This is Part 2 of a two-part series on Christ as our Good Shepherd. If you haven’t read it yet, check out last week’s post — “The Good Shepherd, Part 1: How Christ Finds and Saves the One Who is Lost.”
“3 So he [Jesus] told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?”” Luke 15:3-4
For a moment, let’s consider the single lost sheep in Jesus’ parable. It’s in grave danger.
Sheep are creatures that live in community — in a flock. The shepherd and the flock provide protection from predators, including wolves, coyotes, and bears.
A sheep that wanders from its flock faces certain death.
A frightening question remains for Christians. As sheep who are swayed by the desires of our sinful flesh, is it possible to wander outside of the care of our Shepherd, Christ, and into the snares of the Devil?
For The Believer in Christ, The Answer to This Frightening Question is “No”.
It is not possible for a believer in Christ to wander outside of the Shepherd’s care or to lose his or her salvation.
God completes the work of salvation in the lives of His chosen children, and He [Christ] preserves it for eternity by laying down His life for the sheep.
Let’s study Scripture to see how God saves us and preserves our salvation.
God Completes His Work of Salvation in the Lives of His Chosen Children
A believer is one whom God has awakened to His grace, whom God has caused to believe in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, and to whom God has given His Holy Spirit. We are His chosen children.
Notice that it is God who completes this work in the life of each believer. Our salvation isn’t secured by our own merits — for we have none! Let’s consider the way God speaks of His saving work in Jeremiah thirty-one:
“33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33-34
Praise God! He has written His law on our hearts, and He has enabled us to know Him and be saved. This outpouring of grace culminates in our being forgiven — “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34).
It doesn’t stop there. In addition to securing our salvation, Christ secures our continued faithfulness and our perseverance as His saints. The LORD says in Jeremiah thirty-two “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” (Jeremiah 32:40).
He has changed our hearts so that we may revere Him, and so that we may not turn from Him. He is the only one who is worthy of our praise, and He will not give His glory to another.
What a gracious God we serve! It is good and just for God to ensure that believers don’t worship false idols. By His grace, He gives us a new heart with affections for Him, and He saves us as a people for Himself (Jeremiah 31:33) and for His glory.
Take heart, Christian, for once the Good Shepherd saves us and forgives us; He is faithful to keep us. Therefore, it is not possible for a believer to lose his or her salvation. Jesus Christ has secured this promise with His life.
Christ Lays Down His Life for the Sheep
Christ says in the Gospel of John, “14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).
Christ lays down His life for the sheep! We have no need to fear the security of our salvation. It is complete in Christ.
When Christ gave His life on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself and experienced the fullness of God’s wrath toward our unrighteousness. When He died and rose again to new life, He secured our forgiveness, giving us new life in Him.
Let us dwell upon these beautiful truths. We are merely lost sheep; but Christ, the Good Shepherd, has condescended to save us and keep us for Himself.
LORD, we pray that you would implant your truth in our hearts. Thank you for saving us and keeping us. Help us now to worship you with genuine affections and glorify you in our lives.
“27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29