A spiritual instinct!
(adapted from J.C. Ryle)
His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. John 10:4-5
Our Lord describes Christians as sheep who are able to distinguish between the voice of their own true Shepherd and that of a stranger. They follow the true shepherds voice, but flee from that of the stranger.
These words teach us that true believers have a spiritual instinct, which enables them to distinguish between true and false teaching. When they hear unsound religious instruction, there is something within them that says, “This is wrong!” When they hear the real truth as it is in Jesus, there is something in their hearts which responds, “This is right!” The careless man of the world may see no difference whatever between minister and minister, sermon and sermon. The poorest sheep of Christ, as a general rule, will “distinguish things that differ,” though he may sometimes be unable to explain why.
Let us rather pray that daily we may be kept from the influence of false shepherds. To lose all power of distinguishing between bitter and sweet, is one of the worst symptoms of bodily disease. In the same way, tobe unable to see any difference between the gospel and the law, truth and error, the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of man, is a sure proof that we are yet dead in heart, and need conversion!