Article 4

Home Directions

Contact Info

What we Believe







"The Good Shepherd"

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

In this chapter the Lord Jesus Christ uses a shepherd and his sheep to illustrate His Lordship over and His saving of the elect of God. He is Lord over the redemption of sinners and there is no redemption apart from Him. Christ as the dying shepherd of the sheep (He who knows His sheep by name, He who calls them out by name, He who giveth His life for them, He who gives them eternal life, He whom the sheep follow) is not one who tried to redeem sinners but did redeem sinners.

There will always be, until the final day, false christs and false prophets on this earth. It is the GOOD shepherd who died and cares for the people of God, not the hireling (vv. 12,13). There are many hireling saviors promoted by many strangers in our day. Religion promotes a Jesus who died for all men and would give eternal life to all if they would let him, but he is one who is forced to actually save very few compared to all he wanted to save. Those who are not sheep follow after these false ways, and they will not believe the Good Shepherd (vs. 26). The sheep, on the other hand, will follow the Good Shepherd when they hear His voice, and all the sheep will hear His voice (vv. 3-5,16). It is clear that all men are not the sheep (elect) of God, and it is also equally clear that Christ came for the purpose of dying for the sheep. The words of our Lord in this chapter, when speaking of the saving of men, is both sure and absolute. None will perish for whom Christ died, for He died as "...the good shepherd who giveth his life for the sheep."

Why is it that men and women, and yes, even boys and girls, so dogmatically reject the sure redemption of the elect by Christ? There are several reasons but all flow from a single source. The source of all rejection of the truth is the flesh or the fallen nature of man. It is impossible for the natural man to receive any spiritual truth (I Cor. 2:14). He cannot but reject the truth for his judgement is twisted, his affections are set on himself, his heart is desperately wicked, his will is bound by his perverted heart, and his mind is at enmity with the God to whom all glory is due. The natural man can choose nothing outside of that nature with which he was born. He may choose to follow after a god of his own making, but he will not love and believe the only true God and the Son whom He sent. This is true of even the elect of God by nature (Eph. 2:1-3). It takes the quickening power of God's Spirit, who gives a new nature in regeneration which can love and believe, before the elect will even follow Christ. Being one of the sheep is not a place for one's boasting in themself. The sheep (elect) are sheep (elect) even at birth. This is true because our Lord spoke of them as sheep even before they had been gathered to Him as Shepherd (vv. 3,16). But in birth they are no different personally from all who are not sheep, for even the sheep, before they are called by name, they can be found gathered to the hireling and caught by the wolf and scattered (vs. 12). We are sheep in the purpose of God before we are given a following sheep's nature. We begin as lost sheep; by grace we become following sheep.

Because of man's fallen nature he is opposed to the truth of his own spiritual inability and worthlessness, and he is opposed the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Being opposed to these the natural man exhalts his own thoughts and desires and rejects the sovereign right of the God of heaven to do as He pleases. Nevertheless, God still does as He pleases and this excites the natural man the more to either try and refute the existence of God or imagine his own kind of god. Since many natural men are brought up under the sound of holy scripture they receive certain historical facts from the scriptures, but they twist these facts into doctrines equal to their own thoughts and desires. Since a man's thoughts and desires are motivated by a spirit of pride and covetousness he makes for himself a Jesus who is honored for how many he died for rather than for how many he actually saves compared to how many he desired to save. Their Jesus is not held accountable for the blame is shifted to man and his authority to override the very thoughts and desires of God, thus men's thoughts and desires are exhalted over God's. This is a rejection of our Lord's own words that He came to save the sheep and He is responsible for this salvation of the sheep (vs. 16). Every goat, if I may put it this way, is responsible for his own state and destiny; but the state and destiny of the sheep, as a sheep by purpose, by a new nature, and in actually following Christ rests in the hands of the Son according to this chapter.

God's purpose for, yea even His "commandment" to the Son was, that He die for and then live for the sheep, and they all "must" be gathered together unto Christ by Christ (vv. 15-18) and can never perish (vv. 27-30). Any sheep who is not brought to this would have Christ to blame. The glory of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is that He is responsible for the salvation of the people of God, which responsibility He carried out in death and unto which He even now lives to execute its fruition in all things! The sheep do willingly and knowingly follow Christ, but they do so being brought to it by the Lord Himself. It is not, Christ was responsible for dying for the sheep and then the sheep are responsible for following Christ. Those who are sheep in God's purpose follow Christ because they are freely given a following sheep's nature, and they are responsible to give God all the glory, praise, and honor (I Cor. 1:26-31).

The hireling Jesus of religion may seem to be very compassionate and loving, but this is in part only, for he loves men enough to give his life for them, and live for them, but not enough to override their desires and freely give them the desire to follow him, have eternal life, and never perish. Such a one exists only in the perverted minds of men. Any who want that kind of shepherd, they can have him, but I am in need of The Good Shepherd. I am in need of one who loved me enough to take my place and suffer on the accursed tree for my sins that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. But I am also in need of one who loves me enough to disregard any autonomy I might think I have and bring me by His authority and power to follow Him.

It is odd that many, who now looking back on their younger years, they speak well of parents or siblings who loved them enough to even force, as it were, the right way upon them concerning certain necessities of life, but they reject even the hint of that concerning God and their eternal destiny. I would rather, by the loving, caring, tender hand of God in giving me a a new nature which wills to believe and follow Christ, be forced to go contrary to my old will and reject myself and bow to the authority of Christ than for God to leave me to myself to make my own way through this world and into the one to come. What a blessed God of grace indeed is He who loved me so greatly that He considers my eternal good over my temporal desires. Such a God as this we have in Christ the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Back to top