Did Jesus say that He lost none that believe on Him?
In my circles I know a lady that is aware I do not believe that scripture teaches the Calvinist doctrine. To be honest I don’t think she is a full Calvinist either, but this person puts her faith in the once saved, always saved doctrine. She said something along the lines, I just put my hope in what Jesus said in the book of John, He lost none that were given Him. So when Jesus says in John …those that thou gavest me I have kept , and none of them is lost… was He speaking of those person who have and will put their trust in Him as savior? Or was Jesus speaking about something else? Before we find out what the answer to the question is, let’s do something really radical. Let’s lay down some rules for looking at the scripture in question. Please let me know if I brake any of these rules when I discus the scripture.
1. Interpret scripture with scripture
2. Understand scripture in context
3. Do not read into scripture what is not said there
4. Read what is in the text
With that out of the way let us look at the scripture in question. Did you know that there are actually two verses that say nearly the same thing in the book of John. These statements are in two different chapters but they speak of the same thing.
The first one is:
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in they name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
And the other one is:
John 18:9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
In the first verse Jesus is speaking about His time on the earth and He is only speaking about those He was with while He was here. He says that He lost none but one and this one that is lost is Judas the son of perdition. So who was he keeping in His name? It was the other eleven disciples. The context of this scripture is Jesus praying for the disciples because He is about to depart and go to the Father, but they are to remain in the world. In verse 6 of John 17 Jesus says He has manifest the name of the Father to those men which were given to Him. Verse 7 Now these men finally know that what is given to Jesus is given to Him by the Father. Verse 8 Jesus he has given these men the words which come from the Father. These men have received this word. These men know and believe that Jesus came from the Father. Verse 9 Jesus makes it very clear He is praying for these men. He says, “I pray for them” not for the world. Jesus declares these men are the Father’s. Verse 10 Jesus makes it clear that there is nothing that the Father has that the Son does not have and vice versa. Verse 11 is the verse where Jesus says He is leaving and they are staying. Keep in mind this is still part of the prayer that Jesus is praying for these men that were mentioned in verse 6. So when we come to verse 12 it is already established that Jesus is talking about the twelve minus the one.
Again it is clearly reaffirmed that Jesus is speaking only about those whom He was with while He was on the earth. And clearly has kept them and lost none but the one that the scripture might be fulfilled. For a believer to think this is speaking about anyone other than the 11 disciples is to read into the text what is not there and to ignore what is clearly written in the text. Not only that but there is not consideration for taking the scripture in context, which we have done here.
OK, maybe John 18:9 is the verse that speaks of all believers who put their faith in Christ.
Verse 9 starts out by saying, “that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake“. Then it quotes the saying, “Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none“. Jesus in the previous verse tells the temple guards to let the disciples go, He was the one they wanted. When Jesus said, “let these go” He was fulfilling the saying, “which He spake” in the previous chapter, “Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none“. The context is in the garden when Jesus is betrayed by Judas, the one who was lost, mentioned in John 17:2. The fulfillment is manifest when the other 11 are not lost and are also allowed to escape, even after Peter cuts the ear off of a temple guard.
By letting the scripture interpret scripture
By understanding the scripture in context
By not reading into the text By reading what is there
We now have a Biblical view of the text without flaw. We have a Gospel According to the Gospel view. Unfortunately, the lady in question, like so many Christians, only knows the incomplete verse and this without any context. This leads to not reading nor understanding the part they do know in context. They have no understanding what the scripture really say and therefore make implications to fit their belief. This is not the way to study the Bible nor understand it. As a church we need to quit being Biblically illiterate and to quit twisting scripture to fit us. When we do, we have left the gospel. y