The Good Shepherd giveth His Life for the Sheep.

John 10:11


The Son of God laid down his life and died for those people who are specifically designated his sheep (John 10:15, 11, 26). The objects of redemption, those for whom Christ laid down his life as a ransom price, are described as "sheep". They are the sheep of Christ, his special property as the Good Shepherd. As such, they were given to him by his Father from eternity. These sheep are represented as being everlastingly distinct from others who are not his sheep. The whole human race is divided into two groups: sheep and goats. Sheep never become goats; and goats never become sheep. All of us are one or the other, either sheep or goats. Some of the sheep are saved. Some are lost. But all are safe. They are “his sheep.” Some are folded. Some are straying. But all are redeemed. They are “his sheep.”      The Word of God tells us certain, specific things about these sheep, things which distinguish the sheep from the goats.


Known by Christ

The sheep are known by Christ. He says, "I know my sheep," but not merely by his omniscience. In that sense he knows all men. The Lord Jesus knows his sheep distinctly as his own in a way that he does not know those who are not his sheep (Matthew 7:23). The Lord knows them that are his from others. That is just another way of saying, Christ loves his sheep. He has knowledge of them, joined with special love and affection for them; as he has not for others, to whom he will say, “Depart from me: I never knew you.”


Know Christ

The sheep know the Shepherd, too. (John 10:4). Christ is "known" by those sheep of his for whom he laid down his life. They all know him in his person, offices, and grace. Whereas there are many who neither know the Father nor the Son. The sheep know the voice of Christ; that is, the gospel of Christ, the joyful sound. Whereas the gospel is hid to them that are lost:


Called and Follow

Those sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down his life, once they are called, hearing his voice, “follow” the Shepherd who died for them (John 10:27). They follow his Word, his steps, his example, and his Spirit. They imitate him in the exercise of grace, love, patience, and humility and in the performance of every duty (Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, etc.). It is written, regarding all the redeemed from among men, that they "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Revelation 14:4).


Never Perish

The sheep, being ransomed by the blood of Christ, “shall never perish” (John 10:28). The goats, set on Christ's left hand, he shall command to go, as cursed ones, into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:33-34). The sheep shall be blessed forever. They are forgiven of all sin forever. They are perfectly justified from all things, from which they could never be justified by the law. They are perfectly holy, righteous before God, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them in free justification and imparted to them in the new creation. The sheep of Christ have that blessed “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” They are sanctified unto the Lord, by the purpose of God, the blood of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are sealed, kept, and preserved in grace and life in Christ forever!









Don Fortner



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