(You can listen to this on audio and pause the audio to follow page links, then, you can resume the audio, when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references for important study details).
(John 17 – Part 3).
Our study is in John 1, but, we are continuing to read background scriptures about and study the Trinitarian relationship and how Jesus has made us part of this mystical and powerful relationship.
Is it possible that we can ‘fall from grace’ or slip out of the Hands of God? Or, worse, is it possible that once we have been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, that we might turn away?
There has been an ongoing ‘debate’ in religious circles, particularly in protestant churches, concerning the idea or doctrine of “Eternal Security”. The Calvinist view, called ‘the Preservation of the Saints’, says, Christ holds and protects the confessing Christian, so they can never be ‘lost’ again. The Armenian view is that a Christian can ‘Fall from Grace’ and be lost, again. I don’t care to enter this endless argument. It only sows seeds of doubt and discord. But, I do want to hear the words of Jesus as He prays to The Father:
John 17, verse 12.
“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”
The phrase, “I was keeping them”, translates from the Greek language and word, “tereo”, which means, ‘to watch over, to guard; to keep in custody; preserved’.
The phrase, “and I guarded them”, translates from the Greek language and word, “phulasso”, which refers to, ‘a military guard, exercising unbroken vigilance as a military guard; preserve by ‘having an eye on’; referring to the uninterrupted vigilance shepherds show in keeping their flocks.
I have already stated that The Christian’s belief system must be built on both faith and reason. So, reason with me.
The Son of God, The Word, Who as from the beginning, through Whom all things were made, has said, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished…”
Do you think it is reasonable that the Creative Word of God can, and has, kept His word?
Read, also, John 10:27-30, ” 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, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Jesus repeats that no one can pluck the confessing Christian from neither His nor His Father’s Hand. (I believe that includes a ‘back-slidden’ Christian.)
One last question on this matter, for now: Is it possible for a believing Christian stop believing and reject God’s gift of salvation? Hebrews 6:4-6, has stern words on this matter when it says,
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
The language used in Hebrews 6:4-6, the picture of ‘not eating, but only tasting’ of the heavenly gift and the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. The phrase, “and then have fallen away” is not a theological term, but, it is a picture of two Greek wrestlers, locked in combat, and one of them is ‘thrown to the mat’ and loses his match. This metaphor is a picture of a person who comes to Christ and explores the things of God, but, wrestles with them in his or her soul, eventually, falls away or fall away, fall back into the unbelieving and godless ways of the old time.
The Bible tells us that it could be both, the Calvinist view and the Armenian view, regarding our security in Christ.
It is clear in scriptures that Jesus will not lose anyone the Father has given Him. We are secure in His Hands and in His Grip!
It also seems clear, that a person who does not fully embrace and continues to question, or wrestle with, the things of God, and fails to submit themselves to His Lordship of their lives, can find they have “fallen onto the mat” and can walk away from God, lost forever.
Doubt can be a normal thing, but unbelief can be fatal. John 3:18 warns that, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
God has made provision that we can confess the sin of unbelief and cry out to God, “I believe, but, help my unbelief.”
Read Romans 8:24-39 and be encouraged and take comfort in our eternal relationship with our powerful and eternal Father.
1. Jesus will never lose anyone given to Him by the Father.
2. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, and endure to the end.
3. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can remove us from our relationship with Him. Hold tight to those things which you have learned, He is coming soon!
We are returning to John chapter 1 to continue our study in verse 13. Please bookmark this page and let’s continue together.
Your Brother and Friend,