"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:28-29)

Some of my religious neighbors say that this verse emphatically teaches that a child of God can never be lost. They say further, if a child of God can be lost then the Devil would have to be stronger than God and enter into his hand if he is to pluck one of God's children. Sounds good but I don't believe that is what the Lord is saying at this place in scripture.

I would agree that the Devil would have to be the greater to violate God's hand but he doesn't here discuss another possibility. That is, if one is so disposed, he can depart from his father's hand. God will not hold us in his hand against our own will. He does not take from us our freedom of choice when we become his child. And when we depart from him we are then back in the Devil's territory. This is taught plainly in other places. Look at 1 Timothy 4:1: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." One cannot depart from a place where he has never been. These had been "in the faith," in God's hand, but they depart. Then look at Hebrews 3:12 "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."

There are 100's of other quotations that could be given but two should be enough for those who love the Word of God. If one or two is not enough then 100 or 200 more would make no difference. The doctrine of once saved, always saved, gives comfort to the rebellious. Bur if a child of God does drifts away or rebels, then returns in true repentance, God will receive him back as did the prodigal's father. We also have that promise in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

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