A Divine Promise: “They Shall Never Perish”

John 10:28

            Our Lord here makes a blanket, unconditional promise. It takes into consideration all times, all circumstances, all contingencies, all events, and all possibilities. Our Lord says, concerning all his sheep, “I give unto them eternal life,” and because they are my sheep and I give eternal life to them, “they shall never perish.”

What if they are babes in Christ and their faith is weak? “They shall never perish.” What if they are young men in Christ and their passions are strong? “They shall never perish.” What if they are old men and their vision grows dim? “They shall never perish.” What if they are tempted? “They shall never perish.” What if they are tried? “They shall never perish.” What if all hell breaks lose against them? “They shall never perish.” What if they sin? “They shall never perish.” What if they sin again? “They shall never perish.” What if they fall? “They shall never perish.” What if they fall seven times a day? “They shall never perish.” What if they fall seventy times in a day? “They shall never perish.”

            This promise takes in all the flock. “They shall never perish.” Not one of Christ’s sheep shall ever perish; no, not even one! This is not a distinctive privilege reserved for a few. It is a common mercy to all the chosen flock. If you are a believer, if you trust the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have received eternal life, you shall never perish! Christ himself has promised it. No, you cannot even sin away the grace of God bestowed upon you in Christ.

            Noah - Abraham - David - Lot - Peter - They all tell us one thing: “Salvation is of the Lord!” Christ’s sheep shall never perish!

            This doctrine of the believer’s security in Christ is in every way consistent with all revealed truth. It is most surely believed among us. Deny this promise and with it you deny every promise of God. If one word from God cannot be believed, no word from God can be believed. Here are eight reasons why the sheep of Christ shall never perish:

1.       The promise of God must be fulfilled - “They shall never perish” (2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:19).

2.       The purpose of God cannot be frustrated (John 6:37-40).

·        God’s covenant cannot be disannulled.

·        God’s purpose in election cannot be overturned.

·        The Suretyship engagements of Christ cannot be defeated (Heb. 2:13).

3.       The redemptive work of Christ cannot be nullified (Isa. 53:10-11).

            We believe in actual, literal, accomplished, substitutionary redemption. Since Christ died for his sheep, in our room and in our place, we cannot and shall not die. He paid all our debts - We have no debt to pay. He bore all our punishment - There is no punishment left for us to bear. Christ satisfied the offended justice of God for us - There is nothing left for us to bear, and nothing for us to satisfy. Justice pleads as strongly as mercy for the eternal salvation of those people for whom Christ died at Calvary (Rom. 5:10; 8:31-34). If even one of those for whom Christ died were to perish, then his purpose in dying for them would be frustrated (Eph. 5:25-27; Gal. 1:4-5; Tit. 2:14). If even one of those for whom Christ died were to perish, then he could never see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.

4.       The believer’s justification in Christ is an irreversible act of grace.

            The trial is over. The court of heaven has pronounced an irreversible verdict upon us - “Justified!” God will not impute sin to a believing soul (Rom. 4:8). He has put away our sins forever by the sacrifice of his Son. Our acceptance before God is in Christ. Our justification is free. It is full. It is forever!

5.       The work of God’s grace can never be defeated (Phil. 1:6).

            That which God has begun he will carry on to perfection. Without the least presumption, every true believer may gladly sing -


“The work which God’s goodness began, The arm of His strength will complete;

His promise is yea and amen, And never was forfeited yet:

Things future, nor things that are now, Not all things below nor above,

Can make Him His purpose forego, Or sever my soul from His love.


My name from the palms of His hands, Eternity will not erase:

Impressed on His heart, it remains In marks of indelible grace:

Yes, I to the end shall endure, As sure as the Earnest is given,

More happy, but not more secure, The glorified spirits in heaven.”


God is willing to complete his work in us. He is wise enough to complete his work in us. And our God is strong enough to complete his work in us.

6.       The intercessory work of Christ must prevail (John 17:9-11, 15, 20; 1 John 2:1-2).


Our cause can never, never fail, For Jesus pleads and must prevail.


7.       The seal of the Holy Spirit cannot be broken (Eph. 1:13-14).

            The seal of our salvation is a seal which no power in heaven, earth, or hell can break! We are sealed in the grace of God, sealed into the covenant, and sealed in Christ by God the Holy Spirit

8.       We are kept in the hands of Christ, our good Shepherd, our almighty Savior, and our great God.

            The Lord of glory says, with regard to every believer, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” We are preserved in the heart of his love. And we are preserved in the hands of his power. “All thy saints are in thy hands.” We are in the hands of Christ our God and Savior. We are always in his hands. What a blessed place to be! This is the place of our security. These are the hands that were pierced to redeem us. These are the hands of omnipotent power. These are the hands which hold the reins of universal dominion. These are the hands which hold us in life. These are the hands of God himself!

This blessed doctrine of the believer’s security in Christ draws a strong response from men. The self-righteous religionist says, “That is a dangerous doctrine. Such a doctrine will lead men into sin.” The presumptuous professor of religion will say, “Let us sin that grace may abound.” The true believer will say, “Such marvelous grace compels me to give my heart to Christ in undivided love, praise, and devotion.” (See Rom. 11:33 - 12:2). Grace produces gratitude; and gratitude produces devotion!

Don Fortner