“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” … It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 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. 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. I and the Father are one.”
What a sovereign, all-powerful Savior and God who doesn’t just make salvation possible, where a person’s eternal destiny hinges on sinfulness and frailty (inherent within man), but He makes salvation actual in those the Father has given Him to purchase with His blood, His chosen one’s, His sheep! What a wondrous thought this is indeed, that God pursues any sinner at all, despite the sinner, His choice to act mercifully in this way being based only on His free, sovereign love that He dispenses as He sees fit. Why did He choose me and not another? I was in no way more deserving than any other person; I am a sinner of sinners, to be despised! The reason He chose me is based solely on His eternal counsel with Himself (and with no other) that I simply cannot fathom. I can boast in no action on my part, that I in any way contributed anything to the price of my salvation (that is to say that I do not even boast in my faith as my contribution in salvation), but I boast only in the cross of Christ, where He purchased my pardon and everything necessary to bring me to Himself. How can I boast in the fact that I have faith and another doesn’t? Is this not itself a gift and blessing of the cross, given to me by grace (grace = receiving something you do not deserve)? Why did He choose this sinner? All I can answer to these things is that my salvation is all of grace, from beginning to end … to which I fall on my face before the LORD with tears of joy inexpressible, praising the God of grace, that He not only rescued me from eternal death in the just fires and torments of God’s wrath, but even better, He reconciled me to Himself! He is my sovereign joy, the Great Satisfier, my great King from all eternity! Who compares with the great God, Yahweh, who from eternity past always saw His sheep as being reconciled through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ!? There is no other worthy of such praise and glory … And the LORD doesn’t just give His sheep salvation and leave them to fend for themselves in this life, but He keeps them and holds them by the power of His word through the Spirit, with cords of heavenly love inwardly bestowed, in order that they will follow Him. Soli Deo Gloria!