Charles Templeton was a Christian. He was an evangelist who preached alongside the likes of Billy Graham. He preached the Word of God to people, many of those people believed what he said and were saved. So, why did Mr. Templeton renounce his faith before he died?
What about the perfect Christian husband and wife? This is the couple that everyone thinks of as the epitome of love and married life. No one would imagine that, with no warning at all, the husband meets another woman, leaves his wife, denying ever having loved her in the first place, moves out, and abandons his entire family.
Neither of these scenarios unfolded while the participants enjoyed a healthy relationship with God. At some point or another, compromise crept into their lives and they chose to rebel, disbelieve, or ignore God and His will for their lives. As the Bible clearly states:
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. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30 ESV)
If we look closely at this passage we see that Jesus promises that “no one” can snatch His “sheep” away. However, there is a condition present which must exist for this to be true. Jesus says that His sheep “hear His voice” and they “follow Him”. These are preconditions to the promise of not being able to be snatched from His hand. In other words, those who do not hear His voice and/or do not follow Him CAN be snatched out of His hand, not because He isn’t powerful enough to prevent it, but because such a person has CHOSEN to disobey or ignore Him. Those who disobey or ignore Jesus are not His sheep at all as the following verses make clear:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36 ESV)
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32 ESV)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ... (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7 ESV)
...inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV)
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him... (Hebrews 5:9 ESV)
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)
One way that a heart surrendered to God reveals itself is in loving obedience to the will of God. No one was saved so that they can construct a religion of their own imagination. God has the right to set the standards by which we all should live. A person who realizes the love that God has for him or her cannot help but respond in loving gratitude to the Creator and Savior.
Do you understand how much God loves you?
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