In John 6:37, Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The statements are straightforward. All who the Father gives the Son will come to Jesus. What does come mean? What does give mean? The context answers our questions.
The phrase shall come to me implies believing in Jesus. In fact, Jesus makes this clear two verses earlier, saying, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Believing in Jesus is parallel to coming to Him.
So why does anyone come to Jesus? Jesus himself provides clarification in John 6:44, “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.” No man can come unless the Father draws. There must be divine drawing; otherwise, man is not willing to come. Man can come only when the Father draws.
Jesus also tells us the scope of who the Father draws “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). So, the Father’s draw impacts all men. Draw means to lead or impel to come, and specifically, the Spirit’s ministry is how the Father draws. The Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus. The Spirit testifies of the Son (John 15:26), glorifies the Son (John 16:14), and convinces people they need to believe in Jesus (John 16:8).
Yet clearly, all men do not come to Jesus. Therefore, being drawn to Jesus and coming to Him are not the same, and draw cannot mean determinism. Rather, it refers to the necessity of divine initiation. God-dependence must be a faith response to God. No one will come to Jesus without the Holy Spirit convincing them they need Jesus. This convincing work of the Spirit is how the Father draws. Jesus said of the Spirit, “And when he is come, he will reprove [convict, convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Spirit convincing of sin, righteousness, and judgment is how God draws people to Jesus. Sin is the problem, judgment is the consequence, and the answer, therefore, is the Savior—Christ alone.
Now, man is impelled to come, to respond in faith. Given that faith is not a work (Rom. 4:5), the Holy Spirit draws man to depend on God to work, to believe in Jesus to save. This drawing by the Spirit is why someone comes, but it does not make the coming/believing inevitable or automatic. As we saw earlier Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” All men experience some drawing, but not all men come to Jesus in faith.
Two verses provide distinguishing details and clarify what give means:
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And 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.
Notice that the first phrase and the last phrase of both verses are essentially the same. With this construct, Jesus gives us parallel truths that allow the middle phrase of verse 39 to be explained by the middle phrase of verse 40. Thus, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing is explained as that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.
The words every one which seeth the Son convey the Spirit illuminating and convincing, which is how the Father draws. The phrase and believeth on him explains that faith must respond to divine drawing (which is how man comes). Therefore, the Father gives the Son all who see and believe in Jesus. The Father gives all who come to Jesus by seeing (through the convincing of the Spirit) and believing on Jesus.
What a beautiful plan! Divine drawing so that all are without excuse and human coming so that no one is forced.
John Van Gelderen
Great article, the most meaningful part – “draw cannot mean determinism”.
My understanding of the Word and the working of the Spirit as well.
Well said John!
I pray that my children would respond and accept his drawing and believe in Jesus Christ,(Sin is the problem, judgment is the consequence, and the answer, therefore, is the Savior—Christ alone.) Thank you for your ministry brother!!
That’s a good way to pray!
Well stated, Believe on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31). Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). God is not willing that ANY should perish (I wish that determinism 🙂
Thank you for this exegesis. Helpful!