Hope of Eternal Life

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will 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.” John 10:22-30 ESV

The last few verses of this section of scripture are often quoted across the board by those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as an assurance that, no matter how they live their lives, eternal life is guaranteed them. Yet, they leave out this very critical verse that comes right before that which describes who the sheep are who cannot be snatched out of God’s hand.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

The reason these Jews were not among the Lord’s sheep is because they didn’t truly believe in Jesus Christ. But, they were not lacking in knowledge. They had the scriptures. Many of them taught the scriptures. They knew the Christ was coming. They knew the prophecies about him. And, they had heard Jesus preaching, too. So, it isn’t that they didn’t know the truth. They just refused to apply to their lives the truth that they knew and heard.

And, that is true of many people today, even those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For, it isn’t that they don’t know the truth. Many do. But, they refuse to obey the truth that they know. So, they take scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say so that they can console themselves in their sins with the hope that, no matter how they live their lives, heaven is secured them, and nothing can take that away.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

But, these sheep to whom Jesus was referring here are a very specific group of people. They are those who are doers of the Word and not hearers only. They are those who apply the scriptures to their daily lives rather than ignore the scriptures that don’t fit with their chosen lifestyles. They are those who listen to the Lord speak and who follow him in obedience to his commands, not perfectly, but as a matter of course, in practice.

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. Romans 2:4-11 ESV

So many people these days are trying to convince those who want to believe in Jesus Christ that we do not have to repent of our sins and that we do not have to obey Jesus Christ. But, over and over in the New Testament it says that we do have to repent of our sins, and we do have to obey our Lord if we want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to have eternal life with God.

And, this is not a one-time deal, either. Repentance is something we do ongoing, and walking in obedience to our Lord must be our lifestyle. And, this is not works-based salvation. This was Paul’s consistent message throughout his teachings. For, we can’t take some of his teachings and leave out the others. We can’t claim Romans 10:9-10 for our salvation, in other words, while we ignore this and other passages like this.

Again, it comes down to what we practice. If we walk according to the flesh, and we do not walk (in practice) according to the Spirit, then we don’t have eternal life with God. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk (in practice) in the darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. And, if sin is what we practice… If sin is our habit, our go to, and not holiness and righteousness, then we don’t have eternal life with God (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6).

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

So, if we want the assurance that we have eternal life with God, and that no one can snatch us out of the Lord’s hand, then we need to listen to our Lord, not just with our ears, but with our hearts and minds, and then we need to follow him in obedience to what he says. We need to be those who are not merely hearers of the Word but who are doers of the Word who put the Word of God into practice in our daily lives by the Spirit of God.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8 ESV

Very many people these days are deceived into believing that some cursory acknowledgment of who Jesus is and was, and in what he did for us on that cross in dying for our sins, is enough to save them from their sins and to guarantee them eternal life with God. They are also convinced that their salvation from sin is a one-time deal which is guaranteed for life no matter how they live their lives from that moment forward. But, that isn’t so.

The more that I have studied the scriptures, verse by verse, in context, the more I have been convinced that our salvation is continuous, ongoing, and that it is not complete until Jesus returns. We are not only saved (past), but we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus comes back to take us to be with him forever and our relationship with him is consummated.

So, the life which we live on this earth, either for the glory of God or for our flesh will determine whether or not we are saved from our sins and whether or not we do have eternal life with God. But, again, this is not works-based salvation. We aren’t trying to earn or to deserve our own salvation of our own fleshly works. We believe in Jesus Christ, and we are his sheep, and so we listen to him and we follow him in obedience. For, he has saved us to good works which he prepared in advance that we should do.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

So, if we are the Lord’s true sheep, we will listen to what he says and we will do what he says as a matter of course, of habit, as our daily practice, though not necessarily in absolute perfection, for we still live in flesh bodies. For, we are all going to have to stand before God one day and to give an account for what we did in this life.

If the life we live on this earth is given over to pleasing our sinful flesh, from that flesh we are going to reap destruction (death). But, if the life we live on this earth is given over to pleasing our Lord, instead, and if we are following him in obedience, as a matter of practice, though not in perfection, then from the Spirit we are going to reap eternal life.

So, please know the truth and live the truth and don’t buy into the lies which tell you that how you live doesn’t matter. For, we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have our sins forgiven and to have eternal life with God, and because we love God.

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

 

3 thoughts on “Hope of Eternal Life

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