By A.W. Pink
From Studies in the Scriptures Publication: June, 1939
"For ye were as sheep going astray, are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25). How distinctly this shows that those sinners who trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation were already His sheep, when as yet they had not been brought to know their need of the great salvation accomplished for them by their "Good Shepherd." "Ye are now returned unto the Shepherd": how distinctly this shows the sure results of grace, through the quickening work of the Holy Spirit. As the result of that work, the Lord Jesus possesses the chief attraction for them. "My sheep hear My voice. . .and they follow Me." They now seek no other place of refuge, no other Guide but Himself. They may possess but little comfort. They have but a very faint assurance of their interest in His love. Great may be the depths of inbred evil over which they have to mourn; yet withal they can truly say that their eyes are toward Him and the desire of their hearts is after Him. The sure evidence this, that His eyes were previously towards them, and His desire first after them, and that His voice has effectually called them to Himself.
"Them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice." How emphatic! How certain is the Shepherd's language! How complete are the arrangements of the Everlasting Covenant! How irresistible are the workings of sovereign electing grace! So is it always. He begins the work in the soul of His beloved; and it is He who carries on that work unto the end. Both the beginning and the end shall evermore be to the glory of His matchless, free, and unmerited grace.--Thomas Moore.
There are two points in the above quotation, most blessed and important, yet little understood today, which perhaps call for a brief amplification. First, the fact that those who savingly believe in Christ are His "sheep" before ever they turn unto Him, for it is to be duly noted that 1 Peter 2:25 is not treating of the recovery of backslidden Christians, but of their first coming to the Saviour. As our Lord so plainly declared, "Other sheep I have (not "shall have") . . . them also I must bring" (John 10:16). They belonged to Him from all eternity. They were His by the Father's election and by His gift of them to His Son. But, it may be objected, these sheep are said to "return" to Christ, so they must previously have been in the fold. The answer is simple: Christ's sheep went astray from Him when they fell in Adam, their natural head, and consequently they were born in sin.
Second, the voice of the verb. It is not "ye have returned unto the Shepherd," but "are now returned." This denotes they were completely passive therein. The work of regeneration is entirely Divine, and nothing of man enters into it. It is wrought in us, and not done by us. The active follows the passive, as the results of life follow the bestowment of life. Our coming to Christ is the consequence of His having drawn us. It is a sovereign act of Divine power which brings us from death unto life, in which we are completely passive.--A.W.P.