“Never Perish — Ever!” ( John 10:28-30, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus gives us a definite sense of His joy here in the gospel of John when He says He gives us eternal life, and that we “will never perish – ever!” Jesus says:

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

We are the Father’s gift to His Son. The Father “is greater than all.” The Son and the Father “are one.” We are firmly held in God’s hand — and He never lets go! No one has the power to “snatch [us] out of [His] hand.” No one, especially not our adversary. Satan may very well prowl around seeking to devour us, but He can’t. We may struggle to escape God’s grasp, but once we are His, we are His. We are a possession worth keeping, says Jesus. We are worth protecting because His blood purchased us; and His blood is too precious to waste.

Does this mean we can relax and do whatever we want? Hardly! Or, as Paul says, “By no means!” Rather, Jesus’ precious blood calls us to live — not only for Him — but because of Him! Though grace increases with sin, we are not to go on sinning! The prodigal son comes home; he doesn’t go back to the pigs to wallow in mud and eat moldy corn husks. Neither should we!

 

“A Vast Land” ( Isaiah 33: 22, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“And none there will say, ‘I am sick.’ The people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.” (Isaiah 33:24) “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King. He will save us.”

 

“[Our] eyes will see the King in His beauty; [we] will see a vast land. [Our] minds will meditate on the past terror: ‘Where is the accountant? Where is the tribute collector? Where is the one who spied out our defenses?’ [We] will no longer see the barbarians, whose speech is difficult to comprehend — who stammer in a language that is not understood. Look at Zion, the city of our festival times, [Our] eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful pasture, a tent that does not wander; its tent pegs will not be pulled up nor will any of its cords be loosened. For the majestic One, our Lord, will be there, a place of rivers and broad streams where ships that are rowed will not go, and majestic vessels will not pass.” (Isaiah 33:17-21)

 

In His vast land, we will dwell. We will bring nothing to this land but ourselves. We will be presented to the Lord our God as vessels of His Holy Spirit, cleansed of all iniquity, of all imperfection — “holy and blameless in His sight.” We will be welcomed as the prodigal son was welcomed by his father — with the fattened calf and the wine of God’s love. And there will never again be sorrow or terror, tears or fears. Only joy awaits us.

“Saved From The Wrath Of God” (Luke 23: 34, ESV) by Carley Evans


If Jesus is able, while suffocating on the cross, to ask His Father to forgive those who are crucifying Him, then how much more is He able and willing to intercede for us, for those whom He has chosen as His own.

“For while we are still weak, at the right time Christ dies for the ungodly.” (Romans 5: 6)

“Since, therefore, we are justified by His blood, how much more are we saved by Him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5: 9)

I find little sense in the argument that God is unwilling to save those who disobey Him. He dies for those who disobey. He sheds His blood precisely because we are disobedient children whom He wishes to bring back home.

The father of the prodigal son sees his son “while he is still a long way off.” (Luke 15: 20) This brokenhearted father runs to embrace his son and kiss him. God runs to us, wanting to embrace and kiss us and kill the fatted calf for us. He does not begrudge us His love.

Instead, God dies for us while we are still His enemies. “If while we are enemies we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, are we saved by His life.” (Romans 5: 10)

“Look To Jesus” (John 13: 14; ESV) by Carley Evans


If we look to Jesus, to what we know of Him through the four gospels — we should see, I think, a man who loves beyond measure, and who is overall not prone to judge. But we should also see a man who, when He does judge, has a swift and terrible judgment.

Three moments come to mind — the tomb of Lazarus, the parable of the Prodigal son and the withering of the fig tree.

Jesus weeps before He raises Lazarus from death.
Jesus completely forgives the son who disobeys his father and squanders life.
But, He completely withers a fig tree that does not produce fruit for Him in due season.

Jesus cries over the ultimate consequence of sin. He weeps that His friend, Lazarus must experience death. This sorrow despite the fact that Jesus knows He is capable of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus understands human weaknesses. He knows people lose themselves. He rejoices when they find the way back to who He means them to be. His relishes finding the one; and He throws a great party.

Jesus expects results. He gives a gift. He demands that we use that gift to His glory. The consequences are hard to fathom — I don’t believe the consequence is a loss of Him, but a loss nevertheless. The fig tree still stands, but it is withered. This tree will never produce fruit — it is a fruit tree without fruit. Not much sadder than that.

Jesus says that He washes our feet. He has cleaned our whole; now He need only wash our feet. He calls on us to wash one another’s feet.

“Truly, truly; I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his master. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13: 16, 17)

“From Babylon” (Jeremiah 29: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans


We are in exile, far from the Lord. We are in a place to which He sent us — a place called Babylon. When an appointed time is passed, He brings us out of that place. Then, we call upon Him. We come and pray to Him. We seek Him with our whole hearts and we find Him. Our fortunes are restored.

God explains, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus speaks of the man with two sons. The younger son wants his inheritance now. The man gives his sons what should come to them in the future. The younger leaves for a faraway country “where he squanders his property in reckless living.” (Luke 15: 13) He becomes so desolate that he eats the corn husks left behind by the pigs. “When he comes to himself,” he realizes that even his father’s servants are in better shape than he. So, he returns home. (Luke 15: 17)

From a distance, his father sees him. He “feels compassion, and runs and embraces him.” (Luke 15: 20) He throws a huge celebration for the recovery of his youngest son.

The older son, who remains in the field, hears the music and the laughter. He comes close enough to discover that his younger brother has returned, and that their father has “killed the fattened calf.” (Luke 15: 27) He is livid; his anger so intense he refuses to enter the house. He pouts that he has not received recognition for staying put, for serving his father diligently.

His father entreats, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15: 31 – 32)

God is always waiting for exiles to turn from Babylon. His plans are for our good; He is prepared to kill the fattened calf, turn up the music, celebrate our return from the deadness of the world. God gives us a future and a hope, whether we are always by His side or whether we run away then turn to seek Him.