A recently published Facebook post published the following:
“On a ship bound for Rome, Paul advised the captain to winter in a port due to bad weather. Ignoring Paul’s advice, they sailed on, right into a storm that grew so fierce that the sailors feared for their lives. “Be of good cheer,” Paul said. “There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar: and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee”.
When the storm continued, some of the sailors decided to bail out. But just as they were about to leave, Paul said, “Except these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved”. In other words, “If you choose to go overboard, you’ll be wiped out. You are secure, safe, and sealed only as long as you stay on board.”
No one can pluck us out of God’s hand – but that doesn’t mean we can’t leave on our own. I’m shut in the good ship salvation because I have no intention of going overboard, of sailing off in another direction. Yes, I sin. But I am determined, and have decided that I will love the Lord all the days of my life.” – Jon Courson.
An obvious comparison was made between a frightened sailor aboard the Roman ship wanting to jump overboard and a Christian wanting to leave the protection of God’s (and Christ’s) hands.. While the comparison is clearly stated, do you think it’s a fair analogy? That’s my question.
To helpI offer for your consideration commentary from Albert Barnes (1798-1870) for John 10:28:
“I give unto them eternal life – See Joh_5:24.
Shall never perish – To perish here means to be destroyed, or to be punished in hell. Mat_10:28; “which is able to destroy (the same word) both soul and body in hell.” Mat_18:14; “it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Joh_3:15; “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish” Rom_2:12; They who have sinned without law shall also perish without law” Joh_17:12; 1Co_1:18. In all these places the word refers to future punishment, and the declaration of the Saviour is that his followers, his true disciples, shall never be cast away. The original is expressed with remarkable strength: “They shall not be destroyed forever.” Syriac: “They shall not perish to eternity.” This is spoken of all Christians – that is, of all who ever possess the character of true followers of Christ, and who can be called his flock.
Shall any – The word “any” refers to any power that might attempt it. It will apply either to men or to devils. It is an affirmation that no man, however eloquent in error, or persuasive in infidelity, or cunning: in argument, or mighty in rank; and that no devil with all his malice, power, cunning, or allurements, shall be able to pluck them from his hand,
Pluck them – In the original to rob; to seize and bear away as a robber does his prey. Jesus holds them so secure and so certainly that no foe can surprise him as a robber does, or overcome him by force.
My hand – The hand is that by which we hold or secure an object. It means that Jesus has them safely in his own care and keeping.
The story about Paul’s trip to Rome and the great storm had everything to do with Paul, by God’s sovereign design, arriving safely in Rome. Our passage from John 10:28 has everything to do with the eternal salvation of believers and the security (God’s sovereign design) of the double fisted hand of God. On one hand, a frightened sailor with free choice saw jumping overboard as a better alternative than going down with the ship. In like manner, a Christian believer could get to a point that he/she wanted to walk away from God.
Questions for us:
1. Can/will God ‘keep’ those whom he saves.
2. Does Jesus gives his ‘sheep’ eternal life, or ‘conditional’ eternal life., with our free will decision the determining factor in keeping the ‘eternal life’ once given. What does scripture say?
3. Did Jesus death on the cross actually save anyone, or did it just make salvation possible?
4. What did the Apostle John mean when he said of those who left following Jesus:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19
Tell us what you think and why.
I think I will have to think about this some more. Deep stuff. 🙂