Coming to Christ
John 6:37, 44, 65
Holy Scriptures contain many calls from Jesus Christ to men regarding coming to Him for salvation.
Consider a few. “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28). “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37f). “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
In these texts, coming to Christ is equated with looking to Him in faith, acknowledging that no help is to be found in self, and that all that is desired is found in Him.
And we would add that at the very moment one begins to come to Christ, he has fully arrived at Christ.
Here is Christ’s doctrine on this subject in John chapter 6.
I. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me” (v.37a). Here is an unmistakable affirmation of the glorious doctrine of election to salvation. Those whom Christ calls “all the Father gives Me” are those whom the Father in grace chose in Christ to salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5).
Here also is an unmistakable affirmation of the glorious doctrine of the effectual call to salvation. Christ declares “All the Father gives Me will come to Me”. Elsewhere we read the manner in which they will be effectually called (2 Thessalonians 2:13): those whom “God from the beginning chose … for salvation” will come to Christ “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every one of God’s elect will come to Christ for salvation! None will be cast away!
II. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (v.44). Here is an unmistakable denial of the false doctrine of salvation by an act of man’s freewill. Man is completely incapable of coming to Christ of his own will.
Christ elsewhere declares, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40). In comparing these two texts, we observe that man of his own will is unable to come to Christ because he is unwilling to come to Christ.
Man is unable to come to Christ because he is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He is prevented from coming to Christ by virtue of being in “the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:2f). He is unwilling to come to Christ because, as Christ said, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:44). We are all therefore by nature “slaves of sin” (John 8:34; Romans 6:17, 20). Consequently, “There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:10). And none is either willing or able to come to Him whom he will not seek.
However, the Father in time “draws” to Christ all that He in eternity “gives” to Christ. He draws men to Christ through His gracious influence, not by forceful coercion. “Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power” (Psalm 110:3).
III. “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (v.65). Every aspect of coming to Christ is freely performed by the one coming, but graciously granted by God. God opens the heart so that it may voluntarily heed the gospel (Acts 16:14). God grants the repentance with which the heart is turned from Satan and dead works to Himself (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25f), and the faith with which the gospel is believed (Ephesians 2:8f; Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29).
This doctrine of Jesus Christ so offended His nominal disciples that they would no longer follow Him (vv.60?66). But it so blessed His true disciples that they would not depart from Him (vv.67-69). Will you receive it? Have you truly come to Christ?
– Daniel E. Parks (December 28, 2003; #508)