There is, in a sense, a tension that exists with our salvation. On the one hand, our salvation is wholly a work of God (John 1:12-13) . . . on the other, we are told to work out our salvation (Php. 2:22). God has called His own to Himself . . . but we are invited to come to Jesus. God has declared His people to be a holy nation (1Pet. 2:9) . . . and yet, we are commanded to be holy, as He is holy (1Pet. 1:15). We know that it is by faith alone in Christ alone that we are declared righteous in Him . . . but we are also exhorted to make every effort to supplement our faith so that we will not be “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Pet. 1:5-8). This morning, as I read in John’s gospel and in his first letter, I came across another example of this dual aspect of my salvation . . . it’s kind of like abiding in His grip.
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 10:27-20 ESV)
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made to us–eternal life. . . . And now, little children, abide in Him, . . . (1John 2:24-25, 28a ESV)
I am saved by an iron fist. Having, by His grace, heard the Shepherd’s voice, I am now firmly in the grip of the Savior’s hand. Having believed in His finished work on the cross, I am now secure in the grasp of Him who created the heavens and earth . . . who declared me a new creation in Christ . . . who began a work in me which He has promised to complete. Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38-39) . . . no one can snatch me from His hand. I am secure in His grip.
So it’s done, right? Sit back and relax? Ticket’s punched, just waiting for the ride home? Uh, not quite.
While it’s true we are to rest in His finished work, we are not to be complacent. In fact, because of our secure place in Christ, we are to lean into Him . . . to dwell with Him . . . to remain in Him. We are to abide in His grip.
As sheep who have heard the Good Shepherd’s voice, we are to feed on the words spoken to us. As we chew on the wonderful truths of our salvation and drink deep of the Spirit who illuminates the reality of His glorious workings in us, we long to draw near to the Shepherd . . . we hunger and thirst for the things of eternal life which are ours in Him. We snuggle in, as it were, and pursue the sweet fellowship made available to us.
His grip is firm . . . our desire is fixed. He will hold on to us . . . we will cling to Him. Given the choice of anywhere else to be, we would choose only to be found in the palm of His nail pierced hand.
Oh, the blessed rest of knowing that no one is able to snatch us from the Father’s hand. Oh, the blessed pursuit of drawing near and abiding in intimate communion.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . . let us pursue abiding in His grip.