‘They shall never perish.’ There is a way of explaining away everything, I suppose, but I really do not know how the opponents of the perseverance of God’s saints will get over this text. They may do with it as they will, but I shall still believe what I find here, that I shall never perish if I am one of Christ’s people. If I perish, then Christ will not have kept his promise; but I know he must abide faithful to his word. ‘He is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.’ Every soul that rests on the atoning sacrifice is safe, and safe for ever; ‘they shall never perish.’
Then comes the third sentence, in which we have a position guaranteed—‘in Christ’s hand.’ It is to be in a place of honour: we are the ring he wears on his finger. It is a place of love: ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.’ It is a place of power: his right hand encloses all his people. It is a place of property: Christ holds his people; ‘all the saints are in thy hand.’ It is a place of discretion: we are yielded up to Christ, and Christ wields a discretionary government over us. It is a place of guidance, a place of protection: as sheep are said to be in the hand of the shepherd, so are we in the hand of Christ. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, to be used by him, as jewels in the hand of the bride to be her ornament, so are we in the hand of Christ.
For meditation: If our trust in him is genuine, the Lord Jesus Christ has promised that we will never thirst (John 4:14), never hunger (John 6:35) and never taste death (John 8:51–52; 11:26), in other words that we will never perish. However, there will be no protection for those whose faith is not genuine; on the Day of Judgement he will say to them ‘I never knew you: depart from me,’ despite all that they claim to have done in his name (Matthew 7:21–23). Which kind of ‘never’ applies to you?