My Sheep Hear My Voice, and Follow Me
Over fifty years ago, I was taught and accepted the idea that once saved always saved. Jn. 10:28-29 were quoted to me over and over, when I began to investigate, trying to harmonize all of the New Testament scriptures, as I reasoned with my preacher and members of the denomination that Lois and I were attending. On the surface the passage seemed to say what I was told that it did --Once you were saved, you could NEVER be lost. If you said you could be lost, then you were trusting in your own self and NOT the Lord to save you. In fact your were saying there was some force stronger than God. But as I continued my study, I found it difficult to harmonize that with other passages, such as Heb. 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:20-22) and similar passages.
If one has bought into that mindset, it is difficult to change, as I know from experience. Yet, one with an honest and good heart (Lk. 8:15), in time he/she'll discover the truth and take a stand for it, knowing that such is essential for one to be saved ultimately.
Let us examine the passage, more closely:
"27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one."
Notice first of all who His sheep are: They are those who hear His voice and follow Him. Beloved the idea that obedience is essential to salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ is claimed through God's revelation. However, there are so many who have been saying that such is not the case, to believe and do so is to trust in the wrong person, source, self. That is NOT scriptural. Jesus identifies those who belong to Him, having His blessing, protection, they are people who listen to His directions and carry them out! That is the only way one is really acting "by faith," friend. One can look at the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews, where so many were successful "by faith," and if you are honest with yourself, you'll see each one carefully followed the Lord's directions.
That is the way one can be SURE of his/her salvation. Truly, no one is wise or strong enough to over power God and take you or me away IF we are loyal to Him. Yet, one can walk away, as we have seen many do in the centuries past, as they a re recorded in the Bible for us to see. We are often referred to them you did receive the wrath of God, because they failed to listen and perform as directed.
Remember how the serpent beguiled Eve, in persuading her that she would not experience the consequences that God said she would when and if she failed to follow His teachings. Who was correct in that? We all know that God was strong enough to keep her inside His teaching, but he has given man a free will, able to make choices, but we have been told the blessing of heeding and the suffering that will results from disobedience. What will we choose? Let us choose to follow the Lord and His teachings, and reject the teachings that are contrary to His.
Beloved, THINK: Why would the Lord give so many warnings about being lead astray and falling, IF IT WERE IMPOSSIBLE? Why are we told to make or calling and election sure, if there is no way it can be made unsure? Hear Peter:
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-11)
Yes, you can be sure, by following the teachings of the Lord. Do It! Otherwise, beloved, you shall be lost eternally.
By William C. "Bill" Sexton
From Expository Files 13.6; June 2006