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As imperfect people living in an imperfect world, we often have to fall back on the old adage, Well, you can’t win them all.
That’s just the way it is, isn’t it.
But that’s not just the way it is when it comes to the Lord Jesus.
At the end of His public ministry, and shortly before He went to the cross, He made what we call His High Priestly prayer.
You can find it in John Chapter 17, and you might say it sums up His earthly ministry, during those 33 1/2 years He spent among us.
Here is part of that prayer.
John 17:1-4 “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, "as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (And now, I would like to emphasize the next verse.) "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Certainly His primary work was our salvation, which on the cross He pronounced “finished.”
But as we move down to V 9, He is speaking of His work in connection with His disciples.
Here is what He says---"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. "And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name.” - and here again is a verse I would like to emphasize - “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."
Yes, none of Jesus’ disciples were lost.
And some day, in His millennial kingdom, these very same men, including Judas’s replacement, will “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:28
And when we get down to V 20 of His High Priestly prayer, we can take comfort in the fact that He includes all believers in that prayer---"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word."
However, even though His work of salvation is completely finished and completely successful, for as Romans 10:13 assures us: "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
Yes, even though His work of salvation is complete in every aspect, His care for the church, (that is the Bride of Christ) is still ongoing.
And that phase of His work will only be completed when He brings us home to glory.
In that day, He will be able to say once more---“Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost.”
And you know what?
Those words rather conjure up in my mind a picture of a young shepherd reporting to his father.
Some months before, his father had committed his sheep into his son’s care.
Shortly after that, the son set out for the high pastures, leading his father’s sheep behind him.
All summer long, he guided them through the rocky terrain of that land to the green pastures and still waters they so needed.
And he was ever vigilant for predators that might endanger his sheep, or should I say, his father’s sheep.
Finally, as winter approached, and the high pastures were no longer a fit place for the flock, he brought them home to the safety of the sheepfold.
As they pass on before him, and with his father standing at his side, he carefully noted each sheep, for, indeed, he knew them all by name.
And when the last one had entered the fold, he turned to his father and proudly said ---“Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost---.”
And that's exactly what our Good Shepherd will be able to say.
No, not a single believer will ever be lost.
Not only have we been redeemed by the “precious blood of Christ,” but John 5:24 assures us we have already “passed from death into life.”
Yes, the moment we accept the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, we are redeemed body, soul and spirit.
However, as we go through life, and particularly as we get older, we become increasingly aware of the fact that our bodies still bear the marks of a fallen race.
And someday, if the Lord tarries, we will succumb to that same curse that was placed on Adam.
Yes, even though we have eternal life, we are living in an era of unfinished business.
But that will not always be the case.
Someday, and it could be very soon, Jesus will return to claim His purchased possession.
As 1 Corinthians 15:52-57 tells us "---the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
We can win them all!
We can have “the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
And not only that, but “---our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." Philippians 3:20-21
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