THE NUMBER OF GOD’S ELECT OR SHEEP IS FIXED! NO ‘NEW SHEEP’ ARE ADDED IN TIME WHICH WERE NOT ALREADY HIS SHEEP IN ETERNITY.
“God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass … By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto life, and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite it cannot be either increased or diminished”.
What that simply means is that the Great Shepherd (Christ) does not take on any ‘new sheep’ into His fold in time, for there are none!
All the sheep that Christ owns in time He owned from eternity. No one ‘becomes’ a sheep in time and joins Christ’s fold. Those who join His fold in time were always a part of His flock from eternity, but in the wisdom of God were lost through the fall. All that the Great Shepherd does is seek and save that which originally belonged to Him by divine decree!
One of the important facts which many miss out when studying the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son is that in all three cases the ‘seekers’ sought for that which was ALREADY THEIRS! [Luke 15:4-32]
The Shepherd HAD a hundred sheep, and the woman HAD ten coins and the father was looking out and patiently waiting, not for a stranger but for HIS OWN SON!
God’s elect do not start out as goats and later become sheep by accepting Jesus! The sheep are sheep from ETERNITY! They are KNOWN and loved by the Father from BEFORE TIME BEGAN!
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN!” [2Tim 1:9]
God does not say I will search for GOATS and make them My sheep, but rather I will search for MY SHEEP!
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both SEARCH MY SHEEP, and seek them out.
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I SEEK OUT MY SHEEP, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day!” [Ezk 34;11,12]
In the mind of God, the elect are viewed as His children from ETERNITY. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”! [1Cor 12:3] And God sends the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His Elect BECAUSE he views them as His children.
“And BECAUSE YE ARE SONS, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father”. [Gal 4:6]
The Elect are said to be the object of the Father’s love! As to WHEN this love ‘originated’ in the heart of God, the Scripture leaves us with no doubts when it declares – “Yea, I have loved thee with AN EVERLASTING LOVE: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”. [Jer 31:3]. This love had no beginning and is eternal as Jehovah Himself! One of the greatest comforts for the tried child of God!
The Master declared that the elect BELONGED TO THE FATHER long before they came to the Son! “Thine they WERE, and Thou gavest them Me”! [John 17:6] This should be said of all the elect, not just the Apostles.
Notice, “And other sheep I HAVE, which are not of this fold: THEM ALSO I must bring, and they SHALL hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd!” [John 10:16]
“Other sheep, I HAVE” not “WILL HAVE . . . if they accept me!” Note the definitive grammar – “they SHALL hear My voice” not “they may or may not hear” but “SHALL HEAR!”
In fact the prophecy concerning the Atonement was – “For the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He stricken”! [Isaiah 53:8] And in fact this alone should settle once and for all whether Christ died for the whole world or only for the Elect! . . . “I lay down My life FOR THE SHEEP”! [John 10:15]
Christ shed His blood and laid down His life for HIS SHEEP who were lost in Adam through the fall!
“This said Caiaphas not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one THE CHILDREN OF GOD THAT WERE SCATTERED ABROAD!” [John 11:51,52]
The ‘Children of God scattered abroad’ are NOT GOATS who transform into sheep by accepting Christ, but SHEEP who hear HIS voice and follow! [John 10:27] Though at that time they were “scattered abroad,” nevertheless, they Spirit denominates them as “the children of God”!
Those who cannot hear Christ’s voice speaking through the gospel are NOT HIS SHEEP, BUT GOATS!
Christ’s sheep hear His voice because they ‘BELONG TO THE TRUTH’!!
Please read once again and ponder the Master’s words to Pilate . . . “Every one that is OF THE TRUTH heareth My voice”! [John 18:37]
i.e. Everyone who ‘BELONGS TO THE TRUTH’!
Those who are ‘OF GOD’, ‘BELONG TO GOD’ or are ‘GOD’S SHEEP’ hear our words and believe them no matter how harsh or ‘unacceptable’ it may be!
“He that is OF GOD heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, BECAUSE ye are not of God!” [John 8:47]
When the Master preached some harsh truths, ALL the GOATS LEFT HIM AND WALKED WITH HIM NO MORE!
But the sheep stayed back saying – “To whom shall WE go? THOU hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God!” [John 6:68,69]
Oh what an unspeakable blessing to be one of His sheep whom He came to save. And because we are His sheep we can confidently affirm – “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want”! And because we are one of His sheep, ‘goodness and mercy shall follow us ALL the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’! [Psalm 23]
Thank you Jesus! Praise the Lord!
(posted from the train I’m riding on to my hometown. It’s midnight here and I can’t sleep. So I thought I’d post this)