In our prior lesson we noted:
1. The Bible affirms the believer is KEPT and PROTECTED.
2. Jesus indeed is ACTIVE in intercessory work.
Let's now consider:
3. LIMITS have been placed on the devil after the old slavery to sin is broken.
Romans 6:7,14 reads - "For he who has died has been freed from sin...For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Slavery to sin is broken when one becomes united with Christ as a believer. I John 3:6-8 teaches that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil - "Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."
4. A GOAL is promised to believers.
There is security in knowing that God is moving all of history toward the Second Coming of Christ and His eternal kingdom. Ephesians 5:27 promises that Jesus will present believers to Himself, holy and without blemish - "That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." John 6:37-40 states:
"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all he has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
No believers will be lost or cast out, but the promise of everlasting life is to believers (present tense)! If someone ceases to be a believer, the promise no longer applies to them. I would suggest that security is not unconditionally granted from eternity to certain individuals but rather that man's eternal security is contingent upon his continuing to believe (i.e., upon his faithfulness to God).
But what about John 10:27-29, Stephen? The text flat out says that those to whom Christ gives eternal life shall never perish. Let's read it carefully - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone 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 My Father's hand." Indeed that text does affirm that some will never perish, but to whom is Christ speaking? To whom will Jesus grant eternal life? Who will never perish? "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." There are some conditions there, friends! Those who are considered Christ's sheep are those who hear His words and follow Him. The expressions here are present tense in the Greek, meaning that the action is not a once-for-all time act but continuous. One must continue to listen and obey if he wants to continue to be one of Jesus' sheep. If one stops hearing or stops obeying, he will stop being a sheep at some point. Thus, true believers in Christ do have eternal security, but this promise of confidence is not made to those who cease being genuine believers.
We will conclude this series in our next lesson.