How do you explain these verses?

I am not an expert but how do you explain the verses..

John 3:36 which states our eternal life starts when we believe

John 10:27,28 .neither shall any pluck them out of my hand

And the statements which I have read

And if he is really saved, having come to Christ in true repentance and faith, he has been "born again" (1 Peter 1:23), and the Holy Spirit has come "that he may abide with you forever." (John 14:16)

Also Romans 8:38-39 suggest than even us denouncing God will not be able to separate His love for us.

As we are now in Christ Jesus, does not God see us righteous through Jesus (our High Priest) instead of being filthy rags - and hence we are righteous before Him?

My reply is below:


Well let's look at what they say:

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." [NIV]

I don't see the difficulty in this passage. People assume that eternal life can't be eternal if you can have it and then not have it, but they miss the point of what eternal life is. It is not a thing, it is a person:

1 John 1:2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. [NIV]

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [NIV]

1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. [NIV]

So the question isn't whether eternal life is eternal if you can have it one moment and then not have it, the question is can you have Jesus and then not have Him in your heart? He remains eternal life whether you have Him or not, so I see no contradiction. Now to whether you can go back to not having Him:

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. [NIV]

I have stated this many times before, but a sinner cannot BECOME an enemy of God because they are already enemies of God. We were all enemies of God from birth, we are only reconciled to the Father by faith in Jesus Christ. So the only person who can BECOME an enemy of God is a believer. But this is not the only passage that says this:

1 Corinthians 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. [NIV]

If you hold firmly. He is not denying that they were saved or that they truly believed, he is saying that if they don't continue then it was for nothing. It is not a one time event, it is a life long discipleship.

2 John 1:8-9 [8] Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. [9] Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [NIV]

Again you can't lose something you never had in the first place. There are many more just like these but I think that covers that verse you brought up. Eternal life remains eternal whether we retain it or not.

John 10:27-30 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. [30] I and the Father are one." [NIV]

Again I don't see a problem. No one can snatch anyone out of God's hand, but so what? Does that mean that I can't decide not to follow Christ any longer? No, in fact the passages I just quoted show that to be very possible. Notice in this passage that Jesus makes the statement that His sheep FOLLOW Him. If we quit following Him then the verse no longer applies to us.

1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. [NIV]

Yes we have been born again of imperishable seed, but again does that mean we can't quit following Christ and thereby forfeit our salvation? No.

In his second letter Peter also writes this:

2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [NIV]

So has Peter changed his mind about the imperishable seed? Of course not, but we can give up our secure position.

John 14:15-17 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- [17] the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. [NIV]

Again you are making this passage into something that it isn't. First notice that I quoted verse 15 also, which says "if you obey what I command" so what if we don't obey? Yes the Counselor will be with us forever, as long as we follow Christ, but if we quit following, then all bets are off, just as all those other passages I quoted say.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, [39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]

I don't see a problem with this passage either. Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Before you claim I am saying yes, you better look at the whole Bible. Does God love only believers?

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." [NIV]

Yet there will be more people in hell than are in heaven. So again I think you are trying to make this verse say something that it dos not say. Look at this:

Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. [NIV]

Did Jesus love Jerusalem (the Jews)? Of course He did, but will they be in heaven or hell? Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, but that does not mean we cannot be placed back under judgement. Now look at a couple other passages:

2 Tim. 2:11-13 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him,
we will also live with him; [12]
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us; [13]
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself. [NIV]

Also on the same idea:

Matthew 10:33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. [NASB-U]

Jesus will deny us if we deny Him. How can we deny Him? By not following Him any longer, by not following His commands. He will remain faithful, but we might not and His remaining faithful is to the just and holy nature of God, it does not mean that He will remain faithful to us if we leave Him.

You have to take the Bible as a whole to understand it and to understand God. He loves us and offers us forgiveness of our sins and yes while we are in the faith (meaning to follow Christ) He sees Jesus' righteousness when He looks at us, but when we decide to leave Christ, He sees us for who we really are. People seem to think that the Old Testament means nothing to us today, but they forget that the whole Old Testament foretold the coming of Jesus, it is not just a history of the Jews, it is all about Jesus. Now go read the story of the first Passover. Read it with the thought that it is a shadow of our salvation. Let me quote just a very short part of the story:

Exodus 12:21-22 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. [22] Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. [NIV]

What would have happened if someone had gone outside during the night? Would they have been spared because they placed the blood on the doorframe? No, just as our salvation requires that we remain in Jesus Christ, their salvation required them to remain in doors until morning. The blood protected them from God's wrath only while they were under it's protection, and the very same is true of us.

Ralph

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