I) [Jn 10:22-26]:

(v. 22) "Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,

(v. 23) and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade.

(v. 24) The Jews gathered around Him saying, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If your are the Christ [Messiah], tell us plainly.'

(v. 25) Jesus answered, 'I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father's name speak for Me,

(v. 26) but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

Notice that verse 26 indicates that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ being their Messiah (unto eternal life is implied) are then classified as not being the sheep of our Lord. So whether or not an individual accepts Jesus Christ as their Messiah by faith alone in Him alone is in view and not whether one has a life style which is obedient to Him, as some maintain.

II) [Jn 10:27]:

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me."

The concept of following our Lord can signify a simple act of trusting in Him or an actual physical movement from one place to another. The language permits that. Due to the context and clearer passages on the matter the latter is ruled out in favor of 'following' signifying a simple moment of faith alone in Christ alone.

So in verse 27, when our Lord indicates that His sheep listen to His voice, He knows them and they follow Him, the passage has not done a contradictory turn around, changing the context to obedience in lifestyle rather than faith in Christ as Savior. The interpretation of verse 27 is one of an image of becoming one of His sheep by listening to and then following Him via a simple act of faith as opposed to the Jews who did not follow Him by believing, (vv. 25-26).

Verse 27 thus must be picturing a simple act of listening and believing in Christ as Savior because of what is in view in the context of this passage, (faith, not an obedient lifestyle, vv. 25-26), and by other clear passages on salvation which stipulate faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life:

A) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [salvation] is not of yourselves [ruling out the following in obedience of actions concept], it is the gift of God

(v. 9) not by works [ruling out obedience of lifestyle again] so that no one can boast."

If an obedient lifestyle were indeed required, one might ask why our Lord did not explain this to the crowd and His disciples when He had the chance:

B) [Compare Jn 6:27-29]:

(v. 27) "[Jesus said] 'Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'

(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this [to gain eternal life]: to believe in the One He has sent."

C) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [salvation] is not of yourselves [ruling out the following in obedience of actions concept], it is the gift of God

(v. 9) not by works [ruling out obedience of lifestyle again] so that no one can boast."

(Compare Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31b, 1 Jn 5:9-13).

[Bob Wilkin states, (Grace In Focus Newsletter, April, 1990 issue, ‘Is Following Christ a Condition of Eternal Life? John 10:27-30'):


"What, then, did Jesus mean when He spoke of His sheep following Him? When He said that His sheep follow Him, Jesus did not mean that all believers always live godly, obedient lives. Nor did He mean that all believers live fairly good lives much of the time. He wasn't talking about lifestyle issues at all.

The reference to following Him, like the reference to sheep, is a figure of speech. He was not talking about literal sheep which physically follow a literal shepherd. Instead He was illustrating salvation by picturing Himself as the Good Shepherd and believers as His sheep. Following Him is a figure of speech which signifies our response of believing in Him. This is evident from the preceding context. In verse 26 Jesus rebuked His Jewish audience for their unbelief: "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you." His very next words were "My sheep hear My voice and ... follow Me." The unbelief of His Jewish audience is set in contrast to His sheep following (i.e., believing in) Him.

The picture of sheep hearing their shepherd's voice and following him is a picture of childlike faith. In his book The Gospel Under Siege Zane Hodges says concerning that illustration, "That is to say, they [the sheep] commit their safety and well-being to the Shepherd who has summoned them to do so" (p. 44). He goes on to say that this is clearly an act of faith, not discipleship.

Hodges points out two other points which further prove that the figure refers to faith in Christ: the sequence of the coordinate clauses and the analogy of John 5:24.


"The verses in question have five clauses [in the Greek] joined by the word and" [=Gr., 'kai']:

[27 "My sheep listen to my voice;

and I know them,

and they follow me.

28 and I give them eternal life,

and they shall never perish;

and no one can snatch them out of my hand"]

[Hodges, cont.]:

"A definite progression is evident. The sequence of the clauses shows that 'following Him' is the condition--not the consequence--of eternal life. Jesus did not say, 'I give them eternal life and they follow Me.' Instead He said, 'They follow Me and I give them eternal life.' Since faith in Christ is the sole condition of salvation in Scripture and in John's Gospel, 'following Him' must be a figure for faith in Christ.

In addition, John 5:24 is parallel to John 10:27-28."

D) [Compare Jn 5:24]:

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life"

[Hodges, cont.]:

"Both [verses: Jn 5:24 & 10:27] refer to hearing, believing, the giving of eternal life, the guarantee against eternal judgment, and the promise of the permanence of the relationship. The only difference between the two verses is that in John 10:27 believing is expressed by means of the figure of sheep following a shepherd."

III) [Jn 10:28-30]:

(v. 28) "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand'

[And As a result of this act of faith, they were given eternal life, (v. 28) and are eternally secure - no one can snatch them out of the Lord's hands]

(v. 29) My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand.

[Furthermore, no one can snatch them out of the Father's hands]

(v. 30) I and the Father are one."

[Wilkin, cont.]:

"Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life to all who believe in Him. We are in good hands with Christ. No one can pluck us out of His hands. He has such a good grip on us that we couldn't get out if we wanted to. It is a done deal. Regeneration is permanent. There is no undoing the new birth. Once we come to trust in Christ alone as the One who paid the full and complete payment for all our sins, we have eternal life. We will never perish.

The love of Christ constrains us to serve Him. Gratitude is a powerful motivator. Oh, how I long to please Him who freely gave me the greatest gift I will ever receive--eternal life."