Is that a threat or a promise?

When my best friend got married she told her new husband, “No matter what you do, I will never, ever divorce you.” To some, her words might sound like a threat (“You mean there is NOTHING I can do to get rid of you?”), and to others her words could be a licence to misbehave (“In that case, let the shenanigans begin!”). However, to people in love these words are a sweet promise of continued unconditional love and commitment.

That’s the way I’ve come to understand the words of Jesus when He says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,  for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand” (John 10:28, 29, NLT). I have to stop here and ask, does “no one”  and “anyone” in the verse include me?  Can I snatch myself away from Jesus? Can I overpower the Father?

image: istockphoto/cpopik

In John 14:16, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit who would soon dwell inside of the disciples (vs. only be with them). One of the characteristics of His indwelling Spirit is that He “will never leave you.” God will not divorce me. There is no sin greater than His sacrifice, no sin that would make His blood lose its power. There is no sin in me that He hasn’t already atoned for and covered. He will never leave me.

Yes, the thought is comforting when I’m going through trouble, but what about this objection, “What if I decide, in 20 years that I don’t want to have anything to do with Him? Why would he force me to be saved? God doesn’t force us to be with him but allows us to choose whether or not we want to be saved.”

Have you ever heard someone say these things? Have you, perhaps, said them yourself?  I wonder, do people who think that free will is the ultimate show of love see God’s promises to never leave us and never allow us to be snatched out of his hand as a threat to their freedom and their right to choose? Has a sweet promise been perceived as shackling of free will?

When someone tells me they want to maintain their right to opt out of eternal life, I hear them saying, “What if I want OUT of the best thing that ever happened to me? What if I figure out a better way even though the Master of the Universe has told me there is no better way?” I am certain that eternal security sounds like a threat ONLY to those who haven’t tasted the intoxicating, unconditional love of the Savior. Because for this love I will gladly, willingly, enthusiastically give up my “right” to divorce. 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).

And that’s a promise.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Delina Pryce McPhaull is a Christ-follower, wife, mother of 3 young children and a writer. Delina and her husband Ben, a licensed minister, co-founded Quarterlife Ministries to encourage, equip and inspire young adults (quarterlifers) to get grounded in the Word. She writes regularly on her blog, and hosts webinars for Former Adventists at[/author_info] [/author] 


Delina McPhaull

Delina McPhaull

Delina Pryce McPhaull is a Christ-follower, wife, mother of 3 young children and a writer. She writes at her blog,
Delina McPhaull

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