How Does God “Give” People To Jesus (John 6)?

A favorite chapter sometimes used in an attempt to prove John Calvin’s Unconditional Election theory is John 6, verse 37a (“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me”) and 65 (“no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”). But whatever else we might say about those two texts, they both state there is a condition to election/salvation – a sinner must “come” to Jesus.

So just how does God give people to Jesus? If we notice the similarity of our phrase “no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” to a phrase in verse 44 of the same chapter “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” we see that the way God gives people to Jesus is by drawing them. And how does God draw them? The very next verse says “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Verse 45 therefore shows how the Father draws people – thru teaching, hearing, and learning (Rom 10:17, 1:16), not by force. Notice again from John 12:32 (“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”) that Jesus draws not by force but by motivation, for example, the thankfulness of knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross. It can’t be by force, because John 12:32 states God draws ALL men, but we know from other passages that not all will be drawn successfully (saved).

It is the same as how God gives repentance (Acts 11:18b); Rom 2:4 says God “leadeth thee to repentance”; it is not done by force. It is also the same as how God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), through means – working a job to earn a living. The Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8), but it also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34). How can both of those facts be true? The answer?: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through means, not against his will by force. And neither is the John 6 “coming” forced/unconditional. John 5:40 proves that – “But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.” (NKJV).

The fact that God gives people to Jesus can’t prove salvation is unconditional as the Calvinists assert. That would contradict John 17:12 (“… those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition …”) which illustrates that some God gives will ultimately be lost.

Keep in mind there exists what is generally referred to as God’s successful call, but also a call of God that is not necessarily successful. Let me illustrate with the following two sentences: “Everybody I called came to dinner” and “Some I called didn’t answer, so they were left out.” The former sentence refers to a successful call (the call was completed on both sides), while the latter refers to a call that is not necessarily successful (the call may not have been completed). It is the same with God’s call: Rom 8:30 (“and whom He called, them He also justified”) refers to God’s successful/accepted call, while passages like Prov 1:24 (“Because I have called, and ye refused”) and Matt 22:14 (“many are called, but few are chosen”) refer to God’s call before it is accepted or rejected. John 6:37 obviously refers to the accepted call (completed on both sides) of those with an honest and good heart (Luke 8:15). Even then, verse 66 shows that many called by Jesus at that time ultimately rejected Him.

Conclusion: The John 6 election is clearly conditioned upon belief – verses 35, 40, 47.


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