“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28
Another promise to the sheep is eternal life. Indeed, the sheep cling to this promise for hope in earth’s trials. The promise is that the sheep will be raised as Christ has been raised (I Corinthians 15). Eternal life is guaranteed because Jesus has satisfied the Father’s righteous wrath toward those who sin. Justly were the sheep condemned… until they believed and clung to Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Then, justly did the Father forgive and grant eternal life. And, because Christ’s sacrifice for the sheep endures* (Hebrews 9:12), and the Father never changes (Hebrews 7:21-28; James 1:17), and the Holy Spirit keeps a believer on the path of holiness (John 14:26; Titus 3:5-7), the sheep’s eternal life will never be taken away. The sheep “will never perish.”
But sheep tend to be fearful — and this promise can seem too wonderful to be true. But Christ adds this promise: “no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Not Satan, not circumstances. Even in times of feeling lonely, the sheep are in God’s hands. Even in danger, they are held eternally safe in the hand and will of God. And even in death, God’s hands hold them fast so that they awaken to see the One Whom they have believed. And all of this is from God’s mercy, in spite of the sheep’s sinful and fearful heart. What a glorious and indescribable gift, indeed!
I know not why God’s wonderous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus thru the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days
Before His face I see.
I know not when my Lord may come –
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him
Or meet Him in the air.
But “I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
— Daniel H. Whittle
*By that, I do not mean that Christ’s sacrifice endures through His perpetual suffering as on the cross. But, rather, that He died once for all, is now at the Father’s right hand, and thatHis one-time sacrifice will never loose it’s ability to save.