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Neither John 6:37-39 nor John 17:2 teach eternal security

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

By Luke Lancaster

John 6:37-39 (cf. Jn. 17:2) says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.”

Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters see this verse as saying that God the Father gives us to Christ, His Son, and that it is Christ’s responsibility to infallibly lead us to Heaven, that He will “lose nothing” of His flock, meaning that all Christians will make it to Heaven. Now, we would agree that it is the will of God that Christians would reach eternal life, however, God wants a lot of things to occur that we stubbornly refuse to occur. It is His will that all people in this world should be saved and come to Him (1 Tim. 2:4). Does that occur, though?

Jesus said that the road to Hell was wide (Mt. 7:13), and that those who did not love their neighbor would go to eternal fire (Mt. 25:41). So, it is God’s will that all those who follow Christ are brought to Heaven, that Christ loses none of them. However, that is not an infallible declaration that Heaven is guaranteed. Christians still have the possibility of Hell.

Christ protected all of His disciples, and lost none of them, except Judas (Jn. 17:12). Was that Jesus’s fault? No, it was Judas’s. Christ wanted him saved. Protestant Biblical scholar Ben Witherington said, “We are not told here that someone God draws or even someone God chooses may not commit apostasy or rebellion. Even though the fourth Gospel has a strong view of God’s sovereignty, it also recognizes that there are things that happen that are contrary to God’s desires and will.”

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