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How would it change your life if you knew that Jesus will never reject a believer like you? Life is hard with many difficult situations to endure (death, pain, suffering). God asks us to believe He is perfect love despite sometimes allowing terrible circumstances. Real faith is required to look beyond life’s negative events and see God’s love.
Fortunately for us, God gives us His Holy Spirit, enabling us to see God by faith. He makes profound promises about His relationship with us. If you are a believer, uncertainty and rejection die with your belief in Jesus’s death and resurrection. Certainty and acceptance are possible as faith sees the reality of God’s kingdom in the present moment, even though it isn’t fully realized, yet.
Never Rejected, No, Never
Jesus explains the kind of salvation he offers in John 10.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 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.John 10:27-29 ESV
In the clause “and they shall never perish” John uses the double negative with the aorist subjunctive, which is a very emphatic way of declaring that something will not happen in the future. Jesus is categorically excluding the slightest chance of an apostasy by his sheep. A literal translation would be something like, “They shall not, repeat, shall not ever perish in the slightest.”Christian Theology, M. J. Erickson, Baker Book House, 1985, pg. 992
This kind of assurance is truly Good News. The Gospel, without such security, would be a different gospel than the Bible teaches. Can you imagine believing you will be in heaven today, but tomorrow fearing God’s eternal wrath believing you have been ejected from God’s family? Then with repentence the next day believing you will be in heaven? Then rejected again when you sin? The Bible says this is impossible because Jesus’s death was sufficient for all time (past, present, future). If it lacks the power to keep a person saved, Jesus would need to die all over again (Hebrews 6:4-6). Thankfully, God is all powerful rendering such worries unwarranted.
Never Rejected, But Doubting
Even with such direct statements of eternal security, believers must contend with the spiritual forces of fear and doubt. God would have us strengthen our trust in Him against these principalities and powers.
What might cause someone to doubt their salvation? It’s typically a sin. It’s hard to face when we do something cruel to someone else. The guilt can cause us to believe God will reject us. Jesus’s sacrifice means there is no longer condemnation for believers. Such forgiveness can seem to be too generous to believe, but that is the Good News of the Gospel! When this wonderful generosity is accepted with humility, it creates a heart response of gratefulness rather than a desire to sin more (Romans 5:20–6:3).
What about when someone sins against us? We might learn (come to believe) that we are not worth being saved. Present-day experiences can trigger memories of events that were intensely harmful. Following are some situations that might dig up the past:
- Being lied to
- Being ignored
- Being interrupted
- Waiting (uncertainty)
- Being teased
- Being criticized
- Invasion of personal space
What do these have in common? They all can communicate insignificance (some directly and some more subtly):
- Being lied to -> can’t trust or be trusted
- Being ignored -> not worth the time or engagement
- Being interrupted -> voice is not important or worth hearing
- Waiting (uncertainty) -> don’t deserve good things
- Being teased -> inferior
- Being criticized -> defective
- Invasion of personal space -> don’t have a valuable self that is worth protecting
These will likely cause everyone some distress, but people who have experienced abuse might recall the deep distress of older abuse. Some people have become resilient enough to overcome the negative experiences. The difference has to do with a person’s self-image. The weaker the self-image, the easier it is to allow negative spiritual forces to overwhelm with falsehood, intensifying the pain to crushing levels.
The combination of (1) significant past negative treatment (2) current triggering negative treatment, and (3) preying spiritual forces can be enough to cause people to question their status before God.
But as we have seen, Jesus is emphatic that believers are securely His. The song Love Still Bids You Welcome captures this well. Even though we sin, God holds onto us with a grip that does not slip. Anyone who has tasted God’s goodness would never want to let go of God, but even so because of our weakness, we must rely on God’s strength.
He will not cast you out. Whoever enters in will forever dwell with Him. A believer cannot be rejected by God; he or she is a child of God forever.