John 10:25-28 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
“You do not believe because you are not of my sheep.”
Listen very carefully to what the Lord says. He does not say, “You are not my sheep because you do not believe.” It’s the other way around: “You do not believe because you are not of my sheep.” Something must happen to you before you believe which gives you the willingness to follow the Shepherd.
From the standpoint of eternity there are really only two kinds of people: the sheep of Jesus, and those who are not his sheep. And, though it is true that his sheep always come to believe on him, it is not adequate to define the sheep simply as those who believe. For Jesus clearly taught that one must be his sheep in order to believe. Being his sheep is why one does believe. Therefore, there is more to being a sheep than the human act of believing.
People are sheep because God acts. God chooses them and works in them the transformation of heart which inclines them to love what Jesus loves. He takes out their heart of stone and puts in a soft heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19); he breaks their pride and gives them a lowly and contrite openness to God-exalting, human-abasing truth. It is no accident that they are called sheep: they are not wise in themselves; they need a shepherd to save them and guide them. When that transformation happens, then they will believe. Then Jesus will appear for what he really is, precious as their all-sufficient hope.