Monday, February 5, 2024

A Particular Sacrifice (John 10:1-30)

"… I lay down My life for the sheep …” (John 10:15).

Many people believe that Christ died for the salvation of every person who has ever lived and ever will live. Such a supposition, however, is contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. Christ Himself makes that clear when He said, “I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:15, 16). Christ did not die for the goats, He died for the sheep. His sacrifice was for a particular people, designed for the salvation of His church, and thus effective in fulfilling its purposes.

While Christ’s death is certainly sufficient for all people in value, it is not efficient, or effective, for the salvation of all people. If it were, then everyone would be saved. But because the Bible does not support universalism, and neither shall I. Not every person will be saved because the sacrifice of Christ is not designed for the salvation of every person. Jesus laid down His life for His sheep. Every single member of His flock will be saved—that is the Good News. We do not need to fear losing our salvation because Christ has promised that those for whom He died will be saved. Not one will be taken from His hand, not one that the Father has given Him will be lost; not one person whom He has prayed for will slip through His fingers.

The sacrifice of Christ is inseparably connected to His intercession. In the Old Testament, the incense, which represented the intercessory prayers of the priests, was burnt on the sacrificial alter. Whenever there is a sacrifice, there is intercession, and whenever there is intercession, there has been a sacrifice. Only those for whom the sacrifice is given will be interceded for by the High Priest. If Christ, the Great High Priest, died for you, He prays for you; and if He prays for you, you will be saved because the prayers of the Son are heard by the Father. The sheep of Christ have nothing to fear. They will not lose their salvation, and they will not remain lost forever. The Good Shepherd will seek them out and bring them home because He died for them and prays that they be kept until the day of salvation.

How do you reconcile verses that speak of Christ’s dying only for the church with those that seem to imply that He died for everyone? Study the following verses: Matthew 1:21; 26:28; John 6:35–40; 11:50–53; 17:1–11, 24–26; and John 1:9, 29; 3:16–17; Romans 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:4–6; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:1–2.