No man can come except the Father draws him, John 6:44?

drag 2No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44)

If there are Bible verses that mention conditions for salvation and other verses that do not, then it is not fair to ignore the verses with conditions. John. 6:40 clarifies which conditions that apply for being raised up and that is that we SEE and BELIEVE. We must have these conditions in mind when we proceed to v. 44 above. Verses should never be read in a vacuum, separated from the information before and after.

Only those who come to God are raised up (not those who do not choose to come) and those who are drawn can (dynamai) come, but not necessarily do come. Other verses in the Bible show that ALL men are given enough light to believe in God, and in the rest of John 6 we can read that the conditions for salvation are that we BELIEVE, COME, SEE, REPENT, EAT HIS BREAD, etc. We can also read that Jesus draws ALL men elsewhere in the book of John:

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will DRAW ALL MEN unto me.

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.—11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name:

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Ask yourself if you truly believe that our Lord prevents people from coming to him and believing in him, and if he also sends people to eternal hell for not believing in him. If God truly wants people to seek him and believe in him, why would be cause so many unfortunate people to be “non-elect” from the creation of the world and cause them to be damned before they are even born? Would it not be better to read John 6 in context in order to not end up with a position where God walks hand in hand with the devil?

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Jesus asks his disciples to not labor for meat which can perish but for meat which lasts for ever, indicating that there was a risk for that his disciples would select the wrong kind of meat. This shows man’s free will and the need for warnings. Moreover, God is not doing the laboring for them. The text does not say that God does the work of causing man’s believing. When the disciples ask what the work is that God wants them to do Jesus does not answer “You can do NOTHING, since God does everything for you and salvation is all of God”, but he explains what they must do which is that ye believe on him whom he hath sent“. The Greek makes it clear that the work of God is TO BELIEVE. Thus, Jesus is specifically answering that in order for one to do the work of God, one must believe.

We can also read that Jesus, the bread of life, has given life unto the WORLD and not just a select few. We can read the  conditions for never being hungry/thirsty, and that is that we must COME and BELIEVE, and that is in Greek continuous tense:

John 6:33For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and GIVETH LIFE UNTO THE WORLD. —35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: HE THAT COMETH to me shall never hunger; and he that BELIEVETH on me shall never thirst. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

We are assured that if we choose to COME to him, we will not be cast out. The question is of course if we will choose to come and also if we will choose to STAY. I believe God the Father knows who will be the ones who will endure to the end, and those are likely the ones that he “gives” to Jesus. Jesus must have known that his death would be beneficial for those who choose to accept his offer and believe in him. If they endure to the end they will be in the final edition of the book of life and they will be the ones coming to God as per his foreknowledge. We can read that Jesus knew that some indeed would refuse to believe. He said:

John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not”. FOR JESUS KNEW FROM THE BEGINNING WHO THEY WERE THAT BELIEVED NOT,  and who should betray him.

John 6:39 below is usually more popular to quote than the verse right after which is John 6:40 since the “inconvenient” CONDITIONS for salvation are listed in v.40 which explains v.39 in more detail:

6:39And 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.

6:40And 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.

“this is the will of Him who sent me, that every one who IS BEHOLDING the Son, and IS BELIEVING in him, may have life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day.” (Young’s Literal Translation).

The conditions for salvation are thus that we SEE the son and BELIEVE in him, just like the requirements for the Israelites in Exodus to walk up to the brazen serpent to behold it in order to be cleansed. They were not dragged to the serpent and forced to behold it! THEY themselves had to do it. It’s also the Father’s WILL that no one shall perish. Does anyone perish? Yes, so this means God’s will is not even always done.

I have learned that the purpose of the subjunctive mood (as in “should lose nothing”) is usually to imply some uncertainty and “generally represents the verbal action as uncertain but probable”. “I should raise him up at the last day” is a statement of intent or purpose. The Father’s desire is that Jesus would eventually raise up all who saw him and believed on him. These verses do not state what absolutely will occur. Another example can be found in John 1:6-7

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

The context indicates that God’s intent for sending John was so that all through him might believe”. Yet, not all did believe but actually only a minority did, and “all” here could not mean only the elect because we read “That was the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world (v. 8-9).

Right after v. 44 we can read that those who come are those who have HEARD and LEARNED of the Father. It is up to us to listen carefully to the gospel message and seek wisdom. Two persons can listen to the same message, and yet one might choose to close his ears and the other one might take what he hears into his heart:hearken4

6:45It 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.— 47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. –51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of THE WORLD.53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54WHOSO eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Learning, eating, drinking, believing, seeing and coming are things WE must do. God is not going to do this for us but he has promised to not cast us out if we do accept to learn from him and come to him. We can read that “WHOSO eateth” shall be saved. That is an offer to all, and we already know that Jesus died for the WORLD. Naturally we are also free to leave if we are free to come, and we are not promised that God will prevent us from sinning ever again. We must take all the context into consideration and not just select exactly those verses where the conditions are not listed and ignore those verses where they ARE listed. All men are taught, but it is only those who go on to hear and learn who come/are drawn.

John. 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever

Note the conditions again: 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. God is not going to eat and drink for us. 

John. 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

6:70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Here we can read that “chosen” ones does not equate to being saved. People can be chosen for a service and they can also reject their task either from the start or later on. Israel was once chosen, and of course not all Israel is saved.

Gal 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon REMOVED FROM HIM that CALLED YOU into the grace of Christ.

Compare the above with the parable about the King who made a marriage banquet for his son in Matt. 22  

People who were on the guest list still chose to decline the invitation, and yet others who were randomly invited instead of them accepted to come (and they all took on wedding clothes apart from a certain fellow who was thrown out despite his arrival), and the latter were called CHOSEN due to their own wise decision to show up at the wedding

Matt 22: 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.   8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  —12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14For many are called, but few are chosen.

Here are a couple of other examples of that God’s will does not always happen. Paul recognized that some Christians could reject the “will of God,” and that God’s will for them could be thwarted by their disobedience despite the convicting power of the Holy Spirit:

1 Thess. 4:3-8 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit

1 Tim. 2:For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance

Acts. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Eph. 6:Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart

Hebr. 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise

1 Peter 4:1Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind

In summary

A resistible drawing agrees with John 3 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up”, i.e., so that whosoever believeth i him should not perish. Nowhere must we take the word helko (draw) to mean something irresistible.  The Father does not drag a man irresistibly in some spiritual sense. The passage does not say that the drawing guarantees the “coming”. All it says is that no one can come unless drawn, and it then says that the one who comes (as a result of this drawing) will be raised up. It nowhere says that all who are drawn also come, but the one who is “raised up” is the one who is both drawn and comes.

Jam. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s