27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29 NIV)
There has been an ongoing discussion through the centuries that goes like this: “Can a person lose their salvation?” Some believe that once you come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior then that is it–it’s a done deal. These folks are most easily recognized by a phrase they use that goes like this: “Once saved always saved.” There are others who disagree with this line of thinking and they are firmly committed to the idea that a person can “lose” their salvation. They illustrate their belief with scenarios like this: “Suppose a guy gave his life to the Lord, but then strayed from the Lord and went back to living an ungodly life. While he was far from the Lord he died. Surely you don’t believe that he will go to Heaven?”
I’m not good at determining who is going to heaven and who is not. I’m not good at determining “in the moment” whether a person really knows Jesus or not. I’ve known people who, while I knew them, were such an inspiration to me only to learn later on that they were less than what I had set them up to be. I’ve known other folks who seemed really rough around the edges when I was around them. Their language was as salty as a sailor’s speech. Their life didn’t look like the life I would imagine that Jesus lived. They claimed to be followers of Jesus but I failed to see His footprints as they walked. Then, further down the road, I learned some additional facts that proved me wrong. I’m not a good judge of people’s walks with the Lord because I only see a thin slice of their life.
I’ve turned in my “Spiritual Police” badge. I’ve decided to use the time I use to invest in evaluating other’s love for God in a new way. I’m now spending my time focusing on the truths I’m learning from God’s Word. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice. …they follow me.” That’s pretty clear isn’t it? If I’m one of His “sheep” then I’m going to listen to Jesus and follow what He says.” Jesus also said, “I give them eternal life.” He didn’t say “They’ve earned eternal life.” Jesus said, “No one can snatch them out of my hand.” He also said, “No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” Salvation is not to be earned, it is a gift. Once God takes me in His gracious hands there is no one who can remove me. I’m His. What a glorious truth! A truth that makes me want to listen for Jesus’ voice like a mother listens for her baby’s cry. A truth that stirs such a love in me that I want to follow Him wherever He might lead me.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You might give me ears to hear and heart that is set on following You wherever You may lead me. Don’t allow me to be distracted from the most important calling of my life–following You.