The Good Shepherd Laid Down His Life For His Sheep, Not For Goats


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
(John 10:27-29 KJV)

Pastor Don Fortner

The Son of God laid down his life and died for those people who are specifically designated his sheep (John 10:15, 11, 26). The objects of redemption, those for whom Christ laid down his life a ransom price, are described as “sheep”. They are the sheep of Christ, his special property as the Good Shepherd. As such, they were given to him by his Father from eternity. These sheep are represented as being everlastingly distinct from others, who are not his sheep.

The whole human race is divided into two groups: sheep and goats. Sheep never become goats. And goats never become sheep. All of us are one or the other, either sheep or goats. Some of the sheep are saved. Some are lost. But all are safe. They are his sheep! Some are folded. Some are straying. But all are redeemed. They are his sheep!

The Word of God tells us certain, specific things about these sheep, things which distinguish the sheep from the goats.

They are known by Christ. He says, “I know my sheep”, not merely by his omniscience. In that sense he knows all men. But he knows his sheep distinctly as his own, in a way that he does not know those who are not his sheep (Matt. 7:23). The Lord knows them that are his from others. That is just another way of saying, Christ loves his sheep.He has knowledge of them, joined with special love and affection for them; as he has not for others, to whom he will say, “Depart from me: I know you not”.

The sheep know the Shepherd, too. (John 10:4). Christ is “known” by those sheep of his for whom he laid down his life. They all know him in his person, offices, and grace. Whereas there are many who neither know the Father nor the Son. The sheep know the voice of Christ; that is, the gospel of Christ, the joyful sound. Whereas the gospel is hid to them that are lost:

Those sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down his life, once they are called, hearing his voice, “follow” the Shepherd who died for them (John 10:27).They follow his Word, his steps, his example, and his Spirit. They imitate him in the exercise of grace, love, patience, and humility and in the performance of every duty (Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, etc.). It is written, regarding all the redeemed from among men; that they “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Rev. 14:4).

The sheep, being ransomed by the blood of Christ, “shall never perish” (John 10:28). The goats, set on Christ’s left hand, he shall command to go, as cursed ones into everlasting fire (Matt. 25:33,34). The sheep shall be blessed forever! They are forgiven of all sin forever. They are perfectly justified from all things, from which they could never be justified by the law. They are perfectly holy, righteous before God, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. The sheep of Christ have that blessed “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). They are sanctified unto the Lord, by the purpose of God, the blood of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are sealed, kept, and preserved in grace and life in Christ forever!


GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #446



Pastor Don Fortner

Grace Baptist Church of Danville

          2734 Old Stanford Road

Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438

2 thoughts on “The Good Shepherd Laid Down His Life For His Sheep, Not For Goats

  1. God Saves Sinners and Christ is a Redeemer who really does redeem. I mean really redeem completely as the Sovereign Lord. The redeeming word of Christ had as its end and goal the salvation of the elect. Only the sheep and not the goats.

    “The Reformer will not say that God’s saving purpose in the death of His Son was a mere ineffectual wish, depending for its fulfillment on man’s willingness to believe, so that for all God could do Christ might have died and none been save at all. Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers, a mere possibility of salvation for any who might possibly believe, but a real salvation for His own chosen people. His precious blood really does ‘save us all’; The intended effects of His self-offering do in fact follow, just because the Cross was what it was. Its saving power is such that faith flows from it. The Cross secured the full salvation of all for whom Christ died. This is not a peculiarity of Reform theology and the divines of Dort, but a part of the revealed truth of God, and the catholic Christian faith. This is just the Biblical gospel.” JI Packer. John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, p.10.

    “I do not think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the Cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called.” Spurgeons’s Autobiography, Vol. 1. Ch. 16, p. 172.

    “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” Gal. 6:14.

    It is safe to say that no comparable exposition of the word of redemption as planned and executed by the Triune Jehovah has ever been done since Owen published “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. None has been needed, “he exhausted it.” “Life of John Owen,” p.38.

    Nico Engelbrecht


  2. Pingback: The Doctrine of Limited Atonement | Hillside

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