Every believer has been given to Jesus Christ by God the Father. In the Church Age the believer becomes part the “body” of Christ (the universal church) and will be the “Bride of Christ” in the future. It is this act that secures forever the believer’s eternal life and assures us that we can never lose our salvation. The believers are said to be the sheep and Christ is the shepherd. In other words, God the Father has given the Son a “flock”. (John 10:1-39)
Jehovah (Jesus Christ) is the one shepherding the believer. (John 10:11) Sheep are totally helpless if left alone. They cannot guide themselves - we are guided under the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13-14) Sheep cannot clean themselves - we are cleansed by the Holy Spirit when we acknowledge our sins. (I John 1:9) If sheep are injured, they are helpless without the shepherd - the believer is helpless without the Chief Shepherd. (God is a very present help in time of trouble. Psalms 9:9; 46:1) Sheep are defenseless - we are defenseless without protection from God (John 14:27) Sheep cannot find food or water alone - the Holy Spirit leads us to spiritual food and water (the Word of God). (John 14:26) Sheep are easily frightened - Bible doctrine circulating in our souls calms us. (John 14:16-17) Sheep produce wool that belongs to the shepherd - all that we have belongs to our Shepherd. (John 15:4-5) God always provides life support and blessing to every believer. (I Corinthians 6:1; II Timothy 2:1; II Peter 5:12) The corrected translation of Psalms 23:1 is, “Jehovah is the one shepherding me, I cannot lack for anything.”
Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, Who gives His life for the sheep. (Positional Sanctification - John 10:9-11) Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd, Who is risen from the dead. (Experiential Sanctification - Hebrews 13:20-21) Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd, Who is coming in glory. (Ultimate Sanctification - I Peter 5:4)
Psalms 23:2 speaks of a relaxed mental attitude as a result of Bible doctrine resident in the soul. Rest and tranquility of soul come through the utilization of the Faith-Rest Drill (claiming the promises of God by faith). The corrected translation of Psalms 23:2 is, “He causes me to have a relaxed mental attitude, He leads me to His Word for spiritual food which refreshes my soul.”
In Psalms 23:3 the Hebrew word for restores is “Shuh” and means, “to turn back or return to the Lord”. When the sin nature is in control of the soul, the believer is commanded to turn back to the Lord. The source of temptation to sin is the sin nature, but human volition is the source of all personal sin. Temptation is not a sin, but succumbing to the temptation is a sin. There are two categories of personal sins: sins of cognizance and sins of ignorance. The believer is responsible for both categories of sin.
There are also two categories of temptation: temptation to sin and temptation to evil. Sin is any thought, motivation or action that violates the laws of God. Evil is a series of sins following a pattern of arrogance, which leads to rebellion against God (it can be legalism or lasciviousness).
After the soul of the believer is restored to fellowship, he is mandated to keep moving toward spiritual maturity. (I John 1:9; Matthew 6:33) The translation of Psalms 23:3 is, “He restores my soul to fellowship with Him and leads me in the ways of righteousness which glorifies His name.”
“Yea” in Psalms 23:4 means in addition to verses 1-3. Even in the “death-shadowed valley” the advancing believer can have the capacity for dying as a result of capacity for living. Capacity for living develops capacity for dying. (I Corinthians 15:55-57) The Bible says, “Perfect peace drives out fear”, which is a result of proper execution of your spiritual life. (I John 4:18) Evil in this passage refers to wrath, disease, adversity, disaster, etc. When God is allowed to control your life in every circumstance, you will fear nothing that man can do to you. (I Peter 1:3-9: Psalms 56:3-4)
The rod represents divine discipline to keep us on
track. The staff represents
protection and guidance in the devil’s world. The corrected translation of Psalms 23:4 is, “In addition to this, when I walk
through a death-shadowed valley, I cannot fear wrath, disease, adversity or
disaster because Jesus Christ is with me, His rod of discipline keeps me on
track and His staff of protection and guidance comforts me.”
As Christ’s “flock”, it is important to remember that all three members of the Godhead are intimately involved in our daily lives. Our understanding of the Trinity (or Godhead) affects our understanding of Christology, the doctrine of the person and work of Christ. It also affects our understanding of Pneumatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, our power source. Understanding the Godhead and the role of each member is essential to a believer’s ability to live the Christian Way of Life. (Psalms 110:1; John 10:30)
The Trinity DOES NOT mean that there are “three gods in one”. The Trinity DOES mean that there is “one God existing as three persons”. Each person of the Trinity is co-equal, co-eternal and co-infinite and possesses the same nature. Each person of the Trinity is a separate person who possesses the same attributes individually. Each person of the Trinity has a distinct purpose that is related to God’s eternal plan. For example, the Father is the planner and source of all things, the Son is the executor of the Father’s plan and the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the plan to mankind and the power for him to execute it. (Matthew 28:19)
The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible; it is a technical, theological word to describe the Godhead. It is a concept unique to Christianity and is established in both the Old and the New Testaments. Even the Hebrew word for God (Elohim) in Genesis 1:1 is a plural noun used with a singular verb asserting that all persons of the Trinity took part in Creation. In Genesis 1:26-27 we see the phrase “Let us make man in our image…” indicating the Trinity. (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2)
All three members of the Godhead possess identical attributes. These attributes are Sovereignty, Righteousness, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Veracity, Immutability, Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience.
When a believer understands who God is, by learning about His attributes and perfect character, he can begin to build a stable foundation of inner happiness and peace. This foundation, based on God’s character, will sustain the believer in adversity and in prosperity. Relying upon God’s character results in good decisions and actions regardless of life’s circumstances.
It must be remembered that God’s attributes work in harmony. For example, Righteousness and Justice work in harmony with Love in answer to “How can a loving God send someone to hell?” God’s righteousness and justice demand a penalty for man’s sin and God’s love provides the payment – Jesus Christ. Once the salvation solution is accepted, God’s other attributes become operational in the life of the believer. (John 3:18)
Every believer is in union with Jesus Christ and He is in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are also in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13) The last union is that of all believers of the Church Age. We are members of the “universal church.” When we refer to the Church we are often referring to all believers in this age, not simply the local church. Therefore, we are all members of Christ’s “flock.”
God’s Word, on a number of occasions, commands the Church (the flock) to have unity. This is especially important in the local church setting. Division in the local church was common even in the early church. It did not take believers very long to begin causing divisions within the local church.
The proper function of the local church depends on unity among the members. Every believer receives a spiritual gift at salvation and God commands us all to use that gift (or gifts) within the local church. Failure to do so, or desiring the spiritual gifts of others, causes the church to malfunction. No gift is of more importance than the other and no person is of more importance than the next. Only by working together in unity can the local church fulfill its responsibility to win the lost, teach Bible doctrine and support missionaries.
God gave us to His Son as a gift and His Son gives us eternal life and all the necessities for this life. He also sends the Holy Spirit as our mentor, our guide and our source of power as we function in the devil’s world. By following our Shepherd and functioning together as a body, God can be glorified in the life of believers in the local church.