A Divine Distinction: “My Sheep”

John 10:28

            Let men denounce it as they may, the God of the Bible does distinguish between men. He chooses some and passes by others. He redeems some and leaves others under the curse. He calls some and rejects others. He saves some and does not save others. Grace is God’s prerogative. He has mercy on whom he will have mercy (Rom. 9:16; Heb. 2:16). Our Lord clearly teaches his sovereignty in salvation in this chapter. He said to the unbelieving Jews, who refused to believe his word, “Ye are not of my sheep.” And he told them that the reason for their unbelief was the fact that they were not his sheep (v. 26). The gift of faith and all other grace is reserved for God’s elect. Catch these words and let them sink into your heart. God our Savior says of you and I who believe - These people are “My sheep.” In everlasting love, by sovereign grace, the Son of God has distinguished us from all other people, and made us to be his own sheep, his own peculiar possession. We who believe are Christ’s sheep by a distinct election, a distinct purchase, and a distinct call.

A Distinct Election

            We became his sheep by his own eternal choice. In the covenant of grace, God branded his sheep and set a hedge about them, securing their eternal salvation (v. 16). The Lord Jesus says, “I know them.” And his knowledge is the peculiar knowledge of his own elective, omniscient love. When the Son of God says, concerning his sheep, “I know them,” his meaning is - I know who they are, where they are, what they are, all that they have done and all that they have been. I know what I will make of them, when I will be gracious to them, and how to bring them home. They are my sheep, the distinct, special objects of my love and care.

A distinct purchase

            Christ laid down his life in the place of his sheep, as our Substitute, in our room and stead. He states emphatically that he did not die to redeem the goats (the reprobate), but that he specifically laid down his life for the sheep (God’s elect). Read verses 11, 15 and 26. The good Shepherd “obtained eternal redemption” for his sheep. The Son of God distinctly purchased his sheep out of the hands of God’s offended justice (Gal. 3:13).

A distinct call

“He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.” These words describe that special irresistible call that Christ issues to his sheep alone by the power of his Spirit. It is always effectual. It always accomplishes salvation. It always brings the sheep to the Shepherd. Observe the language of Inspiration. The good Shepherd calls his own sheep (v. 3). He calls his sheep by name. He leads them out - Out of darkness into light! Out of bondage into liberty! Out of death into life! They follow him - “These are they that follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth.” Then the Son of God says, concerning his called sheep, “a stranger will they not follow” (v. 5). Christ’s sheep will not follow a stranger. They know truth from error (1 John 2:20, 27). You do not find Christ’s saved sheep grazing in the goat yards of free will, works religion.

Don Fortner