The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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"No one can snatch me out of Jesus’ hand" (John 10:27-28)

I have heard people using this passage from John to support that they will never be snatched out of Jesus’ hand, regardless of whether they really follow Jesus or not, as long as they once upon a time believed in Jesus. But is this what the Word of God says? Let’s please read this passage in its context:

John 10:27-29
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

The promise of "I give them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand" is made for those of verse 27:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"

To be a sheep of Christ and to be included in the promise of verse 28 we have to hear His voice, to be known by Him and to follow Him. Now let’s unpack this a bit more. What does it mean to follow Christ? Does it mean to just, in time past, make a confession of faith and from there on one is included automatically and forever to those who follow Him? Is really somebody who though he believed that Jesus is the Son of God, then turned back to the world living after the flesh, covered by the promise of John 10:27-29? Does such a person really follow Christ? Well let’s allow the Master to explain what it takes to follow Him:

Luke 9:23-24
"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

And also: Matthew 10:38
"And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

To follow Christ we need to take up our cross and go behind Him. Following implies moving. Following Christ is something dynamic, something that implies moving, and in fact moving behind somebody else, the Lord. It is a daily business ( "take up his cross daily and follow me" ) The first moment of faith is on the other hand something static, something which happened at a certain point in time. This moment put us behind Christ. Now we have to follow Him. This moment brought us into the faith. Now we have to run with patience the race of faith to the end, looking unto Jesus the leader of our faith. As we read in 1 John:

1 John 2:10-11
"Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."

John does not say that because we once believed we walk automatically in the light and follow Jesus forever and ever. Instead, following Jesus is something to be done daily. People who, for example, hate their brothers are walking in the darkness and they are not followers of Jesus, regardless of their once upon a time faith. Since they are not followers of Jesus they are not of His sheep, for His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Can we then say that the promise of John 10:28: "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" applies to them and whoever else walks in the darkness, without repenting? No, we cannot, for this promise is to those who follow Him. For people who are willing to lose their life in order to find it. Yes, such people nobody can snatch out of Jesus’ hand.

Next section: Misusing Jude 1:24-25: God will present me blameless anyway, regardless of what I do.


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou