Thursday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

John 10:22-39

The Peace of Eternal Security

We return to the Gospel of John.  Again, Jesus refers to those who are his as “sheep.”  These hear his voice, know his voice, and follow him.  The reason why the Jewish leaders do not believe in him is quite simple: they are not of his flock.  Hearing and responding to Jesus, obeying his word, is predicated upon being one of his flock.  This is why the people of the world behave as they do, because they do not know him.  We mustn’t be surprised when pagans act like pagans, but we should be surprised, and ashamed, when Christians do – especially ourselves.

Then Jesus says some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one will 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.”  It is called the doctrine of eternal security.  It is sometimes stated in the colloquial way, “Once saved, always saved.”  It is the biblical teaching that those whom the Father has given the Son, gave them to him from all eternity, and for all eternity.  Jesus uses the illustration of his sheep being in his hand, while his hand is in the Father’s hand, who is greater than anything or anyone else.  That’s security!  There have always been those who claim that such a doctrine will invariably lead people to sin.  And it will lead those to sin who were never in His hand.  But to those who are in His hand, it is a doctrine not only of immense comfort but of gratitude, which then expresses itself in acts of love to God and others.  Do bear in mind that the doctrine of eternal security is not the same as the doctrine of assurance of that security.  Many Christians of tender conscience may often feel that they are not saved.  It is at this place that they must simply turn to the promises of the gospel and trust that God is true to His word.  Do not judge them; encourage them.  After all, we should all examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The Jews pick up stones to stone Jesus because he made himself God, a charge Jesus did not reject.  Jesus turns the argument based on the Scripture (which he says “cannot be broken,” indicating his own regard for Scripture) where God calls the judges of the peoples “gods,” because of their weighty responsibility (Psalm 82:6).  So if God calls those gods only for their eminent task, why will they stone the One whose works indicate that he is the very Son of God?  There is no daylight between the Father and the Son.  He has ever been and ever shall be the Son – and he has us in his hand.

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