SHEEP AND THE GOATS
Arminian ‘soul-winners’ always ask us, “If you believe in Election and Predestination etc, HOW can you preach to all men and win ‘the lost’?
We answer, the Master said go ye and preach to ‘every creature’! So we do! Whether that creature is a sheep or a goat or in some cases a wolf or a pig, we know not!
But this we are convinced of, that His Sheep WILL hear His voice through our preaching and follow! [John 10:27]
A sheep CANNOT become a goat and neither can a goat become a sheep!
THEY’RE BORN THAT WAY!
He that hath ears to ear let hear!
NO MAN will thirst for Christ unless he is one of God’s sheep! Jesus said unto the unbelieving Jews – “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life”. And He tells them why – “But ye believe not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP”! [John 5:40 & 10:26]
“The Lord did not say “Ye are not of My sheep because ye believe not,” but, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep.” Man always turns the things of God upside down. When he comes to something in the Word which is peculiarly distasteful, instead of meekly submitting to it and receiving it in simple faith because God says it, he resorts to every imaginable device to make it mean something else.
Here Christ is not only charging these Jews with unbelief, but He also explains WHY faith had not been granted to them — they were not “of His sheep”: they were not among the favored number of God’s elect.
So when WE go forth and preach, we preach not with a confidence in either our eloquence or convincing skills, but in the Word of the Lord Jesus who said – “Everyone that is OF THE TRUTH heareth My voice”! [John 18:37] i.e. EVERYONE who BELONGS TO THE TRUTH, who are the sheep!
These ‘sheep’ and only these will hear, understand, repent and believe!
The rest can only hear, despise, wonder and perish! [Acts 13:41] For they are goats to whom it is not divinely and sovereignly ‘given’ to believe! [Mark 4:11,12]
These sheep are the same ones spoken of in Acts 13:48. There we read – “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed”!
Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”
Here we learn four things:
First, that believing is the consequence AND NOT THE CAUSE of God’s decree.
Second, that a LIMITED NUMBER only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as are a meaningless qualification.
Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to SALVATION ITSELF.
Fourth, that ALL—”as many as,” NOT ONE LESS—who are thus ordained by God to eternal life WILL most certainly believe.
The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he –
“Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed’, and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man.
Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He—in every case—dispose them? Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to PURPOSE to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today—and, since He changes not—from eternity.”