Is it possible to have a relationship with God that can never be broken? What about when we sin? What about when we “walk away” from God for a season?
How can we know for sure where we stand with God? Isn’t it presumptuous to believe that we can have assurance of our salvation and the eternal security of it never being lost?
Let me begin with an actual event from my life: My granddaughter’s lesson about our relationship with God.
Years ago, I was walking hand in hand with my precocious 4-year-old granddaughter around the edge of a large swimming pool. My grandson was swimming in the pool and was having such a good time that his sister suddenly, and without warning, decided to bolt for the water and jump in.
There was only one thing that stood in the way of her plan: my grip on her hand. As she tried to wriggle out of my grip, I clamped down hard, so hard as to noticeably hurt her.
But the pain stopped her dead in her tracks as she realized I was serious about keeping her from harm. She is with us today because I wouldn’t let her go.
Now let me ask you a question: Which handgrip “defined” the relationship between my granddaughter and me? Was it her grip on me, or my grip on her?
Of course, the answer is my grip on her. Yes, she was “holding on to me,” but with the strength of a 4-year-old. But I was holding on to her with vastly superior adult strength.
It’s like that between every true Christian and our Savior Jesus …
Will God ever “let go” of me?
In one of the most powerful passages of scripture ever recorded, the Apostle John writes in John 10:7-30:
“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep … I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep … I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me … But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’”
Bible teacher Bill MacDonald writes in his Believer’s Bible Commentary: “Christ gives eternal life to His sheep. This means life that will last forever. It is not life that is conditional upon their behavior … eternal life is also a quality of life. It is the life of the Lord Jesus Himself. It is a life that is capable of enjoying the things of God down here, and a life that will be equally suitable to our heavenly home … never perish … if any sheep of Christ ever perished, then the Lord Jesus would have been guilty of failing to keep a promise, and this is not possible.”
Can I ever let go of God?
My granddaughter tried to let go of me and I instinctively reacted to protect her from herself. While I knew that she was “gripping” my hand, I was acutely aware that her grip was conditional. If something “better” or more attractive came along, then all bets were off as to her commitment.
My grip on her hand, however, was unconditional and based upon an unwavering pledge. My “contract” with her was the human equivalent of swearing, “no one will snatch her out of my hand.” Nor could she snatch herself out of my hand, as she tried to do with all her might.
The ruling principle was always based on my commitment to her, not her commitment to me.
It is the same with a believer’s relationship with God. We may think we have a “tight grip” on God, with our promises to follow Him, obey Him, believe in Him, etc. But while commendable, such human pledges are subject to change without notice under the pressures of life, endless distractions, and our innate tendency to chase the “bling” of this world.
How About You?
It’s not presumptuous to believe what God has promised. In fact, it is an insult to God NOT to.
If you are a child of God’s through personal faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, His divine grip will keep you safe from everlasting spiritual harm — even if He has to occasionally “clamp down” painfully if we seriously go “off the rails,” like my precious granddaughter did.
— D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.