Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 26, 2019

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 10:11-18.

“I am the good shepherd;  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;  and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold;  I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice;  and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This commandment I received from My Father.”  John 10:11-18.

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Other doctrine focuses on man and what man does for God.  It would paraphrase today’s leading verse to be:  “I am the good sheep;  the good sheep lives his life for the shepherd.”

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and what God does for man.  It understands how helpless man is (very much like sheep).  It understands today’s leading verse to be what God does for man, specifically what was accomplished by Christ laying down His life for the sheep.

Moreover, a shepherd does not lay down his life for other sheep (those sheep he does not own).  Rather, a shepherd only lays down his life for his own sheep, his own flock of which he is the owner.  “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.”  Verses 12-13.  Likewise, Reformed Doctrine understands that Christ did not die for everybody, but Christ only died for God’s people, His elect, His own sheep, so to speak.

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

“I am the good shepherd;  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”  Verse 11.


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