In John's Gospel account Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know
them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28). The
denominational religious world has long used these verses in an attempt to support their
false teaching of "impossibility of apostasy" or "once saved, always
saved." But the Bible does not teach this damnable doctrine, and the above
verses are no comfort to those who cling to Calvinistic theories.
The "sheep" in the above passage are certainly not the unbelieving
Jews who eventually crucified the Messiah. One cannot help but notice that these
"sheep" hear the Master's voice, and the Master knows them because they
follow Him! All those who are willing to follow the Lord are
assured of life eternal. This is a promise that results in the rejoicing of
every believer in the Word of God. It is a truth that the one following the
Lord cannot be against his will be snatched away by another. Even the devil is
powerless to "snatch" one who is determined to be faithful from the Lord's hand!
The one following the Lord, however, can himself cease to "walk in the
light" (1 John 1:7). People can reach the point where they choose to
"not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to
themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the
truth,and turn aside unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). A child of God can
"err from the truth" and the one who "converteth a sinner from
the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of
sins" (James 5:19-20).
The Bible often affirms that God's children can go astray. The writer of
Hebrews warns, "Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you
an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another
day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the
deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12-13). Those of denominational persuasion
claim that if one indeed falls away from God, it is because he was never saved. How
can one "fall away" from somewhere he has never been? He cannot!
The apostle Paul warned some of the Galatian brethren by saying, "Ye are
severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from
grace" (Gal. 5:4). You will note that these people were severed from
Christ. They were children of God who had been following the
Lord. Here is an instance where these brethren had already fallen from
grace. Guy Woods correctly observes that Jesus does not take goats and turn them
into sheep by giving them eternal life.
At what point do followers of the Lord receive eternal life? All followers of
Christ receive eternal life in promise, but it becomes a possession in the
hereafter. Mark 10:30 reads, "but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this
time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with
persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." You will notice that
eternal life becomes a reality in "the world to come."
One does not hope for that which he has. Yet, the Bible speaks of the
"hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times
eternal" (Titus 1:2). Such is the reason that love is greater than faith
and hope — faith will one day become sight, and once in heaven one will no longer
hope for the celestial city.
May all realize that before death they must heed and follow the Word
of God if they are to be saved! Jesus taught, "Not every one that saith unto
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my
Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty
works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye
that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
All who are willing to believe and obey the Good Shepherd (Christ) have the right
to become children of God (John 1:12). God calls all today in exactly the
same way – through the precious gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14; Romans
1:16). There is only one gospel – not many (Galatians 1:6).
The apostle Paul taught exactly as did Christ. To the Romans he said,
"Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his
servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto
righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became
obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being
made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:16-
18). May we choose well whom we will serve and follow! Our eternal destiny
depends upon the choice we make.
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