All That the Father Gives Will Come

“Not now. I’ll come to Christ at some later point in my life.” That kind of postponing is dangerous, not only because we don’t know how much time we will have, but also because it underestimates how hard our hearts can become. Even in Christian circles the idea is common that coming to Christ is my decision, the result of my will. Jesus tells you differently in John 6:36-40.

In a compact passage, Jesus tells you that all that the Father has given him will come to him. The Father’s giving in verse 37 is parallel to verse 44, the Father’s giving involves drawing people to Christ. And Jesus is explicit: no one comes to him unless the Father draws him. Jesus undercuts any grounds for pride your decision to come to him! I have heard an evangelist say, “God has done all he can, now it’s up to you.” But a god who is limited by my choice is a very small god.

While it is true that the Father has chosen his people from eternity, John’s focus here is on something the Father does in time: he gives you to his Son. He takes those who are hell-bent and turns them in the opposite direction. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is a wonderful example. If you have come to Christ, be humbled and joyful, for the Father has drawn you there. John Murray comments on this passage in John, “If any person has that child-like faith in Christ whereby Christ is made wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, whereby he is made precious as all in all, be assured that God the Father took delight in you and took delight in causing raptures of joy to spring up in the breast of his own Son. The Father presented you to Christ in the effectual donation of his grace. And take no credit or glory to yourself.”

Not only does the Father give, but you as a sinner, come to Christ. Jesus does not say that you are brought or carried, but that you come. The Father makes you able and willing to come (as he made the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 come alive), but you are the one who comes. It is not that you might come, but you will come, if the Father gives you to the Son.

When the Father gives, the Son receives. “I will not drive him away,” expresses negatively the assurance that all that the Father gives the Son will receive. He describes it as doing his Father’s will. Understand the cost of the Son doing that. His receiving you required his suffering and death. Think about that as you are tempted to sin.

Rejoice in the assurance of which Jesus speaks. All those that are given to him, all that come to him, he will raise up. He will lose none of them.

Do you see how this changes the way that you look at your salvation? It is not first of all a matter of your deciding how and when you will exercise your will and come to Christ. Rather, your salvation is part of a wonderful, joyful, sacrificial giving and receiving taking place among the persons of the Trinity. Grasp that joy and live as someone who is the Father’s gift to the Son.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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