28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
What is eternal life? It refers to being saved from sin and from God’s judgment, and then living now and forever in the spiritual blessings that the eternal God has prepared for us. It denotes the life that one can live in relationship with God. It not only speaks of the life with God in heaven after death, but also of life now as we live here on earth with God.
However, man cannot obtain eternal life on his own. His natural birth into a family, even though his parents are Christians, does not guarantee eternal life. Neither can he merit eternal life by his own works, as he has sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. It also tells us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). So man, by virtue of his sin, has inherited death and not life. “Death” refers to the eternal separation from God because of sin, ultimately resulting in God’s judgment in hell, which the Bible calls “second death”.
Nevertheless, in today’s verse for our devotion, Jesus says, “And I give unto them eternal life”. Eternal life is a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ. All who come to Jesus Christ upon hearing His voice calling them, and follow Him by faith, like a sheep going after its shepherd, will have eternal life.
Moreover, the Lord Jesus promises that “they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that one who believes in Jesus for salvation will never be lost. The phrase, “they shall never perish”, is a strong affirmation in the Greek text; it can also be translated literally as “they will indeed not ever perish”!
Christians may sin and stumble, but Jesus, the perfect Shepherd, will sanctify and secure them. Like a sheep that is too frail to defend itself and find its way to safety, a Christian on his own cannot ensure his eternal life. The security of the sheep is found in the ability of the Shepherd to defend and preserve His flock. The enemy and the adversities will be too strong for His sheep to overcome on their own. But Jesus says, “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” No one, not even Satan, can snatch His sheep out of His hand. We are eternally secured in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be unto the Lord, our great Shepherd!