Updated: May 30
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The 'thief', the devil, comes with intentions of destruction. Jesus, in stark contrast, comes to redeem and give abundant life. Here is one interesting observation I discovered when studying this scripture in John: I found that in this verse, looking at several different translations, the word 'but' is not used to join the 2 sentences. Often we use the term 'but God’ in the church, as if to say something bad has happened, ‘but God’ will work it for good. I understand the heart behind this phrase, and it is true that God in His grace and mercy shows favor to His kids and works all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), but I believe specifically here that John 10:10 is clearly stating that in no way is there any relation whatsoever between the former sentence, the will of the enemy, and the latter, the will of God. There cannot be anything that even remotely ties the two together. Put simply, a comma and the word ‘but’ would continue the sentence on, rather than ending one sentence and then moving on to the next. Therefore, a period between the two, or a semicolon, are the only forms of punctuation that are appropriate and rightly divide the will of the devil and the will of God. We need to be very careful to observe the drastic difference between these two. Attribute to God what God’s Word has revealed to us about His character. Don’t attribute things that are clearly shown to be the will of the enemy to God. It’s fairly simple math, actually.
Regardless of your take on punctuation, in a Christians life, the only sentence that speaks to God’s will, in any situation, is the latter one in this verse. It is truly a ‘Life sentence’. God promises, because of what Jesus has done, or because ‘It is finished’, a final state of redemption leading to life, even though the will of the enemy is to steal, kill, and destroy. We can be confident that through Jesus’ complete redemptive work on the cross, God’s Will has overcome the enemy’s will, for His glory and our benefit. We can be confident that God’s ‘Life sentence’ for those who have been freed (John 8:36) propels us forward to victory, even when defeat knocks at our door. Time and time again, God’s Word reveals to us that His purposes are redemptive in our lives. He who lives inside of us is greater (1 John 4:4), and we are more than conquerers in Him (Romans 8:37). Therefore, let us stop paying so much attention to the death sentence and believe, and live in faith, the ‘Life sentence’ that Jesus has already claimed for us. There is no comparison between the two, period.
Also See: Psalm 103:4, Ephesians 1:7, Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Hebrews 9:12