Are you holding on tight?

Are you holding onto your salvation with a firm grip? If you are, there will come a day when your hand gets tired. Or perhaps that day has already arrived.

You had an iron grip on eternal life the day you trusted in Jesus to pay the penalty for your sins. But as time went on there was the incident of cheating on the exam, the casual sex with someone you just met, the cash payment on which no taxes were paid. We both know God rejects all that as sin, so maybe your grip on heaven is not as firm as you thought. In place of confidence, a secret sense of foreboding about your salvation has seeped into your heart. Are you — again — lost?

Jesus foresaw that fear would steal into your heart, he understood that your grip on salvation was only that of human strength. He knew someone had to watch over us in the dark of night when human hands must lay their burdens down, someone to shepherd the vulnerable flock. “I am the good shepherd,” he said. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

As wonderful as that promise is, it is a one-time protection, for a dead shepherd protects no sheep. Jesus knew that too, so he added, “I lay down my life only to take it up again” (John 10:18). Our resurrected shepherd keeps unending watch over his flock!

Yet our fear again takes voice to wonder whether we are still part of his flock. Might it be that our sin has banished us from his care? Jesus answers No! in the most emphatic possible words:

27 My sheep listen to my voice; and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. (John 10:27–28, NET Bible)

The context makes clear that those who listen to Jesus’ voice are those who have put their faith in him. At the moment of salvation, Jesus gives them eternal life, and they will absolutely not — the negative forms of the New Testament Greek are the strongest possible — spiritually die forever! Jesus goes further to say that “no one will snatch them from my hand.” But that is not the end of the assurance he gave about our salvation, for he said:  ”My Father who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand” (John 10:29, NET Bible).

You may rest now and relax your grip. Your hand has never been the one that mattered in holding your salvation eternally secure. No one will snatch it from the hand of Jesus. No one can take it from the hand of the Father. No one will, no one can. Not even you.

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide.

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