But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.
I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My Hand.
John 10:28 (NAS).
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God.
God's love for us is beyond our comprehension, but He gives us glimpses--like the love of a faithful parent for a faithless child. Do we disown our prodigal sons when they rebel against us? Or do we wait for them to come home? Do we discard them when sin covers them like a blanket? Or do we cover them with a love even stronger?
Regarding our salvation, God clearly 'Desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth' (1 Timothy 2:4). As far as when we are saved or why it's taken Jesus over 2000 years to return:
'The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance' (2 Peter 3:9). If we hope to spend eternity with our beloveds, so much more does God with His--which is to say, us.
Consider a question: What would have happened to the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 if he had not come to his senses?
Now consider John 10:28 (above). It's a favorite Scripture among Christians who believe salvation is guaranteed. In it, Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd. With its preceding verse, it reads, 'My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My Hand' (John 10:27-28).
To me, these verses reveal that Christians (His sheep) must not only believe Jesus is the Christ, but they must also:
1) Hear His Voice. I fear one hour of listening per Sunday is not enough to keep anyone on God's track--especially a hard and narrow one.
2) Follow Him. Following is a daily and hourly action. It's not a single decision, like Baptism, but an ongoing necessity; one in which I sometimes fall short.
Which brings us back to love and faith--as in His for us. Because the Good Shepherd seeks us when we stray, lifts us when we fall, and carries us when we tire.
Therefore, does our birthright as born-again Christians guarantee us an open door to Heaven? Will Jesus choose to continue to retrieve us if we choose to continue to stray? Will He choose to continue to carry us as toddlers if we choose to continue to crawl in our faith?
We have our lifetime to grow up. But what if we choose to stay small?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Question of Salvation series.