In order to best understand a story you simply must read it from the beginning to the end. It seems we have a tendency to skip around the Bible from book to book.
I decided to step through the entire book of John from beginning to end, with the primary focus being how we are saved, can we lose that salvation once it is gained, and/or is salvation Faith PLUS ‘working it!’ to ‘keep in the faith’?
The message of the scripture seems overwhelmingly clear:
- It is God who calls us, God that enables us to believe
- You must Believe in Him in order to gain eternal life. (John explains what believing means)
- Salvation is in no other name but Jesus Christ. It is through Christ and Christ alone that a person attains eternal salvation. This is hard for some people but according to scripture, and Jesus own words, there is no other path.
According to scripture ‘seeing’ or just ‘saying’ you believe is not enough. You can’t just say ‘I believe’ and magically gain eternal life, you can’t study your way into eternal life, you absolutely cannot good deed your way into eternal life. God calls his sheep, he knows us, we respond. I encourage you to read the entire book of John and follow along with my notes here.
Amount of times the word ‘believe’ is used in John 1-8: 47, ‘believe in Him’ 10
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Salvation – believe in His Name: In verse 12 you see those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (salvation). In verse 13 you see we become children not of natural (worldly), nor human decision, but born of God.
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
Note: Prior to this in verse 19 Jesus says ‘destroy this template, and I will raise it again in 3 days’ referring to himself.
23While He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the signs He was doing and believed in His name. 24But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men.
Salvation – believe in His Name: God knows our hearts. How do we believe? Read on.
5Jesus answered “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Salvation: Jesus tells Nicodemus how one can gain eternal life by being born of water (Jesus the Living water) and the Spirit(Holy Spirit) See Ezekiel 36:25-29 about salvation. You see God say you will be careful to keep my laws but it is He that will save you from all of your uncleanness.
How do we go about being born of water and the Spirit? Read on!
I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
How do we believe? Read on!!
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
Salvation – Believe: Jesus explains that eternal life belongs to everyone who believes.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Salvation – Believe in His Name. God saves us through Christ. Whoever believes in him shall NOT perish but have eternal life. One time justification.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Salvation cannot be lost: Whoever believes is NOT condemned, whoever does not believe stands under God’s wrath. There is no other name in which we can be saved.
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.
How do we believe? We can only receive salvation from God, not by any works, deeds, ceremonies, or rituals. We can’t believe without God!
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Salvation – Believe in the Son: God the Father has placed everything in Christs hands including Salvation. John repeats what we heard previously in John 3:18 that those who believe in Jesus have eternal life but whoever rejects Christs will not be saved because they are under God’s wrath.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Note: The gift of God is eternal life. The gift of God is faith. The gift of God is to believe.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Salvation cannot be lost: When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we will NEVER thirst. When we receive Christ we WILL BECOME a spring of water welling up to eternal life. You cannot lose your salvation. Jesus Christ saves perfectly. If we could lose our salvation we would thirst again, and only maybe become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
If it was any other way then the book of John up to this point has lost its meaning and Jesus is not telling the truth here.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
Note: The woman was under the understanding that you had to go to a physical location in order to worship God. However, Jesus is telling the woman she is saved.
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Note: We worship God in Spirit and in Truth. God is Spirit. There is no physical place we must go to in order to worship.We worship God in Spirit and truth. Remember this before you get to John 6. Do we worship God in spirit, truth and eating his literal flesh?
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
What food is Jesus talking about? Physical food? Literally eating his body in order to maintain salvation? The previous verses lead us to worshiping in Spirit. If you believe Jesus is starting to reveal the real presence (Sacrament of Salvation) here then the book of John is starting to switch meanings on what salvation is. I argue the food that Jesus is talking about is not physical but spiritual and eternal life. He had already mentioned drinking physical water (John 4:13-15) that makes you thirsty again but giving us living water (spiritual) where we will never thirst again. Jesus is talking about spiritual matters and eternal life; there is no reason for us to believe that he is talking about cannibalism of his physical body.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.
Believe in His Name: We must believe in Jesus for salvation. We are his messengers and are to point the way to Him. Through our testimonies others come to know Him.
48“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live. The man took Jesus at his word and departed”
Believe in His name: The man trusted Jesus would do what he said and departed.
When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him. Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
Believe in His name: The man trusted Jesus and realized his son lived at the exact time Jesus said his son would live. This was his testimony after which his entire household became believers in Jesus.
Pause.. Hopefully you’ve read along with me in Chapters 1-4 and see the overall theme. Hopefully you too see that it is by believing (trusting) in the name of Jesus that we are saved. By believing you understand that you are willing to put your complete faith and trust in Jesus. By believing in him you accept that he is truly everything he says he is and that he will save us. By believing you accept that it is only through Him that we gain eternal life. We don’t have to hope we get eternal life. We can KNOW. How can we 100% know? see…
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
This Is Written That You May Know
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Salvation cannot be Lost: God Has given us eternal life. This cannot be taken away. Don’t make God a liar. You can be 100% sure. So far in John there is NO mention of anything in addition to that we have to do in order to be saved or ‘keep the faith’ or work towards our salvation. Let’s keep going!!
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Jesus is Lord. Jesus is GOD!
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
Salvation cannot be lost: Jesus saves! He gives life to whom he pleases. If he gives life, we can’t lose it.
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Salvation – Believe in His Name: Jesus is Lord and judge. If you do not honor the Son you do not honor the Father. Not only is Jesus God but Jesus is the only path to salvation.
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life
Salvation – Believe in His Name: This is a repeat of John 3:18, and John 3:36. Whoever believes in Him HAS eternal life and WILL NOT be judged but HAS crossed over from death to life. We cannot “HAS” eternal life and “UNHAS” that eternal life. We cannot cross over from death to life and then back over to death. Salvation cannot be lost for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.
Salvation is in Christ: They don’t believe and they don’t hear his voice. They are looking for salvation in knowledge.
How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God
Salvation is in Christ: They don’t believe because they seek glory and praise from men and don’t seek Jesus.
If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
Note: If you don’t believe the written word, how can you believe the living word? If you’ve carefully read John up to this point you should already see how we come to believe in Christ. Read on and Jesus explains in more detail as we continue.
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Salvation – Believe in His name: Jesus wants us to ‘work’ for food that endures to eternal life. So they ask, what must we do? A prayer, a ritual, good deeds, give to the poor, a tradition, some kind of act, or a combination of all these?? Jesus answers them BELIEVE IN HIM! Believe in Him and the works will follow. We do good works because of our faith not because we are earning our salvation.
So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?
Note: They don’t believe Jesus and challenge him to prove by some sign so that THEN they will believe. After everything He has said they just don’t understand. They don’t hear him. He will go further into this shortly. Read on!
Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread. I AM the bread of life.”
Salvation is in Christ: I AM the bread of life. Jesus is not talking about literal bread and certainly not cannibalism of his body, but explaining to us that He is God, salvation is in Him, and how are we saved? Believe!
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Salvation cannot be lost: Believe in His name and never go hungry, and never be thirsty. Who will never go hungry and thirsty? Those who BELIEVE in HIS NAME! Does Jesus mean literal hunger and literal thirst? No. Then why would He mean literally eat him? Even if this were the case I’d argue we’d only need to do that once. But again, we have only seen that we must believe. This is the work God requires of us.
We’ve already heard this language being used in John 4:13-15 in regards to never being thirsty. He never said if you come to me you’ll be thirsty later, and hungry later if you sin again or decide to walk away from me. Jesus will explain to us in later verses how we simply cannot lose salvation and why we can’t.
But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day
Salvation cannot be lost: Those people seen Jesus, heard of Him, heard of His deeds but still didn’t believe. Why?? Because they weren’t called and they can’t hear him. Whoever comes to Jesus he will NEVER DRIVE AWAY. And the will of the Father is that Jesus shall lose NONE of ALL those God has given to Him and he WILL raise us up on the last day. If you come to Jesus He will NEVER drive you away and Jesus will lose NO ONE. You cannot be saved temporarily and lose that salvation. Otherwise Jesus fails to save. Do you believe you can be saved, and then somehow lose that justification by your own will and deeds?
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Salvation cannot be lost: This is the Father’s will. everyone who looks to the Son and BELIEVES shall have Eternal Life and HE WILL raise us up.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Salvation cannot be lost: God Calls us, we respond, and he will raise us up on the last day.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
Salvation – Believe: He who believes HAS eternal life. One time justification.
I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
Salvation cannot be lost: How do we eat the bread that comes down from heaven and obtain eternal life? Believe. From verse 52 on you will see, if read out of context, what appears to be Jesus speaking literally. Lets say o.k. you’re right.. It’s literal.. Regardless Jesus is still saying HAS eternal life and he WILL raise you up. This is a one time permanent action! It cannot be undone!
If you are a Roman Catholic this is the very belief you stand on and you keep going to the mass week after week eating the real presence in the hopes you maintain your salvation. Is this what is presented so far in the book of John? We have seen no indication that this is a process and one that can only be obtained through the act of an Alter Christo (another Christ – Catholic Priest).
Does Jesus switch gears here and say that you cannot inherit eternal life by simply believing? That He is setting it up here so that you must participate in the Mass in order to ingest Jesus literal body/blood for temporary salvation? But you later leave the Church, commit a mortal sin, have that sin imputed to you, and fall from grace?
If you read along with me in John 1-6 is this the message? I submit to you the answer is absolutely NOT! Jesus is saying over and over whoever believes in me HAS eternal life and I WILL raise them up on the last day.
If you are still hanging on to the literal real presence take a look at the next verse:
Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him
Jesus not only claims his deity here but lets us know that he’s NOT speaking literally in his previous verses. The Spirit gives life; The flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of Spirit and life. (Remember John 4:24) If you’re a Roman Catholic and reading this I say this as a former Roman Catholic myself. It is my sincerest prayer you will at the very least spend some time and prayer on this. It’s Jesus that saves. Not Jesus + you that saves. God centered or man centered?
He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
How do we believe? It is God who enables us to come to Jesus. We are dead in our sins and aren’t capable of doing this ourselves.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
For even his own brothers did not believe him.
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”
We can miss this if we’re not paying attention but here you see Christ’s power on display because it says they tried to seize him but no one could touch him because his time had not yet come. This is really powerful. Many came to Christ here as well.
I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
In reference to the Pharisees whispering about him Jesus says where he will go they can’t. Where? He will explain soon. Keep in mind these are the Pharisees who are trying to seize him, and accused Jesus of being demon possessed.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”c 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Salvation cannot be lost: John explains rivers of living water. John 4:13-15
47“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”
The Pharisees are displaying their arrogance and unbelief.
Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”
Jesus repeats John 7:33
But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
Salvation is in Christ: If you do not believe in Christ you will die in your sins.
And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
If you continue(abide) in my word, then you are truly my disciples? Is this verse suggesting we have to keep our faith going in order to maintain our salvation? No. There are real and unreal disciples among us. There is true and false teachings. Not all belief is real. Jesus is speaking to the newly saved Christians that are among the NON believing Pharisees. He’s teaching them how to be strong and how to grow their faith.
Not saying. hey! “You better keep doing what I say or I’ll take this salvation away from you!!”
No. We Christians “abide in his word”(like you are when reading scripture). This will help them grow, and be stronger in their faith. As our faith grows, we can tell the difference between the false teachings, false prophets, and false teachers like the pharisees.
Abide in His Word we WILL know the truth and the truth will set us free.
Jesus affirms their slavery to sin.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38“I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
Salvation cannot be lost and is In Christ: How do we become free?? It is the Son that MAKES US FREE. Not us. The Pharisees never believed in him and were trying to kill him. Jesus says “My word has no place in you.” They never knew Christ. They never believed. And they were never saved.
But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46“Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47“He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
Jesus explains why the Pharisees can’t hear Him. Because they are not of God. They do not believe in Him who the Father has sent.
The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50“But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53“Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.
Salvation in Christ – Jesus is God: Again, the Pharisees don’t believe Jesus and accuse him of having a demon. Jesus honors the Father yet the Pharisees dishonor the Son? Why? Because they don’t believe in the Son and Father and Son are one. Jesus already told him He who continues in my word and now he tells the Pharisees: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
How do we keep his word? We believe! How do we come to believe? He calls us! Can we un-believe and lose salvation?! NO!! Why? John 6:37-40 ALL the Father gives me WILL come to Me. All that He has given me I lose NOTHING but WILL Raise him upon the last day.
Jesus is God: before Abraham was born “I AM” which was the term used in the Old Testament referring to the name of God. Don’t let anyone ever tell you “Jesus never said he was God” because this is exactly what he is saying here. Even if people choose to reject this the unbelieving Jews at the time knew EXACTLY what Jesus was saying here which is why they wanted to kill him right then and there.
Jesus Christ is not just a prophet, or just a good guy. He is God.
Don’t make Jesus out to be a liar! Continue to John 9-16 and believe!!