While the Lord Jesus was on earth, many of the people to whom he spoke refused to accept his words. In spite of overwhelming evidence that he was the Son of God, and despite the evidence seen in his miracles of grace, mercy and providence, these people refused steadfastly to believe on him.
These people could not believe because of their spiritually dead and sinful hearts. They had chosen their sins in preference to God’s righteousness. They had preferred to hide in darkness, rather than submit their lives and conduct to the light of God’s penetrating Word. Consequently, God had allowed their hearts and minds to become hardened or blinded to the truth. They could not see the truth, because—previously—they would not see the truth; i.e., they would not acknowledge the truth of God’s Word. (John 3:19-20; Rom. 1:28-32)
All Whom the Father Gives Will Come
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Even so, not everyone would remain in a state of wilful unbelief. By the sovereign grace and mercy of God, and by the work of God’s Holy Spirit, many would turn to seek the Lord. Many would call upon his name. The Father would accept every one of these, because every one of them would come through repentance and faith to his Son.
Jesus explains this by saying,
(37a) “All that the Father gives me will come to me…” (ESV)
Everyone, without exception, whom the Father has given to his Son, would come to the Son. It was utterly impossible that any one of these should fail to come to the Lord Jesus for salvation. The Father in heaven has given all these individuals to his Son, and now they were his. Therefore, the grace of God must bring them through faith unto eternal salvation. (John 10:29; 17:2,6,9,24)
In the second part of this verse, the Lord declares:
(37b) “…and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (ESV)
No one who came to Jesus need ever fear that the Lord would reject them or cast them out. Never under any circumstances, would Jesus reject anyone who came to him—i.e., in true repentance and genuine faith. The Father gave them to his Son, and the Son of God would not lose even so much as one. They would never at any time be driven away from the Son. They would never be cast out. They would be his—now, and for evermore. (Isa.1:18; Matt. 11:27-30)
Who, though, are those whom the Father has given to the Son?
Clearly, they are those whom—from eternity—God has predestined unto life. The Father has given every one of these to his Son, and every one of them will come to believe on his Son. All this is by the sovereign grace of God in redemption, and by the work of the Holy Spirit in effectual calling. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that a person can be born anew spiritually; or led from darkness to light; or from death to life or from unbelief to belief. (John 6:65; 2 Thess. 2:13-14)
Outside of Christ Jesus, all mankind without exception is presently abiding under the wrath of God. All alike therefore deserve only to face God’s just judgment. Nevertheless, out of his everlasting love, the Lord God has determined to save a vast multitude who would be known as his special and chosen people. To this end, he gave his only Son to effect their redemption and to reconcile them to God.
That anyone at all experiences this salvation is due entirely to the sovereign grace, mercy and compassion of Almighty God. It is not due to our own desire, will, effort or choosing. We choose Christ only after his Holy Spirit has drawn us, and then we believe on Christ—freely and willingly. However, we believe on him only because his Holy Spirit has called and regenerated us; thereby enabling us to exercise saving faith.
Again, we accept Christ as our Saviour and our Lord. However, we accept him as such only because the Spirit of God has revealed these truths to us through the Word. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts, convinces and converts us to God. It is the Spirit of God who constrains us to embrace the truths of the Gospel with all our hearts. (Rom. 9:16) Every aspect of our salvation, therefore, is due to the love, mercy and grace of God, and not to our own prior desires, efforts or choosing.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 ESV)
[Excerpt from Expository Notes: Gospel of John (chapter 6 verse 37). To read or download the full version of these Notes, click on the NT Commentaries menu tab above.]Follow @gordon_lyons