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A BEAUTIFUL STORY TWISTED OUT OF SHAPE

By Curtis Pugh

            The Lord Jesus illustrated the salvation of individual sinners saying, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost,” (Luke 15:4-6).

            The two main characters in this illustration are the lost sheep and the shepherd. The ninety-nine sheep  are incidental. Notice who does the action in this parable. It is the owner of the lost sheep that does all in rescuing his property.

            Remember the Lord Himself told us the two-fold purpose of parables. In Luke 8:10 He said, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” Parables are teaching aids to disciples, but intentionally hide the truth to spiritually dead sinners. Those people have not received a love of the truth and only twist the Scriptures “unto their own destruction,” (2 Peter 3:16).

            It is to be expected then that the vast majority of men, being lost in sin, miss the point of this parable. Or they deliberately ignore it and twist it because it does not fit in with their ideas and pet teachings. The lost sheep is not said to be looking for his owner. It is totally passive. The lost sheep does not seek its master and rightful owner. It is like a baby in the birth experience: the baby is a participant in its own birth, but it is not the cause of its birth. It is the mother who goes into labor and it is the owner of the lost sheep who does all necessary to find his lost sheep and carry it safely home. No effort, strength, or activity is mentioned on the part of the sheep.

            And so it is with the new birth. Men and women are spiritually dead in their sins (see Ephesians 2:1 & 5), and being dead do not even know they are in that awful condition. Oh they may give mental assent to the truth about themselves, but they do not know it in a spiritually profitable way. But Christ is the Good Shepherd. He seeks each lost sheep knowing exactly where each one is. He finds His lost sheep and raises it to His shoulders, as it were, and safely carries it to His home. Could anything be clearer and more Christ-honoring than to recognize that “Salvation is of the LORD,” (Jonah 2:9). Have you seen that salvation is wholly of grace? Or do you twist Christ's parable by saying that sinners must do this or that in order to be found?


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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