“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)
The second thing to be considered in our text is that word “My.” Our Lord does not simply call His people sheep—but He says also “My sheep.” It is as though Jesus would have us understand He looks upon them as His property; they are, as it were, stamped and sealed and marked as the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and it is a blessed, comfortable thought that even as men are careful and tender about their earthly belongings, and will not willingly allow them to be lost and damaged, so is our Lord and Savior careful of the souls that belong to Him.
But why are Christ’s people called Mine, in this particular manner? There are many sufficient reasons. We are “His” by ELECTION. We were chosen and given to Him by the Father before the foundations of the world were laid; our names were written in the covenant of salvation before we were born, we were predestined or fore-ordained to be His people from all eternity. That is a glorious, a soul-comforting doctrine, however some abuse it: a man may doubtless get to heaven and never feel sure that he was a true sheep of Christ’s flock until he gets there; he may walk in much darkness and uncertainty all his days—but to all who really feel in themselves the working of Christ’s Spirit, the doctrine that we are His by everlasting election, is full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable consolation.
But again: Christ’s people are “His “by PURCHASE. Death and hell had claims upon everyone of them, they had all broken the law and forfeited eternal life—but Christ has redeemed them. Christ paid the heavy price of their salvation, even His own most precious blood, and well may He call them “Mine,” for He has bought them off from captivity and Satan at the cost of His own life. He can say “They are Mine by fair purchase in time, as well as Mine by free election in eternity.”
And lastly, Christ’s people are “His” by ADOPTION. He has put His Spirit in them, and overturned the power of sin in their hearts. He has given them a child-like frame of mind, so that they cry Abba Father; they are become part of His family, the very sons and daughters of the Almighty; He looks upon them as a portion of Himself, as members of His body and flesh and bones, and loves them and cherishes them accordingly.
See then, beloved, what great things that little word “My “contains. “My sheep” is the name that Jesus gives to Christians. “Mine” by election, by purchase, by adoption. Oh, believe: you may sometimes be cast down and faint-hearted—but if you have any real interest in that blessed title, if you are really in the number of Christ’s sheep, you have indeed good reason to rejoice.
(Taken from The Character of the True Christian by J. C. Ryle)
[Emphasis Mine, Pictures Not Mine]
…if you are really in the number of Christ’s sheep,
you have indeed good reason to rejoice.