Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.John 10:25-30
In this Bible study on the assurance of eternal life, for seekers of faith this passage of scripture should come with tremendous joy and peace. This is because Jesus is illustrating a double sense of assurance after someone receives eternal life. First, it is through him as he states that believers in him will never perish and that no one is able to pluck or remove them out of his hand. Secondly, Jesus affirms that no one is able to pluck or remove them out of his Father’s hand, who is even greater than all! What assurance, what a blessed passage of scripture for all seekers of faith who have ever wondered, who have ever doubted, who have ever worried about whether they can have complete and utter assurance to be saved forever through the Lord Jesus Christ.
This scripture should also bring an awareness to people in religions that preach a doctrine where salvation is solely tied to a particular church membership or that secondary religious references outside of the Bible are more important, often a trademark of cults. Others are caught in a perilous spiral of basing their salvation on their own behaviour or conduct as though we could earn our way to heaven but Jesus is refuting all of these misconceptions of eternal life. It is through him and only him according to the scriptures.
In him was life
At this juncture in the study, let us explore and expound upon some of the scriptural references that will help to further understand the concept of eternal life. It only took the writer of the gospel of John a mere four verses to note something profound about Jesus with this statement, “In him was life,” [John 1:4] While on the surface, this may not mean that much to the idle reader but John is speaking about a life that is described by the Greek word zoe and this relates to spiritual life. This is in contrast to the Greek word bios which applies to physical life. As John’s gospel account continues, he then records the words of Jesus in a conversation that took place with a Pharisee named Nicodemus about eternal life.
Let’s listen in on the conversation when Jesus states to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] Take careful note of a few key points in this verse. First it is through God’s love where he sent his only unique Son into the world to save us through his atoning sacrifice on the cross at Calvary for our sins. Second, it is not just an awareness of this fact but it is believing in Jesus that becomes the catalyst for receiving new, and in this case, new spiritual life. Finally, this verse contrasts the eternal consequences of believing in him in that a person will not perish eternally but will have everlasting life in him. This is that zoe life or spiritual life that is in Jesus Christ and belief in him is the way of saving grace through him.
Saved to the utmost
This is why the writer of the book of Hebrews highlights this point by stating this about Jesus, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” [Heb. 7:25] Jesus is our eternal intercessor, he is our mediator between us and the heavenly Father. In addition, the distinguishing point of being saved to the uttermost is in fact life that is eternal. For many people this is hard to comprehend where they tend to live a religious life always on the edge so to speak, worrying about their assurance of eternal life. But once a person’s spirit is born again by the eternal Spirit of God there is no turning back on this event. It is not based on your merit, effort or good works, it is based on God’s power (John 1:12-13) and his unfailing grace. Note how the author of this short epistle articulates this, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” [Jude 1:24]
This message of eternal life was preached by Jesus on many occasions in the presence of the multitudes, in front of his disciples and future apostles, even in front of the religious rulers of the Jews. Consider how Jesus reiterated this point, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” [John 5:24] Again, note how the contrast is presented here, “not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” This is indeed a remarkable statement from the Lord Jesus Christ because he illustrates two destinations of people in the afterlife by noting words such as perish and condemnation which is described in the scriptures as a place of eternal torment. Then in contrast to this Jesus highlights the defining moment a person believes with the use of descriptive words such as everlasting life and having passed from death unto life!
Life in the Son
It is no wonder as the writers of the New Testament continued in documenting the early workings of Christianity that they tended to reiterate this key message of equating eternal life with the Son. The apostle John not only wrote his gospel account but also wrote three other epistles with one of them illustrating this point once again by stating, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1 John 5:12-13] These passages make it very clear in that eternal life comes through the Son and by believing in the Son of God. And, once again, the tragic consequences of unbelief gives clear indication that a person does not have life and in this case, it is referring to eternal life.
This same passage of scripture was echoed by Jesus himself in his concluding comments to Nicodemus from the earlier discussion when he said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” [John 3:36] This is the assurance of eternal life. But, conversely, with poignant words such as these, it is indeed puzzling and troubling to learn that so many people reject the gospel, reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their saviour and instead choose to have the wrath of God abiding on them for eternity. Dear seekers of faith, if this is you, if this is your position in life, consider the eternal consequences of your decision for eternity is indeed forever with absolute no chance of changing course after death, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” [Heb. 9:27]
To close off this Bible study on the assurance of salvation, this assurance can be yours today by believing in him, in Jesus, in what he did for you on the cross to atone for your sins. There is no other redemption from your sins other than the price Jesus paid on the cross. Why is this? It is because the atonement required a sinless sacrifice and sadly, none of us are without sin. We were born in sin through the inheritance that came from the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden. No human on this earth is without sin and if we say that we have no sin we make God out to be a liar and deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8-10). Will you make this decision now, to believe in him, to put your faith and trust in his saving grace? Take the words of the apostle Paul from this verse and apply them to your life right here and now, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom. 10:-9-10]
Bible Study Questions
- In this Bible study on the assurance of eternal life, sheep is a metaphor for believers, true or false?
- This passage of scripture describes how no one is able to take us out of both the hands of the Son and who else?
- What was the name of the Pharisee who Jesus spoke to in John 3:16?
- How would you describe spiritual life (zoe) versus physical life (bios) to someone asking you?
- Why do you think so many people try to save themselves rather than placing their trust in God to save them?
- Can you list the consequences of not believing in Jesus for salvation as described in this study?
- Share with someone you love God’s message of atonement through the sacrifice of his Son.