Saturday, May 18, 2013

Drawn by the Father

Some try to escape the clear teaching of particular election unto eternal life in John 6 by means of various convoluted distinctions. But an examination of the text in its context, and in the light of the rest of Scripture, demonstrates that the Arminian cannot escape this word of God:

"But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Here Christ equates "believing" in Him with "coming" to Him. He does not mean locational displacement - but to come spiritually by believing. His message is therefore: You believe not, but all that the Father gives me will come (believe), therefore you were not given to me by the Father.

And this is confirmed by His words in John 10: "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Here he says likewise: Your unbelief demonstrates that you are not my sheep, since my sheep hear me and follow me and cannot be plucked out of my hand.

It is also confirmed in that Christ says "this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." So all who "come" to Christ will not be cast out, and in verse 44: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." He clarifies again that all who "come" to him (which are only those whom the Father draws) will be raised up at the last day.

So all who "come" are the same as all those who "believe" since to "come" to Christ is to "believe" in Him, and since all these who believe have eternal life, just as all who come have eternal life. And should anyone ask if there are some who do not believe or do not come who have eternal life, John 3:36 shows that only those who believe have eternal life. But more directly, this cannot be the case, since Christ's argument here would then be pointless. His entire argument hinges on the fact that those who do not come do not have eternal life.

He is explaining that they do not come/believe because they are not given to him by the Father and are not drawn by Him.

Another place this is proven is John 8: "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."

Here Christ proves to them that their spiritual father is not God, but the devil, on the basis that they cannot receive his teaching. The reason they do not believe him, is because he is telling them the truth about God. Therefore they are not of God, because those who are of God hear/receive/believe God's words. It is those who are of the devil who cannot receive the truth, whose native language is lies.

This is also corroborated by II Thess. 2: "...they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The plain meaning here is that there are those who do not receive the love of the truth (and so are not saved). For this cause God sends them strong delusions with the purpose that they believe a lie so that all those who do not believe the truth are damned. In contrast to this are those whom the Apostle must give thanks to God (since it is all of God's grace, not at all of their ability) for those who were chosen from the beginning to believe the truth and be sanctified by the Spirit and so be saved. And this is the salvation which we have been called to by the gospel. Just as Romans 8:28ff teaches concerning those who are thus called, that they are all those whom God foreknew, and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, and justified, and glorified. No others were glorified, justified, called, predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, or foreknown by God.

This is why Christ will say to the wicked reprobate on the last day, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:23). Clearly this is the knowledge of a loving relationship therefore. Not a clinical knowledge of certain actions or decisions, but a loving knowledge of particular people, since those who are not saved, according to Romans 8 are not foreknown by God.

Finally the objection that a man can resist being drawn by the Father is useless, since no doubt the fish resisted being dragged in the net, but when the disciples were with Christ, the net did not break. The question is whether one can effectually resist. Since all who are drawn by the Father are raised up at the last day, are those who come/believe and who are given eternal life, therefore our sinful nature which always opposes the work of the Spirit cannot defeat Almighty God, who renews our will, giving us a new nature, so that we love Him freely from the new heart that He gives us. As Christ said: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

If you can show where I have misunderstood all these texts, please do so. But if you find that you are fighting against the truth of God's Word, then please restrain yourself - because those who stumble at the word and oppose Christ in disobedience will find themselves smashed into pieces by Him. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." - I Pet. 2.

I might add: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Cor. 2:12-14)

Also the objection based on the use of "draw" in John 12 is futile. Immediately preceding this teaching is recorded: "And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus."

The clear meaning which does not contradict the rest of Scripture therefore is that Christ is referring to the whole world of every tongue, tribe, and nation when He uses the phrase "all men". He means that the benefits of His atonement are for all men, including these Greeks, not just the Jews. His atonement will bear "much fruit". He does not mean every single person, but all men without distinction. The same chapter records: "The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him." - Clearly the Pharisees did not mean by "world" every single person, since for example, they themselves had not gone after him, nor had the Chinese.

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