Article 12

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What we Believe







"For Whom Did Christ Die?"

"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (Jn. 10:11).

The gospel of God’s Son is loved by all who find themselves in need of actual redemption from sin. These love the gospel because it speaks of the One and only person who actually has redeemed. For whom did Christ die? This question is far more important than a mere "what we believe." It goes to the heart of "who we believe." Our Lord Himself warned of imposter christs and false prophets (Matt. 24:4-5, 11). Paul the Apostle warned of another Jesus whom he did not preach (II Cor. 11:4) and false apostles who masquerade as apostles of Christ (II Cor. 11:13-15). John the Apostle warned that "MANY false prophets are gone out into the world" (I Jn. 4:4) and some bring not the doctrine of Christ (II Jn. 9).

Our Lord clearly declared that He giveth His life for the sheep. His purpose was to die for the sheep; He calleth His own sheep by name, and leads them out; He must bring the sheep, even the other sheep who are not Jews but Gentiles; and all the sheep, Jew and Gentile, are being brought into one fold with Christ as their one Shepherd. Others were clearly told they were NOT OF CHRIST’S sheep, and this is why they believed not (Jn. 10:26). To say Christ gave His life for those who were not of His sheep is not only going beyond Christ’s words but it makes His life, death and resurrection to be a vain and useless act for them for they were not sheep. Christ’s coming was to give them (the sheep) life, and that life will be abundant (Jn. 10:10).

The gospel of Christ cannot be a message of universal redemption made possible for all men if they will believe, but only those who would actually believe can benefit from it. This is the same as saying Christ came to make it possible for all to be saved if they would actually allow themselves to be saved by it, but since all will not Christ is fortunate that at least some would. This is not the same message our Lord declared in John 10. This is not the same Jesus who spoke in John 10 of the absolute salvation of the sheep. This is not the same Jesus who did die FOR HIS SHEEP. The sheep do not become sheep by believing but they believe because they are sheep. The "other sheep" of verse 16 were already Christ’s personal possession, but they were as yet to be brought, as yet to hear, and as yet to be in the one fold with one Shepherd. But also, Christ MUST bring, and they SHALL hear, and there SHALL BE one fold and one Shepherd.

Many wish to interpret this as Christ meaning merely that He foreknew what they (those who would believe but had not yet actually believed) would do. While this is in no way consistent with the exegesis of our Lord’s words in John 10, if a person even admits it is mere foreknowledge of their deeds, rather than foreknowledge of the people themselves, that person has already admitted that Christ came to die for and save only SOME! Some of all kinds, thus all the sheep, and not all of all kinds intended but only some in actuality, is the purpose of God in Christ. Moreover, Christ’s foreknowledge of the sheep (the elect) themselves is taught here. He knew beforehand what they would do (believe, follow, etc.) because of what He would do for them. While God knows beforehand what all men will do He FOREKNOWS only His people (Rom. 8:28-30; 11:1-6).

The world God loves (Jn. 3:16) is some out of all kinds of mankind. But God clearly does not love all of all kinds of mankind (Rom. 9:13). Christ’s death was for no less than those God loves (I Jn. 4:9-10, 14) and no where does the scripture teach it was for more than God loves. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (or, that all who believe -- and not in any way for all who would not believe) in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). A god who loves all without exception, enough to send and give (unto death) his son, but does not love them enough to give them belief that they perish not has only partial love, partial redemption from sin, and is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Some suggest that free will is so important that God leaves it up to men to accept or reject redemption He provided for them, thus, free will is more important to God than the person and their eternal destiny. Such as this will perish with their supposed "free will," for their free will is nothing more than rebellious man’s self will which refuses to bow down to the Christ of God! But glory to God the sheep will bow down in faith and shall follow God’s Christ while the rest follow themselves, an imposter christ, and the false prophets of our day. The only true and living God, and His Son whom He sent, is able to save His people, even from themselves! Glory to God there is a GOOD Shepherd; and glory to God He has made me, in His eternal purpose, a sheep of His pasture for who He died.

How can we know we are one of His sheep? Can you hear Christ’s voice? Will you flee from the voice of strangers? Do you know the good Shepherd? Do you follow Him? If you do, or even if you now will, then rest in Christ’s promise: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn. 6:37). He is the Christ who can be trusted that He has given His life for the sheep, and He has taken His life up again. Because He lives we shall live also!

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