Fulton County Gospel News

a work of the mammoth spring church of christ


I Give Unto Thee Eternal Life

By Marvin L. Weir

In John's Gospel account Jesus says, "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, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28). The denominational religious world has long used these verses in an attempt to support their false teaching of "impossibility of apostasy" or "once saved, always saved."  But the Bible does not teach this damnable doctrine, and the above verses are no comfort to those who cling to Calvinistic theories.
The "sheep" in the above passage are certainly not the unbelieving Jews who eventually crucified the Messiah. One cannot help but notice that these "sheep" hear the Master's voice, and the Master knows them because they follow Him!   All those who are willing to follow the Lord are assured of life eternal. This is a promise that results in the rejoicing of every believer in the Word of God. It is a truth that the one following the Lord cannot be against his will be snatched away by another. Even the devil is powerless to "snatch" one who is determined to be faithful from the Lord's hand!
The one following the Lord, however, can himself cease to "walk in the light" (1 John 1:7). People can reach the point where they choose to "not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth,and turn aside unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). A child of God can "err from the truth" and the one who "converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
The Bible often affirms that God's children can go astray. The writer of Hebrews warns, "Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12-13). Those of denominational persuasion claim that if one indeed falls away from God, it is because he was never saved. How can one "fall away" from somewhere he has never been?  He cannot!
The apostle Paul warned some of the Galatian brethren by saying, "Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace" (Gal. 5:4). You will note that these people were severed from Christ. They were children of God who had been following the Lord. Here is an instance where these brethren had already fallen from grace. Guy Woods correctly observes that Jesus does not take goats and turn them into sheep by giving them eternal life.
At what point do followers of the Lord receive eternal life?  All followers of Christ receive eternal life in promise, but it becomes a possession in the hereafter. Mark 10:30 reads, "but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  You will notice that eternal life becomes a reality in "the world to come."
One does not hope for that which he has. Yet, the Bible speaks of the "hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal" (Titus 1:2). Such is the reason that love is greater than faith and hope — faith will one day become sight, and once in heaven one will no longer hope for the celestial city.
May all realize that before death they must heed and follow the Word of God if they are to be saved! Jesus taught, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
All who are willing to believe and obey the Good Shepherd (Christ) have the right to become children of God (John 1:12). God calls all today in exactly the same way – through the precious gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14; Romans 1:16). There is only one gospel – not many (Galatians 1:6).
The apostle Paul taught exactly as did Christ. To the Romans he said, "Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:16- 18). May we choose well whom we will serve and follow! Our eternal destiny depends upon the choice we make.
1272 Bonham St.
Paris, TX



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