Sometimes runners will double-knot their laces. Doing so gives them confidence that their shoes will be secured to the end of the race. The Greek word ou mē (G3364) is a composite of two negative words: ou (G3756) meaning not, and mē (G3361) also meaning not. This compounded word significantly drives home the negative meaning, and God has given the believer several double “nots” highlighting that our eternal security is His responsibility.
First, Christ has given us eternal life and we shall never (ou mē) perish (Jn. 10:28). This means that there is a vital connection between our security and the gift of His life. When one receives a gift, that gift belongs to them. Wages are neither required to receive it or to keep it. Eternal life is a present possession for the believer and the word eternal by its very definition signifies without end. Given by His grace, God does not take back His gifts (Rom. 11:29), including eternal life which He has freely bestowed upon us (Rom. 6:23). Having a relationship with the eternal Christ (Heb. 13:5), we belong to the One Who is the source of eternal life (Jn. 14:6; 1 Jn. 1:2; 5:11-12), and Who also has the power to give that life to others (Jn. 17:2). He also keeps us by His power (1 Pet. 1:5). No one can snatch us out of His loving grasp (Jn. 10:28). The word snatch or pluck (harpázō G726) speaks of forceful, open plunder and the same Greek word is used for the rapture when we will be “caught up.” Nothing in creation has that kind of power, the kind necessary to remove us from His powerful grip.
Secondly, God will not (ou mē) impute sin to our account (Rom. 4:8; Ps. 32:1-2). In His forbearance, God saved the Old Testament saints on credit, but demonstrating His righteousness at Calvary, He judged the Holy One for their sins and ours. He showed that sin’s debt must be paid (Rom. 3:24-25). Now fully paid, He demonstrates His righteousness by forgiving all who place their trust in Christ (Rom. 3:26). Impute means to reckon or take into account. An honest accountant will enter numbers into a ledger that accurately reflect his client’s position. God will never debit our account with sin and ask us to answer for it because Christ has already paid for it. Whether a new believer or a mature one, we stand perfect in Christ (Heb. 10:14) because God has credited Christ’s righteousness to our account (Gal. 3:5-9). Sometimes believers struggle with assurance thinking that their sins prior to salvation are forgiven, but that any committed afterwards will cause them to fall from grace. Yet one must remember that Christ died for all our sins and at Calvary all our sins were still future.
God also chooses to remember our sins no more (ou mē). In Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17 the writer quotes from Jeremiah 31:34, which looks ahead to Israel’s future restoration (Zech. 12:10-14) when they will enter into the benefits of the New Covenant. At that time, God will remember their sins no more. The Old Testament sacrifices, repeated year after year, could only cover sin. They could never remove it. Therefore, there was an annual reminder of sins (Heb. 10:3). In contrast, the New Covenant is grounded upon Christ’s finished work. Suffering once for sin, His infinite sacrifice need never be repeated. In this present church age, individual Jewish and Gentile believers are experiencing the benefits of the New Covenant, its blessings acquired through Christ (Heb. 9:15).
In the Old Testament Christ is pictured in the two goats on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). After sprinkling the slain goat’s blood on the mercy seat, the High Priest confessed the people’s sins over the scapegoat that would then be discharged into the wilderness. Forsaken, the goat would never return. Similarly, Christ alone bore our sins, and shedding His blood He paid our debt. Forgiven by God, the believer’s sins have been dispatched forever, and God chooses to remember them no more.
God encouraged Joshua that His presence would never leave him (Josh. 1:5). Similarly, the Lord promises us that He will never (ou mē) leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). This promise entails more than just a passive presence. For example, two people can live in the same house but disregard one another, having little interest in each other. Conversely, Christ not only indwells us but He is also actively involved in our lives, sustaining and upholding us. He cares about us; He helps us; and He cheers us on to the finish line. His interest in our lives will never abate for He has too much invested in us – His very life. The word “forsake” means to abandon or leave down. Like the military motto that says “no soldier left behind,” Christ will not forsake us when we find ourselves helpless, defeated, or in spiritually dire straits. He will go and get that sheep that has gone astray. The Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (1 Pet. 2:25), He watches over us and will lose none that truly belong to Him (Jn. 17:12). Never getting discouraged (Isa. 42:4), He will not give up on us. Never failing, He will finish the good work that He has begun (Phil. 1:6).
Finally, Peter says the believer will not (ou mē) be put to shame (1 Pet. 2:6). Being a spiritual house, the church has a solid foundation. God has given Christ to the church: His Person, work, and doctrine. He is the Cornerstone that unites believing Jews and Gentiles into one spiritual home (Eph. 2:13-14). Received from Christ by direct revelation, the apostles laid a completed foundation (1 Cor. 3:10-11). We don’t require new revelations, for we already have Christ – God’s final one. With great care, we must be true to the faith that was once for all delivered to us. For God has entrusted us with this magnificent treasure (1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 6:20).
Christ is a trustworthy foundation; we are not deceived in placing our faith in Him. Instead our confidence in Him is well-founded. Christ is an eternal foundation; we will never be dishonored waiting on Him, for He will never disappoint us, now or in eternity. God’s church is being built upon Christ our Rock and nothing can prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). We are victors and overcomers in Christ because we do not fight for victory but from His victory (Jn. 16:33; Rom. 8:37; 1 Jn. 5:4). He will lead us on in triumph (2 Cor. 2:14), right to the finish line, where we will be presented faultless before His presence with great joy (Jude 24).