It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.” (John 6:45-46)
Jesus held a high view of the Old Testament Scriptures. He did not reject the Old Testament but rather viewed it as foundational truth to all that He said and would accomplish. This would prove to also be the perspective of the apostles as God used them to write the New Testament Scriptures.
Jesus’s provocative statement in John 6:37-44 was not based just upon His own authority, but rather also upon the authority of the Old Testament. In today’s text, Jesus refers not only to the crowd, but also readers today, to Isaiah 54:13. It says, “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
Jesus used this Old Testament text to not only illustrate, but also to biblically support, the doctrine of God’s drawing sinners to Christ by His sovereign calling. Those who come to Christ are those who the Father has taught and therefore who come to Christ for their salvation. It is cause and effect. As one pastor comments, “The “drawing” and “learning” are just different aspects of God’s sovereign direction in the person’s life. Those taught by God to grasp the truth are also drawn by God the Father to embrace the Son.
John Calvin comments: “As to the kind of drawing, it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant. It is a false and profane assertion, therefore, that none are drawn but those who are willing to be drawn, as if man made himself obedient to God by his own efforts; for the willingness with which men follow God is what they already have from himself, who has formed their hearts to obey him.”
Let us be clear by making two observations based upon yesterday’s blog and today’s. First, God’s drawing sinners to faith in Christ is not based upon the sinner’s willingness to be drawn. All sinners, prior to their conversion, are dead in the trespasses and sins and do not desire Christ or want to come to Him (Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-3). Second, God does not force sinners to do something they do not want to do when He draws them to Christ. It is not true that God saves sinners kicking and screaming against their will. Rather, God changes the sinner’s will and the disposition of their heart from a heart of stone to one of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
I really like what Dr. R. C. Sproul has to say about these verses. “It is important to note that God makes us willing to believe. Although faith is His gift to His elect and must be granted to us if we are to believe, we still must believe. There is no fatalism in biblical Christianity that says it does not matter what we do if God has chosen us for salvation. We must exercise faith, and the only people who exercise faith are those whom God has chosen. This necessity of our believing in Christ is stressed throughout John 6, particularly in today’s passage. Verse 47 tells us that whoever believes has eternal life, with the necessary implication that whoever does not believe does not have eternal life. Further, to be taught and led by the Father who grants eternal life is to believe in the Son (vv. 45–46). Those who do not believe in the Son as He has revealed Himself are not taught or led by God.”
Thank God today for drawing you and giving you as a gift to the Son. If you are not a believer in Christ, or know someone who is not, begin praying that God will begin to draw them to Christ for their salvation and for His glory.
Soli deo Gloria!