My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
“… (Jesus) uses a figurative expression which, like all His language, is full of deep meaning. He calls them, “My sheep.” The expression, “My sheep,” points to the close connection that exists between Christ and believers. They are His by gift from the Father, His by purchase, His by calling and choice…
Expressions like these should be carefully treasured up in the memories of true Christians. They will be found cheering and heart-strengthening in days of trial. The world may see no beauty in the ways of a godly man, and may often pour contempt on him. But he who knows that he is one of Christ’s sheep has no cause to be ashamed…
We should notice…the vast privileges which the Lord Jesus Christ bestows on true Christians. He uses words about them of singular richness and strength. “I know them. I give unto them eternal life. They shall never perish — neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” A stronger form of speech perhaps can hardly be found in the whole range of the Bible.
Christ “knows” his people with a special…interest, and affection. By the world around them they are comparatively unknown, uncared for, or despised. But they are never forgotten or overlooked by Christ.
Christ gives his people eternal life. He bestows on them freely a right and title to heaven, pardoning their many sins, and clothing them with a perfect righteousness. Money, and health, and worldly prosperity He often wisely withholds from them. But He never fails to give them grace, peace, and glory.
Christ declares that His people “shall never perish.” Weak as they are they shall all be saved. Not one of them shall be lost and cast away — not one of them shall miss heaven. If they err, they shall be brought back; if they fall, they shall be raised. The enemies of their souls may be strong and mighty, but their Savior is mightier; and none shall pluck them out of their Savior’s hands.
A promise like this deserves the closest attention … That doctrine is literally hated by worldly people. No doubt, like every other truth of Scripture, it is liable to be abused. But the words of Christ are too plain to be evaded. He has said it, and He will make it good –“My sheep shall never perish.”
… Hypocrites and false professors shall doubtless make shipwreck forever, unless they repent. But true “sheep” shall never be confounded. Christ has said it, and Christ cannot lie –“they shall never perish.”
Would we get the benefit of this glorious promise? Let us take care that we belong to Christ’s flock. Let us hear His voice and follow Him. The man who, under a real sense of sin, flees to Christ and trusts in Him, is one of those who shall never be plucked out of Christ’s hand.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, John 10)
Painting: The Highland Shepherd, Rosa Bonheur, 1859