“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 hand.” – John 10:27-29

 

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) was one of the most prolific writers of hymns the world has ever known. During her long life she penned more than 8,000 hymns and Christian songs. More than 100 million copies have been printed, and by the end of the 19th century her name was known to nearly everyone. The amazing thing about her is that she became totally blind shortly after her birth. One of her hymns, Blessed Assurance, penned in 1873, became one of the most popular hymns among United Methodists. Here are the lyrics to the first and third stanzas:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of his spirit, washed in his blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Understand that the only people who can truly sing this hymn, and know that it applies to them, are those who have heard the voice of Jesus and chosen to follow him. What does it mean to hear the voice of Jesus? This is difficult to explain. It’s similar to explaining the wind to someone who has never felt the wind. Don’t think audible. Think silently, in one’s heart. The first time a person hears His voice is when He says, “Come to me all who will!” Or, one may hear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” Typically this calling is heard when reading the Bible, a devotional or listening to a preacher on the radio or television. One may even hear His still small voice when looking at the wonder of creation. When you hear his voice speaking to your heart, you will know it. Personally, as a young boy, I heard Jesus calling me to follow him through my mother, Mary Wells, my pastor, Kenneth Sexton, and Billy Graham. I also heard his voice as I read the Bible and several Christian books as a young teenager.

Hearing his voice for the first time and responding in faith is always accompanied by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s indwelling presence is of eternal importance and significance. Without His presence, salvation is not possible. Paul declares this in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” This is a very important warning. Therefore, examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). Once a person is indwelt by the Spirit of God, He will confirm His presence, and this gives assurance of salvation. Romans 8:15-16 state, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Once indwelt by the Spirit, He makes His presence known. You will hear Him say, “You belong to me. Now God is your heavenly Father.”

Once you know all of this, then you can sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” Once you belong to Him, your relationship with God can never be severed. You are His son or daughter forever. He is now your heavenly Abba (Daddy). You have been purchased by God. You are an heir of salvation. You’ve been born of His Spirit and washed in His blood. And those the Father has given to the son, “No one can snatch them out of His hand.” Hallelujah! What blessed assurance.