The Good Shepherd

In John 10 we learn that Jesus is the good shepherd who proclaims His sheep are eternally secure in God the Father’s hand.  By human standards, a shepherd that attempts to protect his sheep from most threats is labeled as a “good” shepherd. But Christ, in obedience to God’s standards, showed Himself to be the ultimate good shepherd by laying down His life for His sheep. Just as a flock of sheep will know and follow their shepherd’s voice, we too can trust in the voice of our good Shepherd when He says no one is able to snatch us from the Father’s hand.  Our salvation is secured and protected by Jesus. God’s gift of eternal security through Christ allows us to be rest assured that our past, present, and future sins are covered by Jesus’s death and resurrection. Our salvation is sealed, never to be lost, and by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us we can trust that, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

The gift of eternal security is a gift of freedom from condemnation so that we can live fully in Christ. We don’t have to fear what the future may hold, or what others may do, think, or say about us. This gift is an everlasting relationship that is to be cherished. We never again are truly alone or lost, for He will never leave us nor forsake us.   Jesus is the good Shepherd who leads out in front of His sheep, a voice of assurance calling His sheep to follow. He does not shepherd His sheep from a position of reluctant obligation, requiring the sheep to encounter and muddle their way through the unknown without His guidance.  Instead, He calls His sheep to follow the path that He has established for them, to learn to listen and trust the sound of His voice because He loves them deeply.

But there is another voice attempting to call the sheep as well. Our great enemy calls with accusations, doubt, fear, and lies. How does the enemy try to rob you of the joy of your eternal security? Does he try to have you dwell on sin in yourself? Or do you dwell on sin in others, struggling to forgive even when God has already applied it to the cross? Or does the enemy try more subtle tactics, whispering all the ways you would be more contented if you weren’t giving your time in service to the Lord?  Is the enemy muddling the concept of eternal security with the idea that you are free to do whatever you want?

When we look up the definition of freedom it reads as follows: “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”  For those who live in Christ, having the gift of eternal security does not mean living to please ourselves- driven by our own wants or desires or what the culture says happens to be right for the times.  A life fully lived in Christ knows the sweet joy of  belonging to and following the good Shepherd because we don’t have to constantly search for acceptance from the things of this world.  And when we happen to stray from our good Shepherd, we soon realize that freedom without Christ is not freedom at all, and we once again turn to listen for His voice.

In this life we may struggle on this road of sanctification, but how sweet to know the destination will never change.  The unconditional love of God will be ever before us, encouraging us to stay the course, to equip us with the ability to grow in our faith, to love and care for those He entrusts to us, and to live abundantly knowing we will never be lost to Him. How is He calling you today? Take heart in whatever He may be leading you in and earnestly listen for His voice, for His grace is sufficient for you, and His power is made perfect in weakness.