John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Much have been made of John 10:28-29, but verse 27 is not as popular and not always included when people try to make a point out of these verses. That is probably because the CONDITIONS for being a sheep are listed in. v. 27, and if you’re out to prove unconditional eternal security, then you’re out of luck. Verse 27 is the verse that identifies Jesus’ sheep, and we can read that they are the ones who listen to him and follow him. Furthermore, no MAN is able to ”pluck you out from his hands”, and “pluck out” would be something that someone other than yourself might do to you. You don’t ”pluck yourself” out from someone’s hands, but you can certainly leave Jesus if you really want to since he doesn’t force anyone to either come to him or remain with him.
God could force every single one of us to follow him, but he has chosen to give us free will and being responsible for our own actions. So if we are not his sheep, it’s our own fault and nothing that can be blamed on God. We can further read below in the same chapter that Jesus EXPECTS people to believe in him due to the works that he has done, but the fact is that people still refuse to. If we refuse to come to Jesus and obey him, we are not his sheep but we are actually the devil’s goats. People who are goats wouldn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus, and it’s a bad idea to seek to be a goat. So the context is:
John 10:25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any MAN pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no MAN is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
A few verses later Jesus says ”believe the works: that ye may know, and believe”, and yet some choose to disobey him. Most people in this world refuse to seek Jesus and believe in him, and that means they don’t qualify to be Jesus sheep. Jesus sheep are, again, those who listen to him and follow him.
John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: THAT YE MAY KNOW, AND BELIEVE, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
We can’t sneak into the Kingdom of God but we must go through the door which is Jesus, and Jesus has shown that he is the true shepherd. The gate is narrow, but we can pass through if we let the Holy Spirit guide us, and Jesus says ”if any man enter in, he shall be saved”. We must come to Jesus and remain with him, and if we do and endure to the end, we are saved for eternity! In this life our task is to follow and obey the true shepherd, because the wonderful promises are tied to those who do. We should make absolutely sure to belong to the body of Christ, because the body of Christ IS going to heaven and that is certain. Here is the start of the chapter:
John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and THE SHEEP FOLLOW HIM: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. — 7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
It does say that Jesus gave his life for the sheep, and that is true because his sheep are part of the world for whom Jesus died. We can also read that Jesus gave his life for PAUL, and also Paul is part of the world for whom Jesus died.
Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved ME, and GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.
But doesn’t it say that Jesus gives his sheep eternal life? Doesn’t eternal mean eternal? Yes, of course it does, but “an eternal present” is still eternal even if it’s neglected or thrown away. God’s eternal kingdom is eternal whether we enter it or not, and it would be very strange if the wonderful promise to Jesus followers would only be “temporary life”. We are not offered salvation because we have earned it, but there are still conditions for salvation. A gift is free and it’s nothing that you pay for or earn, BUT it’s still 100% free even if you have a few conditions involved. If you give someone a present that he doesn’t even accept, it’s still a free gift. It’s also a free gift if he must first go to the post office to receive it, and it’s still free even if he throws it away. If you tell your son that he is going to get a new car when he graduates from school, including free gas for as long as he live and all insurance paid, it’s also considered a free gift. But isn’t the requirement that he first graduates from school? Yes, but he doesn’t pay a dime for the car and he doesn’t earn it. Nothing says that a person who graduates from school can expect a car, and no student has the right to ask “I’ve just graduated, so where is my car which I earned and which I expect to get?” No, someone offered this car as a gift, despite that he didn’t have to make such an offer in the first place. It’s also possible that the son takes the car and doesn’t take care of it or even neglects it. Note the conditions for getting eternal life:
John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Hebr. 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY HIM
What happens if a christian does not obey all this? Still saved? Read more about Jesus sheep in this article.