I’ve begun preparing a series on eternal security for my second and third grade Sunday School class. As always though, when you create a series, your research goes much deeper than the actual series that you create, and I thought I’d take some time to make a series on this topic to share some of the things and ideas I’ve encountered and to hopefully help you you’re looking for more on the topic of eternal security.
The first topic that I’m going to be discussing with my class is: What does Jesus say about eternal security?
One of the first verses that we go to when we start to talk about eternal security is a statement that Jesus made in John 6:37. This is part of Jesus’s famous “Bread of Life” speech. In this speech, Jesus is discussing how he is the bread of life and that anyone who comes to him will never hunger or thirst. As part of that, Jesus says in verse 37:
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and to him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
This seems pretty straightforward. Jesus isn’t going to turn away people who ask for salvation. I’m trying to figure out how to visualize this for children though, so the first thing I do is to turn to my ESV Study Bible to look for cross-references. Those are the cross-references that I’m going to share with you guys today to start you on your own study of this verse.
For once, all of the cross-references are in John. 🙂 Since I’m going to be referring to the ESV study Bible breakdowns of the verses, I’m going to also give you the ESV translation right here for clarity.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
In researching cross-references, we’re going to begin with the phrase, “all that.” Here we have two verses that are cross referenced. The first is John 6:39.
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
The next reference is in John 17:2. To place in context, this verse is near the beginning of the prayer of Jesus where he tells the Father that he has done the work that the Father has given him to do, and then prays for the disciples and for their work to glorify the Father.
As thou hath given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
The basic message that we can perceive from these cross-references is Jesus gives eternal life to all people that the Father has given him. In John 17, I know he’s specifically referencing the 12 disciples because these are the people that God has given him to carry out the mission of sharing God’s message to the world.
Because I’ve been studying Revelation, my mind flicks to Revelation 14:1. It says there:
And I looked, and lo a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
What’s notable to me about this verse is how God seals 144,000 near the beginning of the book of Revelation, and here we see that there are still 144,000 there with the Lamb. God hasn’t lost a single one. There’s my practical reminder of “All that.”
The next phrase in the verse that we’ll find cross-references for is “the Father gives me will come to me.” We’re going to start in John 10:29.
My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my father’s hand.
We also see three cross-references in John 17. The first of these is John 17:6.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word.
Next, we have John 17:9.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
Finally, there’s John 17:24.
Father, I will that they also who thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
The common phrase in the verses “you gave me” allows us to take a little time to see what Jesus has done with the me that the Father has given him. The first cross-reference shows us the foundational truth that no man is able to take them from the Father, and once we have that as our foundation we’re able to se more about these people. First, Jesus manifested God’s name to them, and the disciples have kept God’s word. Next, Jesus prays for them because they belong to God. Finally, Jesus prays that the disciples will be with Him and behold his glory.
This reminds me of a verse in I John. In this first, I John 2:1, we are reminded that Jesus is our advocate.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
All the verses we just referenced in John 17 are Jesus being an advocate for the disciples. It’s a perfect example, and by the time I had read through these verses, I realized what my focus on John 6:37 would be with the children.
The final phrase to me, after reading in John 17 made perfect sense. In it Jesus says, “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” Our advocate would in wise cast us out. The first cross-reference we associate with that phrase is John 10:28.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, nether shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
The other cross-reference is John 17:12. It states:
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; the the scripture might be fulfilled.
I love how clear that final statement is from John 10:28 and John 17:12. He is able to keep us and no one can take us from him once we belong to him.
I’m hoping that you can see my line of thought. Now, how to apply it to the children. No one seems to have any ready made “Jesus is my advocate” type lesson plans. It’s harder when you’re starting from scratch building a lesson, but it’s definitely doable. I’ll be sharing more about that with you soon, and I’ll be sharing how I realized that John 6:37 is a verse that is a storm of controversy between various opposing views in an upcoming post as well.
So, if you’ve made it all the way to here, which cross-reference has the most meaning to you of the ones that I presented? How do you interpret John 6:37?