy and the abandonment of faith?
Jude says that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God [Jude 21]. How do we do we keep ourselves in the love of God?