Sometimes it is asserted that John 6:37-65 teach irresistible grace and that God only desires some to be saved; hence, only those whom God has chosen are saved, and the others will all perish. I think it is important we understand exactly what is being said by Jesus in these verses. A brief overview and some conclusions will be drawn. Jesus secures the salvation of those who believe in him.
John says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” So we see that every member of the set of those who are given to God also come to God the Son. Further, every member of the set of those who come is saved. Therefore, every member of the set of those who are given also comes and is saved.
John 6:39 says, “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.” To be thorough we should point out every member of the set of those given are also raised up at the last day (an allusion to the final resurrection and judgment at the end of the world as understood by first-century Judaism). Because all of the members who are given also come, and all who come are also saved, then all who come and all who are saved will also be raised up at the last day. Remember this, as we will be coming back to it.
John says, “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.” Calvinists typically use this verse to show that those who are drawn are raised up at the last day. Is that correct? It seems not. First, as one will recall, v. 39 seems to indicate it is those who are given, and hence those who come and are saved, who are raised up. Second, it is noteworthy that the Greek word for “all,” παν, is not utilized. This is because this verse is not meant to teach all who are drawn are saved, but all who are drawn and come are saved.
In case one is not convinced consider the following example: suppose the state of
passed a law that says, “No one can have a driver’s license unless they pass the driver’s test and are at least 16 years of age.” No one would conclude that all those who are 16 are guaranteed to pass the driver’s test and hence receive a license. It is only those people who fulfill the conjunction of both conditions who receive the benefit. Similarly, it is only those who are drawn and come who are saved. It is simply reading into the text something that is not there to say “all who are drawn are saved.” It may ultimately be true that all those who are drawn are saved (which I do not believe), but this is not the text that shows it. Florida
John 6:65 says, “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” This is in complete accord with v. 44. How? Since all who come are saved, and all who come are given, it follows there are no saved who are not given. Who are the given? This text does not specify; what it does teach is that the Pharisees (v. 41) and some of Christ’s followers (vs. 60, 66) were not given. Why? Because of their unbelief (v. 64)!
It is a theological leap not present or justified by the text to say those who are drawn ultimately come to Christ. While the “saved flow chart” would look like this: savedàcomeàgivenàdrawn, and while the number of the saved, come, and given are identical, no logical or textual maneuvering results in the number of the drawn being identical to the number of the first three groups. What can we learn about the saved from this passage? It seems John 6 actually intended us to learn more about the unsaved. Let us stick with that for now.
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