Since eternal life is free and can never be lost, why would I want to live for the Lord?

In John 10:28-29, we discovered that believers in Jesus are secure forever because eternal life is a gift which can never be lost. But someone may say, “Since eternal life is free through believing in Jesus and cannot be lost, why would I want to live for the Lord? What is to keep me from living like the devil since I know I will go to heaven after believing in Jesus? There are several incentives for living a godly life after believing in Jesus for the gift of eternal life. We will look at four of them:

1. GRATITUDE: When a sinner believes in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and the gift of eternal life, the most natural response is a heart full of thanksgiving.  The Bible says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19). When you are convinced God loves you no matter what and that His arms of grace are always open for you no matter how badly you fail or fall, you will want to do what He tells you to do out of gratitude and because you know He wants the best for you (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20).

For example, let’s say you are drowning in the ocean, and a man on the seashore hears your cries for help and swims out to save you from certain death. After he brings you safely back to shore, you ask him, “How can I ever thank you for saving me?” He replies, “You would have done the same thing for me,” and then he drives off on his motorcycle. Two weeks later you are driving your car down the highway and you notice the same man standing beside the road next to his motorcycle which has two flat tires. The man is frantically waving his hands to get you to stop, but you just wave at him and keep going. That, my friends, is no way to thank the man who saved you from drowning. Likewise, when we fail to live for the Lord, we are still saved, but that is no way to thank our Savior who saved us from an eternity burning in the lake of fire.

2. GOD’S DISCIPLINE: Just as an earthly father disciplines his wayward children, so God will discipline His disobedient child (Hebrews 12:5-11). It is possible for a believer to be more miserable living outside of God’s will than it would have been to remain a non-Christian. If a believer continues in sin long enough, God may even take his or her physical life (cf. I Corinthians 11:29-32). Knowing the price of sin in a Christian’s life ought to be a strong motivation for godly living. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).

3. YOUR NEW IDENTITY: When a person believes or trusts in Christ for the gift of eternal life, God’s grace gives him a new identity or capacity to overcome sin and live for the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-20; I John 3:1-9). Romans 6:14-18 says, 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

When we become Christians, we are under a new authority. We are now under God’s grace, not the law. When we realize and submit to Christ’s rule over us, regardless of our feelings, our sinful flesh progressively loses its domination over us, and the grace of God is activated in our lives. We then obey because of our relationship with Jesus. Some immature Christians might think that living under grace means they can go on sinning. But Paul refutes this thinking. If you are living under grace, you will actually keep the law. And if you don’t keep the law, it only proves you’re not operating under the grace of God. Christians obey the standard, but the motivation isn’t the standard. The motivation is God’s grace. The more believers experience the grace of Jesus, the more he or she wants to live in way that is consistent with his or her new identity in Christ.

At this juncture, I believe it is important to talk about sanctification. Sanctification is being “set apart” or made holy to God. The Bible alludes to pre-conversion sanctification whereby the Lord sets apart the unbeliever for salvation and/or service (Jeremiah 1:5; Acts 9:15; Romans 1:1; I Corinthians 7:14; Galatians 1:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2).

For the Christian, sanctification is realized in three ways. All believers are positionally sanctified when they first believe by virtue of being in Christ (I Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  That is, they are completely and permanently set apart from their sin and shame, and placed into the body of Christ. God totally accepts the believer at the moment of faith in Jesus regardless of how much or little they manifest His holiness.

Christians are personally or progressively sanctified as they allow the Holy Spirit to guide their lives, and begin to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Luke 14:25-33; John 8:31-32; 15:1-8; 17:17; Romans 6:12-23; 8:1-17; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 5:13-14; I Peter 1:15- 16; 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:18).  Therefore, obedience to the Word of God, while not necessary for obtaining everlasting life, is the essential responsibility of each Christian to grow in the Christian life (Romans 6:12-23; Hebrews 5:13-14; 1 Corinthians 2:14–3:4). However, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his experience, failure will result, evidenced by sinful acts or even prolonged disobedience (1 Corinthians 3:1-15; 10:1-13; Galatians 5:16-21).

Christians will be ultimately sanctified when they become completely conformed to the image of Christ in His presence (Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22; I John 3:2-3; Jude 24- 25).  There will be no more sin in their words, thoughts, actions, or motives.

For example, the apostle Paul in writing to the church at Corinth, says, “To those who are sanctified (hagiazō) in Christ Jesus, called to be saints (hagios).” (I Corinthians 1:2). Paul calls them “saints” which means, “set-apart ones” (I Corinthians 1:2). He was not referring to their behavior because they were acting very immature and disobedient (I Corinthians 1:11-6:20; 11:17-32; et al.). He was obviously talking about their identity or their position in Christ, which was sourced in their spiritual birth. Paul calls them “saints”(positional sanctification) in chapter 1 and then challenges them to act like the saints they really are (progressive sanctification) in the remaining chapters of the book.

When the Corinthians were committing sexual immorality with prostitutes he questions their knowledge about their new identity in Christ, not their salvation (I Corinthians 6:13-20). Paul describes believers’ future resurrection bodies which will be “raised in incorruption” and “put on incorruption” (ultimate sanctification) to encourage Christians to remain faithful to the Lord in the present (I Corinthians 15:42, 53). Because Christians will receive future resurrection bodies that no longer yield to sin, they are to abound in the work of the Lord now knowing He will reward them for their faithfulness in the future (I Corinthians 15:58; cf. 3:8-15; 9:24-27).

4. ETERNAL REWARDS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST: The last book of the Bible (Revelation) provides an outline of future events (see picture) beginning with the current church age to the eternal state…

1. We are living in the Church Age which began at Pentecost (Acts2) and will end with the rapture or removal of the Church from the earth which could take place at any moment (John 14:1-3; I Cor. 15:51-52; I Thess.1:10; 4:13-5:11; Revelation 4-5). Knowing that Christ could come for us at any moment motivates Christians to live faithfully for Him so they are prepared to face Him as their Judge.

2. Soon after the Church is taken in the Rapture, seven years of Tribulation begin on the earth.  This period begins when the Beast of Revelation makes a covenant with the nation of Israel (Dan. 9:26-27). This will be an awful time of death, disease, hunger, famine, earthquakes as never seen, warfare, entire seas turned to blood, darkness, scorching of the sun and multiple other judgments (Revelation 6-19). It will end when Jesus returns to earth with His Church and Christ will destroy His enemies (Revelation 17:12-14; Revelation 19:11-21). At that time, the Antichrist and False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20) and the Devil will be bound for a 1000 years (Revelation 20:2-3).

3.  Then Jesus will reign as King over the entire earth for a thousand years from the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14; Revelation 20:4-6). This period is called the Millennium which means “one thousand.”

4. At the end of the Millennium God will destroy the entire creation (2 Peter 3:10). Every person who did not believe or trust in Christ alone for the gift of salvation will stand before God as He sits on the Great White Throne to judge each unbeliever according to their works to determine the degree of their punishment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). Satan will receive his final judgment in the Lake of Fire at this time.

5.  Then a New Heaven (Universe) and New Earth are created which are perfect and beautiful (Revelation 21-22). This will be the eternal home of believers in Jesus.

Knowing the future should motivate Christians to live for what is eternal and not what is temporary. Why? Because there is another Judgment. During the Tribulation, in heaven, Christians will give an account for all their work for Christ. While Christians will never be judged to determine their eternal destiny since they already have eternal life (John 5:24), they will face another kind of judgment to determine what if any rewards they will receive in Christ’s eternal Kingdom. In Revelation 4:4, 10-11, “the twenty-four elders” represent faithful (overcoming) believers in heaven who possess “crowns” (rewards) received at the Judgment Seat of Christ and will rule with Christ in His coming Kingdom (cf. 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:10b, 2:26-27; 3:5a, 3:11, 21).  This Judgment is to motivate Christians to be faithful disciples who obey the Word of God. This is called the Judgment Seat of Christ.

God wants to reward all Christians for their faithfulness to Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”(2 Corinthians 5:9-10). Paul was motivated to live a life that pleased the Lord knowing that he would appear before Christ at the Judgment Seat in the future to determine what if any rewards he would receive (Romans 14:10-12; I Corinthians 3:8-15; 4:5; 9:24-27; Revelation 22:12). Every Christian must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to answer to Jesus for the “good” and “bad” things he has done since becoming a Christian. The word “bad” (kakon) means “worthless, wicked, and evil.”

Is this scary for you to think about? Certainly! Even the apostle Paul was afraid to face the Judgment Seat of Christ. He writes, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Why would Paul fear the Judgment Seat of Christ? He was afraid of the possibility that his life will be revealed as one wasted and spent in selfishness rather than in devotion and obedience to Christ. Selfish living and wasted opportunities will bring more regrets when Jesus evaluates a believer’s life than most of us care to think about. Knowing this should be sufficient  motivation for God’s people to aim to please the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24).

Knowing that we can earn eternal rewards should motivate believers to live for Christ now. Christians can earn heavenly treasure (Matthew 6:19-21) by giving a cup of cold water to God’s servant (Matthew 10:42), doing a charitable deed in private (Matthew 6:3- 4), praying in private (Matthew 6:6), and fasting in private (Matthew 6:17-18).

Christians who remain faithful in their service to Christ to the end of their lives will be given rewards that include wearing special white garments (Revelation 3:4-5), ruling with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21), eating the fruit of the tree of life (Revelation 2:7), eating hidden manna (Revelation 2:17), receiving a white stone engraved with your own special name that only the Lord and you will know (Revelation 2:17), and receiving a special entrance into the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:14).

Christians can also earn a crown of rejoicing for making disciples (I Thessalonians 2:19), a crown of righteousness for loving the appearing of the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8), a crown of life for enduring trials and temptations until death (James 1:12), a crown of glory for faithfully shepherding others as a servant leader (I Peter 5:4), and an imperishable crown for living a disciplined life (I Corinthians 9:25).

By focusing on the Judgment Seat of Christ, Christians will develop a desire to please God rather than men. Because Christ is first in the life of a disciple and could come back at any moment, a disciple should seek to win as many people to Christ as possible and become more like the Judge who will evaluate his or her life at the Judgment Seat.

Knowing we have eternal life which can never be lost does not give Christians a license to sin or live like the devil. God did not save us to live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:15). We have looked at several motivations to live for Jesus untill we go to be with Him in heaven.

I will close with some thoughts from Dave Breese in Living for Eternity said, The child of God is a creature of eternal destiny. For him no day is without consequence, and no fleeting moment can be called incidental or unimportant. The hours he spends and the decisions he makes have implications that carry on into eternity. What he does today will matter a thousand years from today.” (Larry Moyer, Free And Clear: Understanding & Communicating God’s Offer of Eternal Life [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997], pg. 145).

How can I experience security forever? Part 3

“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.” John 10:28-29

In John 10:22-30, we have learned so far that I can experience security forever when I…

– Ignore the Blindness of Christ’s opponents (John 10:22-26).

– Believe in Jesus alone for His free gift (John 10:27).

The third and final way I can experience security forever is when I REALIZE THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING IN JESUS (10:28-30). Jesus promises three benefits to His sheep i.e. to those who believe in Him.

1. THE GIVING OF ETERNAL LIFE (John 28a). Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life.” (John 10:28a). He does not say and “they earn eternal life.” No, He gives it to them. It is a gift. As one man in an audience said while listening to a salvation message, “Oh it’s beautiful. I always thought I had something to do, but now I see I have something to receive.” Eternal life is a gift to be received. If you have it, you have it eternally. If a person ever lost eternal life, then Jesus just told a lie.

2. THE GUARANTEE AGAINST PERISHING IN HELL (John 10:28b). How secure are those who receive eternal life from Jesus the moment they believe in Him? Christ says, “and they shall never perish.” (John 10:28b). The construction of the Greek clause “they shall never perish” (kai ou mē apolōntai eis ton aiōna), with a double negative literally reads “and never not shall they perish for the age.” How long is “never”? (Pause). It is forever. The moment we believe in Jesus, we have the assurance that we shall never perish in hell for eternity. Jesus is very emphatic here. He wants His sheep to be confident that they will never experience eternal ruin or destruction in hell. Eternal life is God’s life. You can no more perish in hell than God can perish in hell. Believers do sin and stumble, but our Good Shepherd will “never” let us perish in hell! Even if you were to desire to go to hell to spend eternity with unsaved family and friends after you believe in Jesus for eternal life, it is too late because Christ guarantees you shall “never perish”! The third benefit of believing in Jesus is this…

3. THE GRASP THAT LASTS (John 10:28c-29). Christ then says, “neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28c). Why? Because Jesus securely holds each believer in His hand and no one – not a lion, wolf, thief, bandit, false teacher, popular speaker, demon, devil, not even you yourself – is strong enough to snatch (John 10:12) them out of His hand. The word “snatch” (harpasei) means “to snatch, seize, i.e., take suddenly or vehemently.” It is impossible for even one sheep to be removed from the hand of our Good Shepherd. And no matter how strong or persuasive they are, not one of His sheep can wriggle out of His grasp.

If you are still not convinced that the believer in Jesus is secure forever, Christ adds: “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.” (John 10:29). The hand of Jesus holding the believer is secure in the hand of God the Father. And no one is strong enough to snatch a believer from the hand of God the Father. In other words, the believer is doubly secure.

This Shepherd is all-powerful and the sheep in His hand have nothing to fear. The security of the frail sheep does not depend on their grip on God, but on God’s grip on them. And God will never let go of them. If you come to Jesus by faith, He has got you. When you are too weak and your hands go limp, He will still be hanging on to you. Our eternal security does not depend upon our own ability but upon the ability of our Shepherd to protect and preserve His flock.

There are some who do not believe in eternal security who insist that a believer can jump out of the hands of Jesus or God the Father on his or her own initiative. But this position cannot be supported contextually. “They shall never perish” (John 10:28b) means just that. If a believer could jump out of God the Father’s and God the Son’s hands, then Jesus just told a lie here. The phrase, “No one(John 10:29), includes the believer himself. Even if you take the “no one” to be a reference to “the thief” (John 10:10a) which represents the devil or his false teachers, even they cannot snatch the believer out of the hands of God the Son and God the Father, not even by persuading or deceiving the believer to jump out. 

Jesus then says, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30). Jesus claims oneness with His Father in the sense that He and the Father both provide the sheep with security forever. They both are God. But He is not saying they are the same Person. They are two distinct Persons with the purpose which guarantees the eternal destiny of all who believe in Christ. If He had meant they were the same Person, He would have used the masculine form of the word translated “one” (heis). Instead He used the neuter form of the word (hen) to emphasize that they are one in their actions. This explanation also harmonizes with the context, since Jesus had said that He would keep His sheep secure forever (John 10:28), and that His Father would also keep them secure forever (John 10:29). 

Conclusion: When you believed or trusted Christ alone for eternal life, why is eternal life guaranteed?

1. Because security is not you holding God, but God holding you forever.  Security is not based on our feeble hold on Christ, but on His firm grip on us. In order to lose your eternal life, you would have to be greater than God Himself. And that is not going to happen! What wonderful security God provides for us especially in a day when so many dreadful things are happening.

2. Because no one is strong enough to open God’s hand and remove any Christian who is held securely in it. Do you realize how strong God’s fingers are? In Psalm 8:3 we are told, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained.” Imagine how strong God’s fingers are which placed the stars and moon that we see in our night sky! No one is strong enough to pluck us out of God’s hands. He has such a good grip on us that we could not get out of it even if we wanted to. It is a done deal!

A newlywed couple was given a lottery ticket by the bride’s aunt and uncle as a wedding gift. Two days later they discovered they had the winning numbers. The uncle and aunt had done this before for other newlyweds, but this was the first time any of the couples had received the winning numbers. When the aunt was asked whether they would try to get any of the money she replied, “I gave them the ticket as a gift, and a gift it will remain.

Christ gives us eternal life the moment we believe in Him for it and He never takes it back. We are secure forever not because of our grip on God but because of His grip on us. We are forever in His hands!

Prayer: Precious Lord Jesus, what wonderful security You provide for me especially during a time when there are so many dreadful things happening in the world that can easily leave me feeling insecure. Knowing that I am secure in Your promises of eternal life, of never perishing, and never being snatched from Your hands gives me unspeakable joy and peace! Even if my grip on You becomes weak and my hands grow limp, Your hands will not let go of me! The assurance that I will go to heaven is not based upon my grip on You, but upon Your grip on me. I do not have to live in fear of losing my relationship with You. This frees me up to focus on You and the work You have set before me. Oh my Good Shepherd, please lead me to those who are overwhelmed with insecurity so I may share with them about Your security that lasts forever. In Your powerful name I pray. Amen.  

How can I experience security forever? Part 1

“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.’ ” John 10:25

People today may feel extremely insecure and rightly so. Eleven percent of the world’s population are undernourished and 697 million people in the world are severely food insecure and do not know if any food will be available for them to eat. 1

Since the onset of COVID-19, we see a growing economic insecurity with the loss of jobs and businesses. Many people fear their financial situations will only get worse. There is also insecurity attached to the rise in social unrest, with peaceful protests turning into rioting. Violent conflict and crimes are on the rise throughout the world which is a tremendous source of insecurity for people today. 2

Psychologists have identified that the kind of childhood you had, past traumas, recent experiences of failure or rejection, loneliness, social anxiety, negative beliefs about yourself, perfectionism, or having a critical parent or partner can all contribute to our insecurity. 3

Some people feel insecure because they perceive that they are lacking or they have been told that they are lacking. For example, you may feel too fat, skinny, tall, short, old, young, educated or uneducated. We may try to compensate for our insecurities by telling ourselves, “If I had a nice house or a new car or a better job or was more popular, I would feel more secure about myself.” So, thinking that we are lacking something or someone may cause insecurity.

One of the most insecure feelings is not knowing where you will go after you die here on earth. The truth is all people die (unless of course you are a Christian and the Rapture or sudden removal of the Church takes place – I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18). Not being certain of your eternal destiny produces deep seeded insecurity in people. People take extreme measures to avoid thinking about death. They color their gray hair, go on extreme diets and exercise programs trying to delay the inevitable.

Please understand, no matter how insecure you may feel right now, God does not want His children to be insecure. He has given us incomparable security in the Lord Jesus Christ and He wants us to share this security with a lost world that is becoming more and more insecure.

In the context of our passage today, there is a stark contrast between the false shepherds of Israel who brought death and insecurity to God’s people and the Good Shepherd who brings life and protection (John 10:1-21). This is Jesus’ last act in His public ministry. Let’s look now at how we can experience security forever. I CAN EXPERIENCE SECURITY FOREVER WHEN I …

IGNORE THE BLINDNESS OF CHRIST’S OPPONENTS (John 10:22-26). “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.” (John 10:22). The Feast of Dedication is now known as Hanukkah or the Feast of Lights. Although it was not one of the feasts prescribed in the Mosaic Law, it was still an important and popular celebration that brought many Jews to Jerusalem.

The historical basis for this festival was the cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164/165 B.C. three years after their desecration by the Greco-Syrian Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Antiochus, in his zeal to Hellenize his realm, persecuted the Jews, plundered the temple treasury, and erected an idolatrous altar and sacrificed a sow to Jupiter. The Hasmoneans led by Judas Maccabeus revolted and eventually overthrew the forces of Antiochus. The festival commemorates this last great deliverance that the Jews had known and symbolized their hope that the Messiah would again deliver His people from their enemies, the Romans. 4

During the eight days of the Feast, the Hallel (Psalms of praise) was chanted, both in the Temple in Jerusalem and in private homes. During the rededication of the Temple in 164/165 B.C., tradition said that only one unpolluted bottle of oil was found, just enough to provide light for one day, but it was miraculously replenished for eight consecutive days. For this reason, the Feast lasts eight days and is called the Feast of Lights. 5

What is the significance of this Feast to the dialogue within this passage? Because of this feast, a large crowd had gathered for Jesus to teach. The regular synagogue readings nearest to the Feast of Dedication were concerned with the theme of shepherds and sheep (cf. Ezekiel 34). Some scholars suggest that the mention of the Feast was designed to connect Christ’s teaching with the hopes associated with the Maccabean deliverance. 6 “It was the last great deliverance that the Jews had known, and therefore it must have been in people’s minds a symbol of their hope that God would again deliver his people.” 7 Little did the people know that their prayers for another deliverance would be fulfilled through Jesus.

The Feast of Dedication took place in the middle of December. It had been three months since the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:1-10:21. So the teaching in John 10:22-39 was three months following the teachings in John 7:1-10:21. The mention of “winter” in verse 22 explains verse 23. “And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” (John 10:23). Winter was the colder rainy season in Israel. In warmer weather, Christ would have taught in the courtyard of the temple. But because it was “winter,” He took shelter from the wet and windy weather in “Solomon’s porch” which was a long walkway covered by a roof supported on pillars on the east side of the Temple facing the Kidron Valley. One writer suggests that John mentioned that it was “winter” because it resembled the spiritual climate in Jerusalem, namely the frigid spirits of the Jews. 8

Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, ‘How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ ” (John 10:24).  As Jesus walked down Solomon’s porch “the Jews surrounded Him” with hostile intent. The word translated “surrounded” (ekyklōsan) means they “besieged” Him. They pinned Him in so they could obtain a clear reply from Him about His identity. The question “If You are the Christ…” is in the first class of the Greek language and assumes for the sake of argument that Jesus is the Messiah-God. By asking for a plain statement that He was the Messiah they were implying that if they rejected Him, it was His fault and not theirs because He had not clearly stated that He was Israel’s Messiah.

Jesus responds. “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” (John 10:25). The Jews asked Jesus if He was the Christ, their Messiah-God, and Jesus says, “I told you again and again Who I am, yet you refused to believe Me.” They had His Word as to His Person, but they also had His works or miracles which testified that He was their Messiah. Even though Christ’s words and works provided sufficient evidence that He was their promised Messiah-God, they still refused to believe in Him. Why? Was it because of the lack of a clear statement from Christ about His identity? No.

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.” (John 10:26). Their unbelief was because they “were not of His sheep.” They did not listen to His Word, like sheep will listen to the voice of their shepherd. They were like the thief and hireling, bringing death and caring only for themselves (John 10:8, 10a, 12-13). So, the fault of their unbelief, was not His, but theirs.

If you and I are going to possess security forever, we must ignore the spiritual blindness of Christ’s enemies. Jesus gave them more than enough evidence that He was the promised Messiah-God, but they were determined not to believe in Him. They had no interest in becoming His sheep.

There are many skeptics today who ignore the sufficient evidence concerning Jesus’ identity as the Messiah-God. Even though the historical evidence overwhelmingly points to Jesus as the Messiah-God Who lovingly died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose from the dead, skeptics continue to deny these historical facts. They undermine the clear promises of Jesus which state that all you must do to possess eternal life is believe in Him (John 3:15-16; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 10:25-27; 11:25-26). God wants us to ignore these impostors and focus on the promises of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

Some of you reading this article have been taught that Jesus never claimed to be God and never died on a cross to pay the penalty for all your sins. But still you are here wanting to learn more about Jesus. Your soul is restless and you have no security about your future. Give Jesus a chance. He has drawn you here to reveal more of Himself to you.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but you have experienced spiritual leaders that care only about themselves and use their religion to meet their own needs instead of care for the people entrusted to them. Jesus loved you so much that He laid down His life for you and me on the cross. When the Messiah-God died in our place as our Substitute, God was satisfied with His perfect payment for all our sins (cf. I John 2:2; 4:10). That is why Jesus said while hanging on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). The Greek word translated “finished” (tetelestai) means “paid in full.” Receipts in New Testament times were stamped with this word which meant that the debt had been paid in full. Jesus finished making the full payment for all our sins when He died in our place. There is no more payment to be made because God was satisfied with Jesus’ payment.

This is substantiated further when Matthew tells us at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51). This “veil” or curtain separated the holy place from the holy of holies in the Jewish temple (cf. Exodus 26:33; Hebrews 9:2-3). The fact that this occurred “from top to bottom” signified that God is the One who ripped the thick curtain. It was not torn from the bottom by men ripping it. God was showing that the way of access into His presence was now available for everyone, not simply the Old Testament high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22), because God was satisfied with Jesus’ payment for our sins. No other animal sacrifices or payments were necessary to enter God’s presence in heaven.

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us so we may have life that never ends the moment we believe or trust in Him alone. Since God was satisfied with the sufficient sacrifice of His perfect Son to pay the penalty for all our sins (Isaiah 53:11; John 19:30; I John 2:2; 4:10), we must also be satisfied with what satisfied God – Jesus’ death on the cross. God cannot accept anything we do as payment for our sins because He has already accepted His Son’s payment for all of our sins when He died in our place on the cross.

Jesus did not say, “Whoever does good works… prays every day and lives a good life should not perish but have everlasting life.” No, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Being secure forever is not faith in Christ PLUS something else. It is faith in Christ alone.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, all of us in the world today have many reasons to be insecure. We may have external reasons and internal reasons for our insecurity. But You do not want any of Your children to be insecure about Your identity. You have given us Your Word which never changes to provide security that lasts forever. Because You experienced opposition to Your identity as the Messiah-God when You walked on the earth 2,000 years ago, we can know that You understand and sympathize with us when we encounter opposition to Your identity today (Hebrews 4:15-16). When the ruler of this world and his false shepherds attack Your identity, help us to focus on Your voice of truth. Because You, Father God, were satisfied with Your Son’s payment for the sins of the world when He died on the cross, we must also be satisfied with what satisfied You. I pray in Your name, Lord Jesus, that Your Holy Spirit will persuade lost and insecure people to believe the truth about You – that Your are the Promised Messiah-God, Whose death on the cross satisfied God’s demand to punish sin. And now whoever believes in Jesus alone may have never-ending life in His name. Once this life is received, it can never be lost because it is eternal and it is based on Your faithfulness to Your promises, not ours. Lord Jesus, You are the truth and You cannot lie. Thank You my Lord and my God for security that lasts forever! In Your name I celebrate. Amen.  

ENDNOTES:

1. See https://ourworldindata.org/hunger-and-undernourishment#severe-food-insecurity

2. https://www.un.org/en/un75/new-era-conflict-and-violence

3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201512/the-3-most-common-causes-insecurity-and-how-beat-them

4. Dr. Tom Constable, Notes on John, p. 192.

5. J. W. Shephard, The Christ of the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), 1946, p. 400.

6. J. Carl Laney, Moody Gospel John Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), pg. 193.

7. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John. New International Commentary on the New Testament series (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 459.

8. John G. R. Beasley-Murray, Word Bible Commentary series, Second Ed. (Waco: Word Books, 1987), p. 173.

How can I trust the Lord Jesus as the True Shepherd? Part 4

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

In our study of John 10 we have learned that we can trust Jesus as our True Shepherd because…

– He has prophetic credentials (John 10:1-2)

– He has the doorkeeper’s (John the Baptist’s) confirmation (John 10:3a)

– He has personal concern for each of us (John 10:3b)

– He provides competent leadership (John 10:3c-6).

Today we discover that we can also trust Jesus as our True Shepherd because HE OFFERS SALVATION COMPLETELY FREE (John 10:7-9a, 10b). “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.’ ” (John 10:7). After a shepherd separates his sheep from other flocks, he takes them out to pasture to graze. Near the pasture is an enclosure with no door. The shepherd stood in the doorway and functioned as the gate. The sheep could go out to graze in the pasture or if they were afraid, they could retreat into the security of the pen. A gate provides access or entrance.

When Jesus says, “I am the door,” He is saying He provides access or entrance into the nourishment of the pasture or into the security of the pen. Either way, Christ is the only One who can meet our spiritual needs completely. The religious leaders could not.

“All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.” (John 10:8). Jesus refers to the religious leaders as “thieves and robbers” who exploited people and cared only for themselves. Established religions and their leaders cannot meet the needs of God’s flock for safety and security. The Pharisees were telling people that the way to be saved was to follow their religious rules and regulations. Instead of caring for these people, they increased their burdens for their own gain. But “the sheep did not hear” or pay attention to them because they were not the True Shepherd.

Jesus on the other hand, offers salvation freely. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” (John 10:9a). Jesus does not say, “I am a door,” leaving open the possibility of other ways into the fold. No, He says He is “the door.” He is the only way into God’s fold. He is the only way into God’s fold. This is another “I AM” statement by Jesus whereby He claims to be God (cf. John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1).

The phrase “by Me” (di’ emou) is in an emphatic position (at the beginning of the sentence). Literally it says, “Through Me, if anyone enters, he will be saved” (di’ emou ean tis eiselthē, sōthēsetai). Only Jesus can provide access or entrance into God’s sheepfold through faith in Him alone. There is no other way for people to be saved from their sins and enter God’s family except through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:12; 14:6; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:5-6).

Notice what Jesus promises the person who enters through Him – “he will be saved.” He does not say, “he might be saved,” or “he could be saved.” No, Jesus said, “He will be saved.” The salvation Jesus offers is absolutely certain and complete. Christ’s statement leaves no room for doubt or uncertainty about one’s own eternal destiny.

In verse 10a, Jesus contrasts His free and complete salvation with the Devil and the false shepherds that the Devil uses. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10a). “The thief” climbs over the wall, cuts the throats of the sheep, and then throws them over to other bandits. The thief robs the sheep of life and cares only about himself. Notice that “the thief” is singular and most likely refers to the Devil who wants “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” This would include the religious leaders (cf. 10:1, 8) whom the Devil uses to deceive the people. The Jewish religious leaders offered their followers a hope of finding God’s life through a life of obedience to their religious traditions. By doing this, they were robbing the people of the life that Jesus offered.

John 10:9-10 make it clear that there is only one way to God, but there are many ways to destruction. Jesus Christ is the only way into God’s sheepfold (John 14:6). All other religions consist of false shepherds who mislead people away from the life that Jesus freely offers. Most of the world’s religions may sound good to an uninformed person, but all of them have one thing in common – they lead you away from the everlasting life that only Jesus Christ can give.

Jesus did not come to steal, kill, and destroy. He came to give eternal “life” freely to those who would believe or trust in Him alone as their True Shepherd (John 3:15-16; 10:10b). The life that Jesus gives is not only long, but it is also rich, which leads to the sixth and final reason why we are to trust Jesus as our True Shepherd.

Because HE PROVIDES CONSTANT NOURISHMENT (John 10:9b, 10c). Jesus said,I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9b). Those who enter God’s family through faith in Jesus, can also “go in and out and find pasture.” This depicts the joy of the sheep finding nourishment in the pasture. Only Jesus can fully satisfy our needs for spiritual nourishment and security. Christ saved us not only so we can live with Him forever in heaven, but also so He can give us everything we need to grow and become more like Him here on earth. When Christians look to people to do for them what only Jesus can do, they will be very disappointed. People cannot give us eternal life or an abundant life. Only Jesus can do that. 

Christ then said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10bc). Eternal life must first be received as a free gift through faith alone in Jesus alone (“I have come that they may have life” – John 3:16; 4:10-14; Rom. 6:23; Ephes. 2:8-9) before we can experience that life “more abundantly” through obedience to Christ (John 8:31-32; 12:24-26). The word “abundantly” means over and above or overflowing life. All those who believe in Jesus have “life” in His name (John 10:10b; cf. 3:16; 20:31). But only those believers who obey Christ’s word will experience that life “more abundantly” both now and in eternity (John 10:10c; cf. 8:31-32).

So, eternal life can also refer to a reward that obedient believers will receive in the future (cf. Matthew 19:29; John 12:24-26; Galatians 6:7-8; I Timothy 6:12, 19). Eternal life is not static. Believers can experience varying degrees of God’s life as they learn to trust and obey Him.

Who is your shepherd? Is it your husband or wife? Your parents? A close friend? An imam, pastor, or priest? Your church, your religion, your government, or your culture? As important as they are they can never be the True Shepherd of your life because they are sheep too. Believe or trust in Jesus Christ alone as your true Shepherd not only for eternal life, but for a more abundant life both now and forever!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You as my True Shepherd. Only You can guarantee life that never ends the moment a person believes in You. Only You can provide safety and security that lasts forever. When I compare all the other religious leaders of the world with You, they all fall short of Your goodness and grace which was fully expressed when You took our place and punishment on the cross to die for all our sins and then You rose from the dead. No other religious leader has ever laid down his or her life and taken it back up again in resurrection. I praise You not only for giving me everlasting life the moment I believed in You, but You also promise me an abundant life when I live for You. This is my desire my Lord and my God – to live for You the rest of my life because Your way leads to an abundant life as opposed to all other ways which rob people of the forever life You freely offer. In Your name I pray. Amen.

How can I overcome opposition to the truth about Jesus? Part 3

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” John 8:51

So far we have learned that to overcome opposition to the truth about Jesus we must analyze Christ’s opponent’s accusations with God’s Word (John 8:48-49) and aim for God the Father’s approval (John 8:50). Today we discover that we are to ASK THEM TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE (John 8:51-53). Christ says to His unbelieving audience, “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (John 8:51). This does not mean that a person must completely obey all of God’s Word to earn eternal life because that would contradict what Jesus has already taught in the gospel of John about how to receive eternal life (cf. John 3:15-18; 4:10-14;  5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 7:37-38; 8:45-46). Nor is Jesus saying believers will never experience physical death. In the context, the word “keeps” (tēréō) means to pay careful attention to what Jesus says about receiving eternal life.

For example, in John 6:47, Jesus said, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life.” In John 11:26, Jesus promised, “Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” The apostle John also writes in I John 2:23, “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.” Christ promises that those who keep His word by believing in Him for everlasting life shall never see eternal death. When a believer in Jesus dies physically, he or she (their spirit) is immediately taken into the presence of the Lord.

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Christians can be confident that the moment they die (“be absent from the body”) their spirit will go to “be present with the Lord” while their body sleeps in the grave (cf. I Thessalonians 4:13-17). I can be assured, that “for to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” (Philippians 1:21-23). Physical death for the believer in Jesus is not the end. It is actually a new beginning for Christians as they transition into eternity in the presence of our Lord where there will be no more sin or death for them (cf. I Corinthians 15:51-57; I John 3:2-3).

Non-Christians cannot understand the things of God because they do not have the Spirit of God (cf. I Corinthians 2:11b-14). Thus, the best place to start with unbelieving opponents to the truth about Jesus, is to share the gospel with them so they can be saved and receive the Holy Spirit who can enable them to understand and believe the truth about Jesus (cf. John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-14; I John 2:20, 27).

Jesus’ unbelieving audience mistakenly think He is claiming that those who keep His word will never die physically. They respond to this invitation with more unbelief toward Jesus. “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.” (John  8:52). They think their previous accusation against Jesus has just been confirmed (cf. John 8:48). “Only a demon-possessed man would claim to have more power than Abraham and the prophets who all died, yet in the face of these facts Jesus claims that the one who keeps His word ‘shall never taste death’ or experience physical death? If these righteous ones to whom God gave great privileges were not delivered from physical death, such deliverance was impossible.

They continue, “Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?” (John 8:53). Their question expects a negative answer and means, “Surely, Jesus, You are not greater than our founding father, Abraham, or the prophets, who are dead. If keeping Your words prevents physical death, then You are claiming to be greater than those who died.” Ironically, Jesus was greater than Abraham and the prophets as we shall see in the next few verses.

Before I became a Christian at the age of nineteen, the claims of Jesus did not make much sense to me because I did not have God the Holy Spirit inside me to help me understand the meaning of Scripture and how it applies to my life. But the moment I believed in Jesus for His gift of everlasting life, the Bible came alive for me. As I read the Bible each day, certain truths would jump off the pages of my Bible and burn in my heart. Jesus’ gift of everlasting life was my new norm and reality.

One of the most important ways we can overcome opposition to the truth about Jesus is to invite unbelievers to believe Christ’s promise of everlasting life to all who believe in Him so they can receive the best Teacher in the universe – God the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-14; I John 2:20, 27). He can remove Satan’s blinders (2 Corinthians 4:4) so they can see and embrace the truth about Jesus Christ – that He is much greater than Abraham and the prophets as we shall learn in the next few verses.

Prayer: Lord God, thank You so much for showing me that I do not need to be afraid to share the truth about Jesus with those who are hostile to the truth. For I am guaranteed never to taste eternal death the moment I believe in Him Who is greater than Abraham and the prophets! Thank You Holy Spirit for removing the blinders from my heart and my mind so I could see Jesus for Who He truly is! He is the promised Messiah-God! He is the Alpha and the Omega! The Beginning and the End! He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! Please give me the wisdom and boldness to point people to Jesus Who alone can rescue them from sin and death the moment they believe in Him. I love You, my Lord and my God. Though I long to be in Your presence in heaven, I also know You are not finished with me yet on earth. Please use me to introduce millions to Your Son. In His everlasting name I pray. Amen.

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How do we reach the materialistic for Christ? Part 3

“And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’ ” John 6:35

The third and final way to reach a materialistic person is to CHALLENGE THEM TO TRUST THE SAVIOR (John 6:35-40). Jesus tells the crowd how to do this using two simple things everyone understands: hunger and thirst. “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’ ” (John 6:35). The materialist hungers and thirsts for power… possessions… and popularity! But the greatest hunger and thirst of all is for immortality. Jesus says to look to Him to satisfy our hunger for immortality. Look to Him to quench our thirst for eternal life. What do you do when you are hungry? You eat. What do you do when you are thirsty? You drink. Jesus says that if we come to Him in faith, we will never hunger for eternal life again. If we believe in Him we will never thirst for eternal life again. One bite of the bread that Jesus’ offers an one drink of the water that Jesus offers, satisfies our spiritual hunger and thirst forever.

What if a person stops believing in Christ? Will he hunger or thirst for eternal life again? No. Because the spiritual need which Jesus meets can never reoccur. Once you receive eternal life, you have it forever. After all, how long is “never”? It is forever, right? If a person could hunger or thirst for eternal life again after believing in Jesus, then Christ just told a lie. Jesus says one bite… one drink satisfies for eternity. The results of believing in Christ are permanent even if we don’t keep on believing.

Jesus said, “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.” (John 6:36).Not all who see will come to Christ. Although they had seen His miraculous power and had heard His claims, this crowd still refused to believe in Jesus alone for eternal life. They were not convinced He could give them eternal life simply by believing in Him. This is hard for the materialist. He has always provided for his own needs, and now he is being challenged to trust someone outside of himself for his most important need.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.” (John 6:37a). The reason these materialists wouldn’t believe in Christ was because the Father had not given them to Jesus. No matter how much we have prayed and planned… no matter how persuasive we are in sharing the gospel… people will not come to Christ unless the Father has given them to His Son. Does this mean that no one can get saved if the Father has not given them to Jesus? Some Calvinists refer to this verse as proof of unconditional election.

But I believe there is a better explanation. Anthony Badger astutely observes that Jesus spoke the words of John 6:37-39 just before speaking of building His church in Matthew 16:18. Because of Israel’s final rejection of Christ (Matthew 12:22ff), Jesus “anticipated an end of the Dispensation of the Law and a transfer into the Dispensation of Grace… Jesus spoke the words of John 6:37-39 at the time of His final rejection by the nation. He certainly knew that Israel was to be judged for their rejection and that the Church age intercalation was at hand. Israel would be temporarily set aside, and the Church would become God’s select, corporate instrument for His service during the Dispensation of His Grace. And it will continue to be so until its translation/rapture prior to the coming Tribulation period (the 70th week of years spoken of in Daniel 9:24-27. At that time God will resume His plan for national Israel). Prior to this transfer of believers from Father to Son in anticipation of the new age, they belonged to the Father by faith. The transfer (the Father giving believers to the Son) merely acknowledged the reality of the coming Church Age.”

“This fits contextually as well. When Jesus began to set His face toward Jerusalem (Mt 16:21) it was evident that a new day was coming. No longer could the old ways be continued. New, fresh, rejuvenating wine cannot be stored in old, outdated, dry, cracked wineskins. A transfer of ownership of Old Testament believers to Christ was necessary. God the Father putting all things into the hands of His Son. This is further supported in Jesus’ discourse with the disciples in John 14-16. Believing Jews who belonged to the Father, having only the promise of the Messiah, were at this point delivered over into the Son’s hands for keeping. Now they belonged to the Messiah. The lack of dispensational understanding of Calvin, the Reformers, and Reformed Theology allows them to misunderstand John 6:37-39.” (Anthony B. Badger, Confronting Calvinism: A Free Grace Refutation and Biblical Resolution of Radical Reformed Soteriology [Anthony Badger, 2013], pp. 185-186).

Jesus than said, “And the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37b). The phrase “I will by no means cast out” is emphatic in the Greek language (οὐ μὴ ἐκβάλω ἔξω). Literally it means, “I will no not ever cast out” the one who comes to Me. No matter… what your record or what you have done… where you have been or how proud, arrogant and self-sufficient you have been, when you come to Christ you will be welcomed by Him. You will not be cast out. Jesus will never reject you no matter what you do after you come to Him. This is God’s amazing grace. It cannot be earned and it cannot be undone. Once you come to Christ in simple faith, you are God’s child forever.

Some of us come from backgrounds which are filled with rejection. The main reason some of us have a hard time trusting people today is because we have experienced so much rejection while growing up. Perhaps a parent criticized us for everything we did… a teacher humiliated us… a friend betrayed us… a spouse left us… an employer terminated us. Jesus guarantees you will never be rejected by Him. His love and acceptance of you is unconditional. The materialist needs to know this because he has grown up trying to buy or earn people’s love. But now he is challenged to believe in Someone who loves and accepts him regardless.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38). And what is the will of the Father who sent Jesus? “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.” (John 6:39). Is staying saved a matter of a Christian doing the Father’s will or of Jesus doing His Father’s will? Jesus doing His Father’s will. If Jesus lost one person who believed in Him, then He would have failed to do the will of His Father. And that presents a moral dilemma. For if Jesus failed to do His Father’s will, then He would have sinned and could no longer be God.

But listen to me. Jesus Christ has never lost one believer and He never will because He is God (John 1:1; Titus 2:13) and He always does the will of His Father. This is the ULTIMATE SECURITY. Something every materialist (and every person) needs. The materialist lives in fear of losing his possessions, power, and popularity. But when he comes to Jesus he is safe forever. We need to get a grip on this. Too many believers are being taught that you cannot know for sure you are going to heaven because they are taught that it is based on your performance instead of Christ’s. This contradicts what Jesus is saying here. Assurance of your salvation is not based on you doing God’s will, but on Jesus doing the Father’s will.

Jesus concludes, “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.” (John 6:40). Does the word “everyone” mean everyone? Does Jesus include all the homosexuals, drunkards, drug addicts, liars, psychics, terrorists, the wealthy, and the most moral people who see the Son of God and believe in Him? Absolutely! God’s gift is for everyone who will receive it by faith.

Has your thirst for immortality been quenched? Do you know for sure that you have eternal life? If not, why not take Jesus Christ at His word right now? Place your trust solely in Him to save you. Give up confidence in anything else: your prayers, giving, church attendance, baptism, obedience, commitment, or  the reformation of your life, etc. Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life to all who trust in Him as their Savior.

Let us share this message gladly and often. It is glorious news! It is the greatest news! Don’t worry so much about method. Concentrate on the message. Tell people eternal life is a free gift and that the sole condition for receiving it is believing or trusting in Christ alone. Leave the results to God. After all, eternal life is the gift of God. He is the One giving the gift.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for this incredible free gift that lasts forever! Please give me a love for the materialistic people in my life. I need Your Holy Spirit to help me to confront their selfish desires, to correct their misconceptions about salvation, and to challenge them to trust the Savior for eternal life so that they can discover the joy of everlasting security in Jesus Christ. Security that cannot be lost or taken away. Lord, I pray that those of us who know You will seek satisfaction in our relationship with You and not the things of this world. Enable us to live in light of eternity. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Eternal life is absolutely free through Jesus!

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’” John 4:10

We learn from Jesus’ conversation with a hurting Samaritan woman at a well that eternal life is absolutely free (John 4:1-26)! After Jesus asked this woman to give Him a drink from Jacob’s well, the woman was amazed that He, being a Jew, would ask a drink from a Samaritan woman (John 4:7-9).

Christ now moves from the water that could not satisfy her thirst, to the water that could. In other words, Jesus is being relevant by communicating what this woman needs to hear in a way she could understand it. They were at a well, so He talks to her about living waters (John 4:1-26).

What does Christ say she (and all people) needs to know to quench her spiritual thirst? “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’” (John 4:10). I cannot receive a gift until I know about that gift and the giver of that gift. Before she could ask for the gift of God from the Giver of that gift, she needed to know what the gift was and the identity of the Giver.

Jesus explains what the gift of God is when He says, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14). Physical water does not permanently quench our physical thirst (John 4:13), but “the living waters” that Jesus offers is a permanent thirst quencher (John 4:14). This living water becomes in the believer “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The word “drink” means to “believe” in the gospel of John. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). “To drink” means “to believe” – because both drinking and believing permanently quench our spiritual thirst. The spiritual need that Jesus’ water meets can never reoccur. One drink of His water will satisfy our need for eternal life forever. The phrase “will never thirst” literally means “will by no means thirst forever!” Eternal life is a forever gift because it is eternal – without end. Eternal life cannot be lost because the believer can never thirst again for it.

How is this possible? When a person believes in Jesus, He digs a spiritual well in the human heart that continuously meets the needs of the one who drinks from it. But Jacob’s well was in the earth and the drinker of it must return again and again (John 4:12). Men dig wells in the earth, only Jesus Christ can dig a well in the human heart so that it gushes up into everlasting life. Jesus’ well never runs dry.

Keep in mind that everlasting life is a free gift. It is absolutely free. You do not have to work or pay for this gift, otherwise it would not be a gift. For example, when you receive a birthday gift from someone, do you have to pay for it? No, because it is a gift. It has already been paid for. Everlasting life is a free gift because Jesus Christ has already paid for it in full when He died in our place on a cross for all our sins and rose from the dead (John 2:19, 22; 3:14-15; 12:23-24, 27-33; 10:11, 17: 19:16-20:31). All you must do to receive this gift is believe in the Giver.

Before this woman could ask for this free gift of everlasting life, she needed to know the identity of it’s Giver. The apostle John wants a lost person to know that the Giver of the gift of God is Jesus Christ (4:16-26) Who is fully God (John 1:1, 34, 49; 5:16-47; 6:69; 8:57-59; 11:27; 20:28) and fully Man (John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 12:27; 19:28).

When Jesus offered the woman everlasting life, she said, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (John 4:15). She missed His point. She was still thinking of physical water. She didn’t recognize her need for this gift of God. So, Jesus confronts her with the truth. “Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’” (John 4:16). This was the most sensitive area in her life… the area where she had experienced the most hurt and shame… the area where she had the highest and thickest walls of self-protection.

At this point, she could have turned away and left (as many do), but she didn’t. Somewhat embarrassed, she blurted out, “’I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (John 4:17-18). This woman was not only divorced, but she had been through five broken marriages, and now the man she was living with was not even her husband. All this woman knew was an unending sense of dissatisfaction. She had five husbands, but none of her marriages worked. They may have left for different reasons, but she was left with the same results – loneliness and emptiness inside. She tried to quench her spiritual thirst with men but it did not work.

How did Jesus know about this brokenness in her life? He knew this because He was much more than a moral teacher or prophet, He was the long awaited Messiah-God. John writes, “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’ ” (John 4:25-26). The woman first thought Jesus was a prophet when He revealed His knowledge of her sin-stained life (John 4:17b-19), but now the truth of His identity flooded her soul. He was the long awaited Messiah-God! She had arrived at the well empty, but now she departed full of life – life with God forever. She now knew the Gift and the Giver. And that is all she needed to know. That’s all anyone needs to know. And when they do, an eternal transaction occurs. Without a word or prayer, her heart had asked in faith and He had given her eternal life.

From this conversation we discover that everlasting life is an absolutely free gift! Jesus knew this woman was living with a man who was not even her husband. But He does not tell her to leave her boyfriend or get married to him in order to have everlasting life. Why? Because the only condition for this free gift is to believe in Jesus for it (John 4:14; 6:40, 47; 7:38-39; 11:25-26; 20:31; et al).

Some of you will read this article and ask, “But what about confessing your sins or being baptized or turning from your sins?” Jesus does not mention any of those things as a condition for everlasting life in His conversation with this hurting woman. If ever there was an appropriate time for Jesus to tell someone to turn from her sins or confess her sins, it was now. But He does not do it. Why? Because everlasting life is an absolutely free gift and the only condition to receive it is to believe in Jesus for it.

Jesus’ conversation with this woman also tells us that no one is too bad to receive the gift of God. Perhaps you can relate to the Samaritan woman. Your life is empty and parched. You have tried to fill it with substitutes – achievements, drugs, emotions, pornography, relationships, your work, special projects, etc., but they leave you feeling emptier. You need the real thing – a permanent thirst quencher. Ask Jesus in faith for the gift of eternal life and He will give it to you right now.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You now as a broken sinner who has been deeply hurt by my own sinful choices and the sinful choices of others. I have tried to satisfy my spiritual thirst with so many substitutes that have only made my condition worse. I realize today that You still love me despite all of the pain I have caused You and others. I believe You died in my place for all my sins on a cross and rose from the dead. Right now I am asking You, Lord Jesus, to give me everlasting life as a free gift. Thank You for the everlasting life I now have which satisfies my spiritual thirst forever. Thank You that I can never lose this gift. Please help me to share this good news with others who are longing to quench their own spiritual thirst. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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If you found this article helpful, please share it with those you want to see in heaven. Thank you, and may Jesus richly bless you as you make Him known to others.

Can eternal life be given back to God or taken away by Him?

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

In Romans 9-11, Paul is addressing the need of Jews to be delivered from God’s present-day wrath through justification and sanctification. Paul talks about God’s sovereign use of Israel in the past and His temporary setting aside of Israel in the present due to her rejection of His righteousness through faith in the Messiah (9:1-10:4). God chose the nation of Israel to service and blessings for the purpose of sharing those blessings with others. But since they failed (10:5- 11:10), God saw fit to elect another group called the Church (composed largely of Gentiles) to accomplish this task (11:11-25). Fortunately for Israel, because God is gracious He will again return to them and fulfill His promises to them (11:23-32).

The reason Paul is confident that God will return to Israel and fulfill His promises to them is because “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29;cf. 9:4-5). God will not withdraw His promises from Israel because those promises are irreversible (“irrevocable”). The Lord did not choose Israel for her goodness, and He will not abandon her because of her sinfulness. 

Likewise, God promises eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 6:23). Since “the gifts … of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) and eternal life is a “gift of God” (Romans 6:23), then eternal life is “irrevocable.” When a person believes in Christ for His gift of eternal life, it cannot be given back to Godnor taken back by Godno matter how the believer lives because it is irreversible or permanent (John 3:16; 6:35-40; 10:28-29; 11:25-27; Romans 8:31-39; et al.). God did not save us from hell because of our goodness (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7), and He will not abandon us because of our sinfulness (cf. John 6:37; Hebrews 13:5).

This can be especially difficult for people to believe if they have experienced rejection by a parent. For example, imagine an adopted child being returned to his orphanage because his adoptive parent says he is too difficult or sinful to raise. That adopted child may conclude that God will do the same to him if he does not live up to God’s expectations. I have met many Christians who think that God’s love is like the love of their parents. If they do not measure up to God’s standards, then He will take eternal life away from them. 

The truth is God’s love is not conditional or temporary like the love of people. God’s love is unconditional and eternal through Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23b; 8:38-39). God accepts us permanently as His children the moment we believe in His Son Who died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead (cf. John 1:12; I Corinthians 15:3-6; Ephesians 1:6). God guarantees to keep us as His children and never let go of us no matter how troublesome or sinful we may be after we are placed in His family (John 6:37; 10:28-29)! This should lead believers to praise God for the depths of His wisdom and knowledge (Romans 11:33-36)!!!

God promises a safe landing, not a smooth journey

“And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” Acts 27:44b

With vivid details, Luke records the dramatic shipwreck involving the apostle Paul and the other 275 people on board (27:26-44). Although it looked like either the sea or the soldiers would kill the apostle and the other prisoners on board, God remained faithful to His promise to bring Paul and “all” on board “safely to land” so Paul could go to Rome (27:44b; cf. 27:24). 

It is important to remember that God promises a safe landing, not a smooth journey. Christians will encounter “tribulation” in the world as they follow Jesus (John 16:33). But the “peace of God” is not the absence of storms in our lives, but the presence of Jesus Christ through the storms (cf. John 6:14-21; Philippians 4:6-7). The same voice that spoke this universe into existence out of nothing (Psalm 33:6, 9), can also calm our fears in the midst of our storms (Acts 27:24; cf. John 6:20). We can have His peace because He is with us and He is in control. 

Some believers are afraid of not landing safely in heaven when they die because they have been taught that their performance and/or power determines whether they will go to heaven, instead of Jesus’ performance on the cross (John 19:30) and His unlimited power (John 10:28-29). Please remember that God promises that His Holy Spirit, Who has “sealed” all who “have heard…the gospel” and “believed” it, will safely and securely deliver every believer in Jesus to heaven when they die or when they are gathered together in the air to be with Him forever (Ephesians 1:13-14; I Thessalonians 4:16-17). Just as God kept His promise to safely deliver the apostle Paul to Rome, so He will keep His promise to safely deliver all who believe in Jesus to heaven.

Secure Forever in Christ

When a person believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life (John 3:16) he or she is secure forever in Him. Here are thirty-three reasons why this is true:

1. The Great Commitment. Matthew 28:20. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus Christ gives His disciples the Great Commission, which is to make disciples of all the nations. Along with this Great Commission, Jesus also gives His disciples the Great Commitment, “…and lo, I am with you always (lit. “the whole of every day”), even to the end of the age.” In Matthew, the phrase, “the end of the age,” refers to the church age (cf. Matt. 13:39, 40, 49). Since Christ is guaranteeing His presence with believers until He returns at the end of the age, it is impossible for believers to lose their salvation.

2. Always Family. John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; 6:37; Galatians 3:26; I John 5:1. The moment a person believes in Christ, he becomes God’s child forever. He is born into God’s family and he cannot ever be born out of it. In John 6:37, Jesus declares that those who come to Him “will by no means be cast out.” In John’s Gospel “coming to Christ” is a metaphor for “believing” (John 6:35, 37). Just as an earthly father’s son will always be his son no matter what the son does, so too, a believer will always be God’s child because Christ will never cast him out of His family.

3. The Simple Look of Faith. John 3:14-15. Just as the afflicted Israelite could look in faith at the bronze serpent lifted up on the pole and “live” (Numbers 21:8-9), so too, the one who looks in faith to Christ who was “lifted up” on the cross will “live” eternally.

4. Secure from Perishing in Hell. John 3:15-16; 10:27-28. Faith alone in Christ alone secures the believer from ever perishing in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15). The moment an individual believes in Christ he has the assurance that he “shall never perish” (10:28).

5. The Eternal Gift. John 3:15-16, 36; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25-26; Romans 6:23. At the moment of faith in Christ, the believer can know that he or she possesses eternal life, “he who believes…has…” The gift of eternal life cannot be lost because that would be inconsistent with the nature (i.e. perpetual/eternal) of the gift. For if the gift can be lost, it would not be eternal, but temporal.

6. Permanent Thirst Quencher. John 4:10-14; 6:35; Revelation 22:17. Whoever drinks of the living water that Christ freely offers will “never thirst” again. The phrase “will never thirst” is highly emphatic in the Greek language (John 4:14a; 6:35b). The need which this water meets can never reoccur. Christ calls this “living water” eternal life in John 4:14b. Therefore, eternal life can never be lost because a believer can never thirst again for it.

7. Free from Judgment. John 5:24; Romans 8:33-34. When a person believes in Christ for eternal life, he or she possesses “eternal life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). For the believer, assurance is available at the moment of faith because Christ guarantees that there is no judgment. That is to say, there is no judgment to determine whether a believer goes to heaven or hell because the believer already has eternal life. He has passed from death to life already. When an individual trusts Christ, he is translated from the sphere of death (where a non-believer has nothing in him which is acceptable to God – John 3:18; Rom. 3:9-20; 8:8) to the sphere of life (where the believer is totally acceptable to God – John 5:24; Heb. 10:10, 14). In the sphere of life, God has no charge against the believer (Romans 8:33-34). The believer is justified (declared totally righteous) of all things on the basis of his faith (Romans 3:21-26; 4:5, 8; 8:33-34). Therefore, no one is able to threaten a believer’s eternal destiny!

8. No More Hunger. John 6:35, 48-51. Whoever eats of the Bread of life shall never hunger again. The need which this bread meets can never reoccur. Christ identifies Himself as the Bread of life in John 6:33, 35; 6:48, 51. “Eating” and “believing” are synonymous in John’s Gospel because both are the means for obtaining eternal life (John 6:47, 50-51, 58). Hence, believing in Christ satisfies an individual’s spiritual hunger forever. Therefore, a believer cannot ever lose eternal life because he can never hunger for it again.

9. Guaranteed Resurrection. John 6:37-40. Every believer in Jesus not only has eternal life, but will still belong to Christ when he or she is resurrected on “the last day.” 

10. Johannine Metaphors or Figures of Speech. The Gospel of John uses metaphors to describe the instantaneousness of saving faith and conversion: to receive (John 1:12); to be born (John 1:13; 3:3-8); to take a look (John 3:14-15); to ask for a gift (John 4:10); to take a drink (John 4:10-14); to be raised from the dead (John 5:25-29); to come (John 6:35, 37); to eat bread (John 6:50-51); to eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53-54, 56-58); to follow, as in a sheep committing his safety and well-being to His Good Shepherd (John 10:1-5, 25-29); and to be bathed once for all (John 13:10). Conversion takes place at a point in time. It is not a process. Therefore, a believer can know he is secure forever at the moment of faith in Christ alone for eternal life.

11. The Secure Grip. John 10:27-29. The believer is securely held by both God the Son’s and God the Father’s hands and they will never let him go. Nor is anyone, including the believer, strong enough to escape God’s grip. So the believer’s eternal security is not based upon his or her grip upon God, but upon God’s forever grip upon him or her.

12. Guaranteed Destiny. John 11:25-26. Christ guarantees the eternal destiny of every person who believes in Him. He promises a future resurrection and never-ending life to those who believe in Him.

13. The Eternal Comforter. John 14:16-17. Jesus promised that the “Comforter” (lit. “called to one’s side, called to one’s aid”), the Holy Spirit, would personally take up residence in the believer’s body “forever.” Therefore, there is never a time when a believer is without the God of the universe living in him or her.

14. Finished Work. John 19:30. Immediately prior to His death, Jesus referred to His finished work on the cross when He said “It is finished” (tetelestai). This verb is in the perfect tense, which denotes existing results to the present from a completed action. This means Christ made the full payment for our sin debt when He died on the cross and it remains paid in full to the present. Therefore, a believer’s salvation is just as complete and secure as the work upon which it rests.

15. The Promise of God. I John 2:25; 5:9-13. Believers can know they are saved forever because they have God’s promise of eternal life. Remember, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:17-18).

16. God’s Love. I John 4:9-10. God manifested His love toward us when He sent His Son so that we may possess eternal life through Him. This love was not a response to man’s love, but was God’s initiative. God’s Son became the “propitiation” (lit. “satisfaction”) for our sins. Therefore, eternal life cannot be lost by the believer because Christ has satisfied God’s holy nature forever by taking the punishment for our sins. Because of Jesus’ death, God’s holy character is free to pour out His love (His best) on those who believe in His Son.

17. The Irrevocable Gift. Romans 11:29. The gifts of God, including eternal life, are irrevocable, i.e. incapable of being recalled or taken back by the Giver.

18. It is Logical. Romans 5:8-10, 15, 17, 20; 8:32. God did the most for us when we were His enemies and will do much more for us as His beloved child.

19. The Inseparable Love of God. Romans 8:35-39. No one and nothing and can separate a believer from God’s love in Christ. Remember, “any other created thing” includes “you.”

20. Fruitless Believers Are Secure for Eternity. I Corinthians 3:11-15. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, a believer’s works will be tested by fire to determine what, if any, rewards the believer will receive (I Cor. 3:11-15; Romans 14:9-12; 2 Cor. 5:10; I John 4:17; Revelation 22:12). A believer whose works (“hay, wood, straw”) are all burned up does not lose his salvation from hell, “but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (I Cor. 3:15).

21. The Body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:12-27. The Head of the body, Christ (Ephes. 1:22-23), cannot ever say to any member of His body (believer) He does not need him or her. He cannot reject His own body.

22. Unlimited Forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 2:13; 3:13; Hebrews 10:17-18. Christ’s death provides unlimited forgiveness for the believer. All sins we have ever done or will do were future looking from the cross – everything is forgiven.

23. Sealed Until Delivered. Ephesians 1:13-14. When an individual believes the truth of the gospel, he or she is “sealed” by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. There is no power greater than God who can break the seal (not even Satan or the believer himself). Something that is sealed by God is as secure as God’s promise, and in the case of the believer His promise is to keep the believer until he is safely and securely delivered in to the presence of God forever.

24. Seated with Christ. Ephesians 2:6. Believers are described as being made (by God) to “sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The aorist indicative of the verb sugkathizo, “to cause to sit down together,” portrays this event as taking place in past time. So from God’s viewpoint, believers are now seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Therefore, the certainty of a believer’s eternal destiny is underscored by the fact that they are already seated with Christ in the heavenly places.

25. Completed Salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9. The use of the perfect tense verb conveys existing results to the present from a completed action (“you have been saved”). Therefore, a believer’s salvation exists in a finished state which cannot be altered or taken away.

26. Citizens of Heaven. Philippians 3:20. The apostle Paul gives a positive reason why believers should follow his example of spiritual progress (3:12-17) and it is because their citizenship already exists in heaven. Since Philippi was a Roman colony, its residents were “citizens” of Rome who enjoyed the same rights and privileges as if they were living in Rome. So Paul is arguing that just as the believers were Roman citizens even though they were not living in Rome, so too, they were citizens of heaven even though they were living on earth. This citizenship is not future, but it already exists for the believer because the copula verb “is” (huparchei), stresses actual existence. The believer’s eternal destiny is so certain that their citizenship in heaven already exists.

27. Certainty of Future Not Based Upon Morality. I Thessalonians 5:9-11. Whether believers live watchfully (“we wake,” gregopeo is defined as moral watchfulness in 5:5-7) or unwatchfully (“we…sleep,” katheudo is defined as moral unwatchfulness in 5:5-7), their future with Christ is certain.

28. God’s Faithfulness. 2 Timothy 2:13. If we don’t believe in Christ any longer (“we are faithless”), God “remains faithful” to His promise of eternal life. He “cannot deny Himself” including believers who are members of His body.

29. Unfaithful Believers Are Still in God’s House. 2 Timothy 2:17-21. Although some believers’ faith may be overthrown by false teaching, their eternal destiny is not endangered, “the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His.’” God “knows” intimately all those who have a relationship with Him, including believers with faltering faith. For God’s house is composed of both faithful (“vessels of … honor”) and unfaithful believers (“vessels of … dishonor”).

30. Disobedient Believers Who Are Assured of Their Salvation. The apostles Peter and Thomas, who denied knowing the Lord or doubted His promise to rise from the dead (John 13:10-11). The Corinthians, who were factious, immoral and prone to drunkenness (I Cor. 1:2, 4-9; 6:11, 15, 19-20; 15:1-2, 11, 51-58). The Galatians, who were lapsing into the worst form of legalism (Galatians 1:2-5, 8-9; 3:1-5, 26-29; 4:1-9, 19; 5:1). The audience of James, who were arrogant, argumentative, slanderous, and temperamental (James 1:1-2, 16-18; 2:1; 5:7-9).

31. Unconditional Acceptance. Hebrews 10:10, 14. Christ’s completed work on the cross makes believers unconditionally and completely acceptable (“perfect”) to God forever. To be “sanctified” means to be “set apart” from our guilt and shame forever. Note the perfect tenses (“have been sanctified,” in verse 10 and “has perfected” in verse 14).

32. A Permanent Helper. Hebrews 13:5-6. Believers are to be content with what they have because they will always possess the permanent assistance of the Lord: “I will never leave (lit. “abandon or desert”) you nor forsake (lit. “to leave helpless”) you.” Since the Lord will never turn His back on the needs of believers, it is impossible for them to be without God’s security forever. 

33. Eternal Names. Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23. When the world was created, God wrote the names of those who would receive eternal life in the Book of Life in anticipation of Christ’s death (Rev. 13:8; 17:8). Every believer’s eternal identity rests on the fact that his name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Revelation 3:5 affirms that an overcoming (victorious) believer will not have his name erased from the Book of Life. Since this phrase is a figure of speech called a litotes (i.e. a positive affirmation expressed by negating its opposite), John is saying that an overcoming believer’s eternal name is supremely secure. It is not logical to conclude that a non-overcoming believer will have his name erased from the Book of Life because a litotes is not making a negative affirmation, but rather a positive one. The overcoming Christian’s honored name will never be erased. For the overcoming Christian, his reward is anything but the loss of his eternal name. This relates to his or her eternal reward as seen before and after this part of the verse: “they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:4b-5). Revelation 3:5 is not commenting on whether some name will or may be erased, but rather that certain names shall in no way be erased, but confessed or recognized for faithful service before God the Father and His angels. Revelation 3:5 is not talking about salvation, but rewards for discipleship. This can be seen in Revelation 3:4 as only the worthy ones will walk with the Lord in white, and so in 3:5 only those who are worthy will have their name publicly recognized before God the Father and His angels.

Conclusion: The security which God provides believers forever is intended to motivate them to faithfully live for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit until they go to be with Him (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; 5:16-26; I John 4:19).