God desires a personal, ongoing relationship with us. Do we really think that He would let us go? He loves us too much!
9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
This pleasantness is what Jesus brings to the relationship. His “heartfelt advice” is spot-on every time. He brings JOY to our hearts! We are His and He is ours. God gave us to Him. How can God give us to Jesus? As we come to God through Jesus, we place ourselves in His hands. We are, then, His to do with as He pleases. It just so happens that He pleases to give us to Jesus.
If anyone knew what Jesus meant by His words, “Those My Father has given me,” it was John. He walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years and was part of Jesus’s inner circle. He met with Jesus after His resurrection and even got to see Jesus ascend into heaven! He was part of the birth of the Church when the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the disciples. He was friends with Steven, the first martyr, Barnabas, and Paul later on. He pastored the church at Ephesians up until he was banished to Patmos.
Let’s look at what John had to say about this phrase:
27 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 will 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.” John 10:27-30
Jesus was talking about those who believed in Him, which many Jews didn’t (see verses 23-25). If Jesus holds us and the Father holds us, then that’s a divine double-fisted grip! Ain’t nobody gonna break that grip! This is not the only place that Jesus refers to His disciples as the ones the Father gave Him,
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. John 17:6
The idea of “once saved, always saved” didn’t originate with Baptists. The idea was stated by Jesus Himself. Once we belong to Jesus, there is no getting out of His grip. If a person were to want to, it really proves that he never really belonged to Jesus. Again, it is John who explains why:
19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 1 John 2:19
Those who come to Jesus are GRATEFUL. They have passed from death to life (John 5:24). They have experienced the joy and peace and love of the Father. They are reborn and made new! There is NO WAY that a person would turn from all he receives from the Father UNLESS there is secret sin tucked away in his heart that he is unwilling to give up. Most likely, it’s the simple fact that he wants to be the ruler of his own life, the captain of his own ship, and the caller of his own shots. In other words, he never really repented.
As for God predetermining who gets saved, John says this:
11 He came to that which was his own [the Jews], but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:11-12
Did you catch the word, “all?” It’s kinda important. It refers to every person who believes and receives. The fact that the phrase, “Jesus died once for all,” is used 6 times in some form in Romans and Hebrews should be enough for us to believe that even though God foreknows everything, He does not choose for us. It is this ability to choose that He gave mankind when He created us (Genesis 1:27).
If we are not experiencing the love, joy, and peace of God, then something’s wrong. These fruit of the Spirit are given to us by God and we enjoy them regardless of our circumstances. How? By spending time with Him, by acknowledging His presence in our lives as well as His Lordship. By calling out to Him and seeking Him in His Word, we avail ourselves to Him for fellowship and we accept His leadership in our lives. Have we done this? Are we doing this?
Let’s carve out time in our schedules for God, to read His Word, and to enjoy sweet fellowship with Him in prayer. Our spiritual lives depend on it!
Abba, You know I want more of You. I would love to spend more time with You in prayer and Bible study, but the cares and worries of this world–my job, my family, my house/yard, my cars/bikes, etc.–tend to take precedence. I hate the tyranny of the urgent! Help me to do “the balancing act” of keeping all the plates in my life spinning without neglecting You. Thank You for walking with me through the day. Our conversation as we go helps tremendously in how I respond to others, see needs, and do my job well. May I depend upon You more and more, Jesus. Amen.