Eternal Security/Part 6
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2001|
|What do the passages John 6:37-40, 1 Peter 1:4-5 and John 10:27-30 teach us about the eternal security of the believer? Drs. Ankerberg and Weldon explain in this article.|
Eternal Security—Part 6
What does John 6:37-40 teach about eternal security?
In these verses Jesus is speaking of His commitment to do the will of the Father in regard to the salvation of all those that the Father has personally given Him. Jesus teaches, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This passage declares several things: 1) all those who come to Jesus “will certainly not be cast out.” (NASB) The Greek carries a double negative for emphasis (i.e., I will never, never cast them out, or, we could paraphrase “I will never cast them out under any conditions.”); 2) Jesus came specifically to do the will of the Father; 3) the will of the Father is this: a) that He, Jesus, lose none of all those individuals the Father has specifically given Him, b) that He raise them up on the last day, c) that everyone who believes in Jesus shall have eternal life and d) that Jesus will personally raise each individual the Father has given Him to eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:2).
The question all this raises is whether or not Jesus could ever disobey the direct will of the Father. Jesus said that he always did the things that are pleasing to God (Jn. 8:29); that His very food was “to do the will of him who sent me and accomplish his work” (Jn. 4:34); that he does not seek his own will but the will of him who sent me (Jn. 5:30) and that, “I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do” (Jn. 17:4).
What these verses teach is that Jesus did accomplish the will of the Father while on earth, and there is certainly no reason to suspect that this will not be true in the future. These verses teach clearly that it is God’s will that Jesus lose none of all that the Father gave Him. Thus, if Jesus even lost a single soul, He would be out of the Father’s will. Was Jesus ever out of the Father’s will? If He was at one point, how many times might He be in eternity? Therefore, it would seem that either Christ keeps, raises and provides eternal security for all true believers (Jn. 6:40) or Christianity is meaningless. If Jesus was willing to even obey the Father in going to the agonies of the cross (Mt. 26:39-44) to suffer an incomparably torturous judgment and death, how much more willing will He be to keep and raise to life those whom the Father loves and desires? In other words, if He obeyed the Father in the most difficult situation, will He not obey Him in an incomparably easier situation? In John 17:9-11, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus prays that God will keep all true believers, “I ask on their behalf…keep them in thy name, the name which thou hast given me.” Certainly, the solemnity of such a prayer argues for its completion. That these verses are not restricted to the apostles is clear from John 17:20 in that He includes in the prayer all those also “who believe in me through their word.” Thus, John 17:20 in context argues that it is God’s will that the believer in Christ be kept safe and secure for the Father. Now consider the following verses, “No purpose of thine can be thwarted” (Job 42:2); “What his soul desires, that he does” (Job 23:13); “For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it?” (Isa. 14:27); “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure” (Isa. 46:10); “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of his will” (Eph. 1:5).
If in John 17 Jesus has prayed for the Father to keep us secure and that each believer be with Him in glory in eternity (verse 24), it seems unthinkable the Father would not answer the prayer of His own dear Son who paid such a penalty to redeem His people. “As Christ began to pray for His own while He was yet here in the world, so He has continued to pray for them, and will continue to pray for them, in heaven: ‘Saying he ever liveth to make intercession for them’ (Heb. 7:25). Who can measure the security of the children of God when they are the objects of the ceaseless intercession of the Son of God, whose prayer can never be denied”?
Another way to see the strength of these and other verses that we will discuss is to examinethem in other translations. If we examine our current verse, John 6:37-40, we read:
All whom my Father has given (entrusted) to me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will most certainly not cast out—I will never, no never reject one of them who come to me…. (Amplified)
But some will come to me—those the Father has given me—and I will never, never reject them…. (Living Bible)
All that the Father gives to me shall come to me, and the one who comes to me I will positively not throw out into the outside…. (Wuest)
What could be clearer?
What does 1 Peter 1:4-5 teach about eternal security?
The apostle Peter describes the nature of salvation when he writes that we are to give praise to God the Father for His great mercy in giving us new birth “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice,…” (1 Pet. 1:4-6).
No wonder we rejoice! This verse says that our salvation is:
- Imperishable—that it is indestructible;
- Undefiled—that it is perfect in every way;
- Will not fade away—that it is permanent; nothing can remove it;
- It is reserved in heaven for each of us—only we can fill it;
- And finally, that we are shielded by God’s power through faith.
Some argue that these verses will only prove true if we maintain our faith. However, God Himself has promised to preserve us in our faith and even if, theoretically, we were to become faithless, He promises to remain faithful for He cannot deny Himself. If we are “shielded by the power of God,” certainly that power is able to preserve our faith, especially when it concerns God’s own glory.
Consider this verse in other translations:
“(born anew) into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay (imperishable), unsoiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through (your) faith (till you fully inherit that final) salvation that is ready to be revealed (for you) in the last time” (Amplified).
“Resulting in an inheritance, imperishable and undefiled, and that does not fade away, which inheritance has been laid up and is now kept guarded in safe deposit in heaven for you who are constantly being kept guarded by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in a last season which is epochal and strategic in its significance” (Wuest). Could anything be more secure?
What does John 10:27-30 say about the eternal security of the believer?
In this passage Jesus emphasizes the security of the one who places faith in Him. He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall 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.”
There are five distinct points made by Jesus:
- His sheep hear His voice;
- He knows them;
- They follow Him;
- He gives them eternal life;
- They shall never perish because:
- His Father gave them to Him;
- No one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand because He is greater than all;
- He and the Father are One; therefore, no one can snatch them out of His hand either.
Could eternal security be more clearly stated? Is the Christian reader included in the category of “no one?” Is there anyone who would be excluded from this category? If not, no one, not even the believer, can take himself from the Father’s hand.
If we examine other translations, we again see the emphasis of this passage. For example, the amplified Bible renders John 10:28: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages—to all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed. And no one is able to snatch them out of my hand.” Wuest renders it, “And they shall positively not perish, never.” Again, what could be clearer?
- Chafer, Grace, p. 69.