The No One Can Pluck Them and
Never Perish Promise (John 10:28)

Dan Corner

John 10:28 No One Can Pluck Them Out of My Hand and Never Perish (pdf)
John 10:28 No One Can Pluck Them Out of My Hand and Never Perish (mp3)

Who Is It That Will Never Perish?

Almost every eternal security book I've read, which tries to prove once saved always saved, places heavy emphasis on John 10:28 for their no one can pluck them out of my hand and never perish belief. For many, this is the one and only foundational proof text for their never perish once you have been saved teaching. But does John 10:28 really teach once saved always saved and never perish for all who have been saved? Is it really a once saved always saved scripture? Let's take a close look at it and the surrounding verses:

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John 10:28 and Its Immediate Context

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they FOLLOW me. I give them eternal life, and they shall NEVER PERISH; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. (John 10:27-29)

Please note the word follow in verse 27. It is a CONTINUOUS TENSE in the Greek and describes Jesus' sheep. The plural pronouns they and them in John 10:28 and 29 refer back to verse 27. Hence, the only ones promised the wonderful never perish security in verses 28 and 29 are the ones who CONTINUE to follow Jesus! No such never perish promise, either here or anywhere else in the Bible, is reserved for one who doesn't CONTINUE to follow Jesus, such as the backsliding. That, however, is never the way the eternal security teachers cite John 10:28! Here is an example of how an OSAS proponent wrongly understands John 10:28, directly from his email:

Once a person is saved--He can never be taken out of the hand of Jesus. A saved person will always be bound to Christ.
Incredible spiritual harm has been done over the years by ignoring John 10:27 and reading into (distorting) verses 28 and 29. Again, the no one can pluck them out of my hand and never perish promises are not there for a backslider. Remember, verse 27 is an integral part of John 10:28 for it describes who shall never perish, that is, Jesus' sheep who continue to follow Him. To omit verse 27 and/or the facts about the word follow is to change the meaning of Scripture! Only God knows how many remained unrepentant and went to Hell thinking John 10:28 gave them a never perish salvation security in sin! Such eternal security proponents who thought about repentance, if at all, wrongly thought it was for reward's sake, fellowship with God, etc., but certainly not salvation's sake.

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John 10:28 Never Perish Summary

What a shock the above facts of grammar and context must be to some who think they can never perish because they were once saved in the past! The truth is, there aren't any irrefutable Scriptural arguments for once saved always saved. All the alleged "proof" texts for this teaching are no real "proof" texts at all, including John 10:28! Again, all once saved always saved verses have been misused somehow just like this no one can snatch them out of my hand argument from a misuse of John 10:28. The faithful to God alone have those wonderful never perish and no one can pluck them out of my hand promises in John 10:28 as their own! They absolutely don't apply to the backslidden! There is NO security in salvation for them, since they don't have salvation. Do not be deceived. Again, the no one can pluck them out of my hand and never perish belief is only for those faithfully following Jesus!


Our book, The Believer's Conditional Security, refutes 110 of the arguments commonly cited for once saved always saved. Have you read it yet?

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