John 6 - Coming to Christ - wrong versus right motives for coming to Christ

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by The Biblicist, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    This post is designed to start an expositional commentary on chapter six of the gospel of John and to demonstrate that the major theme of this chapter is about coming to Christ by faith. This chapter deals with the wrong motives versus the right motive for coming to Christ and the origin or source for the right motive and ability to come to Christ by faith. First, I will begin with a general outline with this theme in mind.

    A. The Wrong Motives - Jn. 6:1-35

    1. First wrong Motive for the crowds coming to Christ - Jn. 6:1-2 - miracles

    And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

    2. Second wrong Motive for coming to Christ - Jn. 6:14-16 - Power

    Jn. 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
    15 ¶ When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.



    3. Third wrong Motive for coming to Christ - Jn. 6:21-26 - Food

    Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.- Jn. 6:26


    B. The Analogies and Source behind the Right Motive - Jn. 6:27-71

    1. Coming to Christ for the right motive is the work and gift of God - Jn. 6:27-30
    2. The Food analogy and partaking of Christ by faith - Jn. 6:27-35
    3. The Origin of coming to Christ or partaking of Christ by faith - Jn. 6:36-45

    a. One must be given by the Father to come to the Son by faith - Jn. 6:36-40

    (1) being given effectually results in coming to Christ by faith
    (2) being given effectually results in eternal life

    b. One must be drawn by the Father to come to the Son by faith - Jn. 6:41-45

    (1) No man has the natural ability or motive to come to Christ by faith
    (2) being drawn effectually results in coming to Christ by faith
    (3) Drawing defined as the internal work of the Father producing right motive that effectual results in coming to Christ by faith

    4. The Manna Analogy and partaking of Christ by faith for eternal life - Jn. 6:46-51
    5. The Canabalistic Analogy that illustrates the inability of natural man to come to Christ by faith - Jn. 6:52-59


    C. The Explanation and Consequences among His disciples - Jn. 6:60-71

    1. His Canabalistic analogy explained as metaphorical in nature and not literal - vv. 60-63
    2. Unbelief among disciples explained as mere profession without drawing by the Father - vv. 64-67
    3. Peter understands and explains the metaphorical intent of his words - vv. 68-69
    4. Judas characterizes those not drawn by the father - vv. 70-71
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    Doesn't Jesus Himself declare to us though that ONLY those whom the father gave unto him will indeed come to him, and in that sense, all of those shall be coming for 'right reason?"
     
  3. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Jesus did not say that all who came to him were those the Father gave him. He said only that all the Father gave him would come to him, and they would be the ones coming for the right reason. You can plainly see in John 6:1-27 there are at least three reasons that Christ gives for some who came and it was not for the right reason (miracles, power, food).
     
  4. Yeshua1

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    True, we seem to both agree here that the only ones with right reason were those whom the Father called unto Jesus to get saved!
     
  5. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Under the topic heading of "wrong motives" for coming to Christ we listed three contextual identified wrong motives that brought people to come to Christ (miracles, power and food) all selfish motives.

    However, during this same period Jesus intentionally provided a lesson in the right motivation for coming to him - faith in him that characterized self-denial. The young lad gave up his lunch believing that Christ could use it to feed others. Philip characterized faith in Christ by bringing the young lad to use it to feed others. Coming in both cases was motivated by true faith in Christ.

    The rest of the chapter is dedicated to demonstrating the origin of coming to Christ by faith as opposed to wrong motivations for coming to Christ - Jn. 6:27-71.

    In John 6:24-30 we have the introductory lesson where Jesus challenges the motivation behind those who followed him to the other side because of food.

    24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
    25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
    26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
    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.
    28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
    30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?


    In verses 24-26 we have the background and the charge by Christ that what brought them to Christ was food motivation.

    In verses 27-30 Christ challenges their motivation for coming to him. It took a lot of work to find shipping and then find Christ all for a bite to eat. In verse 27 is where Christ first introduces the food analogy or partaking of food as an analogy of partaking of eternal life by faith in Christ.

    The analogy must be separated and distinguished from the explanation in verse 27. The analogy takes up the first two phrases ("Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,") , whereas the explanation is found in the last two phrases ("which the Son of man shall give unto you:for him hath God the Father sealed.").

    Labouring for food is analogized with labouring for food that endureth unto eternal life. The first is perishable while the latter "endureth unto eternal life." That food is defined shortly to be Christ himself ("him") and then faith in him is analogized as partaking of "bread" from heaven and then later as partaken his "flesh" and "blood."

    However, in the explanation Jesus denies it is something that can be obtained by labor but it is rather something that Christ must "give" to them - "which the Son of man shall GIVE unto you." In the final phrase he hints that this food that shall he shall "give" is himself as he says, "for HIM hath God the Father has sealed."

    However, those he is addressing miss his explanation completely, that the food ("him") that endures unto eternal life is something that he must "give." Instead, they insist that they can obtain that food by what they "do" as works for God:

    Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

    Here is where most commentators completely fail to properly exegete. Commentators fail to see that they are rejecting that it must be a gift but are insisting they can obtain it by their own works. They explicitly state "what shall WE DO, that WE MIGHT WORK the works of God." Note they use the plural "works" of God but in Christ direct response to this assertion of self-acheivement for obtaining eternal life Christ responds with a singular "work" referring to coming to Christ by faith and says:

    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    Many commentators interpret this as though Christ is agreeing with them and simply telling them here is a work you can do that you might work the works of God and that is to believe in him. However, Christ is reasserting that it is something that must be given not earned. He is declaring that believing in him is God's work and not their work. The remaining context proves this is what he is saying. He claims that only those "given" to him by the Father will come to him in faith for eternal life (Jn. 6:37-40), thus coming to him by faith is the work of God. He continues to assert this by saying "no man can come to me except the Father draw him" (Jn. 6:44) demonstrating that coming to Christ by faith is no work they are inherently able to do, but it must be given unto them (Jn. 6:65) by the Father, and therefore that is the work of God. Furthermore, he immediately proves to them they are not able to come to him by faith in verses 30-36 even though they both have seen and heard him. We will take that portion up in our next post.

    CONCLUSION: We have three cases of wrong motivation for coming to Christ for selfish reasons. We have two examples of coming to Christ for the right motivation of self-denial but faith in Christ to do what they cannot - feed thousands by a boys lunch. We then have Christ confronting those coming to him for selfish motives and tells them they are working for things that perish whereas they should be working for non-perishable things. He then tells them plainly that such non-perishable things must be given to them. However, they insist they can do whatever it takes to do the works of God to obtain eternal life for themselves. Christ reasserts that it is something that must be given and that is the work of the Father. In the immediate context he proves this is his meaning, as he declares that all who actually come to him and obtain eternal life must have been given to him by the Father - thus coming to him by faith for eternal life is the work of God (vv. 36-40). He then reasserts it in verse 44 proving that no man is able to come to him by faith for eternal life except the Father draw them, thus coming to him by faith is the work of God and not their work. In the next post we will show that he demonstrates they are not able to do this work but is a work that only God can do.
     
    #5 The Biblicist, Aug 10, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  6. The Biblicist

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    26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
    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.

    28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
    30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

    Jesus confirmed that they already "saw the miracles" (v. 26) he performed but that is not why they had come to him. They had come to him for food (v. 27). Their coming to Christ was not motivated by faith in him for salvation but came to him for more food.

    It is here that Jesus begins to introduce food as a metaphor for partaking of Christ by faith. He does this by introducing a metaphorical "meat" or food that "endureth unto everlasting life."

    The issue is how do they obtain this metaphorical food that endureth unto everlasting life. Jesus answers this by saying that it is he that must "give it to you" (v. 27). They reject that it is something that must be given unto them by asking "What shall WE DO, that WE MIGHT WORK the works of God."

    The debated words are "this is the work of God, that ye believe on him." They believed that they must do "the works" (plural) of God to obtain "eternal life" whereas Christ had said "eternal life" is something that only he can "give" unto them. Does the response by Christ "this is the work of God" mean that it is not by your plural works eternal life is obtained but it is the singular "work of God" that "ye believe on him" and you receive the gift of eternal life, or is Christ saying, you ask what works of God you can do to obtain eternal life, then it is simply one work in behalf of God you must do to obtain eternal life and that is to "believe on him whom he hath sent." So the issue is, whether the ability to come to Christ by faith in him for the free gift of eternal life is a "work" they are able to do or is it a work that only God can do?

    I believe the following context proves it is only a work that God can do and that is precisely what Christ meant and then proceeded to prove in a very methodical way. The fact that Jesus goes on to say "no man can come to me except the Father draw him" proves that coming to Christ by faith is not within their ability apart from this work of God.

    However, Christ will prove that coming to him by faith for eternal life is not in their ability, first by demonstrating that more miracles will not produce in them faith nor move them to come to him by faith for eternal life (vv. 31-36) but the only ones who will come to Christ by faith for eternal life are those whom the Father must first give to the Son, as only those given by the Father will come to Christ by faith for eternal life (Jn. 6:36-40) as being given precedes coming and being "given" is the work of God.


    A. Sight and Miracles do not produce Saving faith - Jn. 6:30-36

    30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
    31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
    32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
    33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
    34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
    35 And 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.
    36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.


    Verse 30 proves those who claimed they could "work the works of God" were in a state of unbelief. Although they had already seen Christ and witnessed his great miracles:

    Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. - Jn. 6:27

    they ask "what sign shewest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? What dost thou work"?

    So the previous signs were insufficient for them to believe in him. They understood what Christ said in verse 29 but proved by their reaction their inability to believe in him even though great miracles had been performed before their own eyes. Jesus told a similar crowd who asked for more signs in order to believe that it is only an "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;" (Mt. 12:39).

    They wanted Christ to do something comparable to what they thought Moses did in the wilderness - call down bread from heaven before they would believe. However, that did not work with the generation in the wilderness. The writer of Hebrews says that that generation which witnesses all the great miracles God performed was without faith in their heart in response to the gospel (Heb. 4:1).

    Moreover, Jesus corrects them by denying that bread from heaven was the work of Moses, but rather it was the work of God - "Moses gave you not that bread from heaven." In fact, Moses merely voiced their complaint to God that they were hungry. It was God who responded and performed by giving bread from heaven - it was both God's gift ("shall give to you" - v. 29) and God's work ("the work of God" - v. 29) and not of any man, no matter how great that man.

    Again, Jesus makes a direct analogy between the physical literal manna and himself as metaphorical bread. The literal bread only sustained physical life for a while as all who partook of the literal manna ultimately physically died. However, Jesus claims to be a spiritual manna that all who partake of him by faith shall never die:

    35 And 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.

    This verse deserves special attention as it sets the precedence for all that follows in John 6:36-60. First, notice that "cometh to me" is parallel to "believeth on me". Therefore, in verses 36-45 which follow to "come unto me" means to believe on him savingly.

    Second, coming to him in faith is metaphorically partaking of him as "
    the bread of life" so that they "shall never hunger" and "shall never thirst" again. Notice that even though "bread" is not a liquid, partaking of it quenches the "thirst." Here Christ sets forth the metaphorical precedence of eating and drinking him as metaphorical for coming to him by faith. Roman Catholicism builds its whole system of sacramentalism on their complete ignorance of this metaphorical precedence as they literalize what Christ spiritualized in John 6:47-57 and then tells them explicitly his words were not to be taken literal but spiritual (Jn. 6:60).

    However, we now come to the final verse (v. 36). In verse 34 they ask Jesus to "give" them this bread. Like good Roman Catholics, they also fail to understand Christ is speaking of bread in a metaphorical sense and does not mean literal bread nor eating him literally but is speaking about metaphorically partaking of him by faith as one would literally partake of bread by eating it.

    The conclusion is that they saw him do miracles but that was not sufficient for them to come to Christ by faith -
    36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

    In verses 36-40 Christ teaches why coming to him by faith is "the work of God" in that all who come to Christ savingly by faith must first have been given to the Son by the Father.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    B. The Work of God that Precedes Coming to Christ by faith - vv. 36-40

    36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
    37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
    38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
    39 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.
    40 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.


    This passage is one of the most debated texts in all of scripture and not because of lack of clarity but because it is so clear that Arminians and those who deny eternal security are threatened by it.

    This is an encapsulated text that begin in verse 36 with those who saw Christ and his miracles but yet remained in unbelief and concludes in verse 40 with those who see the Son and believe on him. What distinguishes those in verse 36 and from those in verse 40 is the work of God explained in verses 37-39.

    1. To Come to him has just been previously defined as coming in faith for eternal life - vv. 35-36

    In verse 35 "cometh to me" is parallel in meaning to "believeth on me" for eternal life. All who come to him as described in verse 37 "I will in no wise cast out" and in verse 39 "I should lose nothing" and so coming to him is believing in him for eternal life. None of those given fail to come and none that come are cast out or lost.



    2. God's work (act) of Giving precedes coming as well as precedes Christ's incarnation

    In verse 37 coming to Christ is found in the future tense whereas giving is found in the present tense demonstrating that giving is the cause and coming is the consequence.

    In verse 39 "given" is found in the Aorist tense demonstrating the act of giving preceded the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth was to secure all the Father had previously given to him.

    Jesus explains that his coming to earth was in order to accomplished the predetermined will of the Father and that predetermined will was that he should lose nothing of all those that the Father had "given" (Aorist tense). This demands the act of being given by the father to the Son preceded the act of incarnation as the incarnation was designed to secure all those previously given to him by the Father. This pre-incarnated act of giving by the Father is the act of election that took place before the world began when the Father chose us "in him" (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2 Thes. 2:13).


    3. All given equals all coming and none of all given are lost but raised to eternal life

    In verse 37 "all" who are given are "all" of which do come to Christ so that "nothing" of all the Father gave is lost.

    Finally, the responsibility for securing "all" who are given so that none are lost is Christ's responsibility and not the responsibility of those being given. That is the "will" of the Father for which Christ came to fulfill and if Christ failed to fulfill this will then he failed to be the Christ predicted by the Prophets as to fail or come short of the revealed will of God is the definition of sin. - "THIS IS THE WILL OF THE FATHER that OF ALL which he hath given me I should lose nothing but raise it up at the last day"


    4. Being Raised up at the Last Day refers to the resurrection unto life

    This phrase is found in verses 39, 40, 44 and 54 and in each case it refers to believers only and eternal life.

    Therefore, those described in verses 40, 44 and 54 are "of all" those "given" to the Son by the Father in verses 37-39. The difference between those described in verse 36 and those described in verse 40 is that those in verse 40 are "of all" those given to Christ in verse 39 whereas those in verse 36 are not.The difference between those in verse 36 and those in verse 40 is "the work of God" described in verses 37-39. Notice the finality of those in verse 39 "raised up at the last day" is the same finality of those described in verse 40.

    This phrase proves that "of all" given to the Son by the Father are all who come to Christ by faith as described in verse 40 and all who are drawn by the Father in verse 44 and all who partake of Christ's flesh and blood as a metaphor of partaking of him by faith.
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    John 6:40

    37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
    38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
    39 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.
    40 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.


    Arminians and those who deny eternal security of the believer attempt to make verse 40 the cause of verses 37-39 when in reality it is the consequence not the cause. "Every one" that "believeth on him" in verse 40 are confined and restricted to "of all" those given to the Father in verse 39. Verse 37-39 simply explains that it is the act of being given by the Father that is the cause "OF ALL" who come to Christ by faith. Those in verse 36 did not come to Christ in faith because they had not been given to the Son by the Father. Anyone who does come to Christ by faith in verse 40 is because they are "of all" those having been given to the Son by the Father.

    This is further proven by the fact that "all" who have given to the Son by the father "nothing" is lost but Christ "will raise him up at the last day."

    Furthermore, the "it" in the last phrase of verse 39 has its anecedent in the word "nothing" as "nothing" is a translation of me ek outou which literally reads "not out of it" meaning that "of all" the Father gives there will be no lost "out of it" or "of all" thus denying that even one will be lost. That is why all who come to Christ in faith in verse 40 will not be lost but will be raised up.

    Significantly those in verse 64 NEVER truly came to Christ in faith as Jesus says were unbelievers "from the beginning" and they were not partakers of being given to the Son nor were they partakers of the work being drawn to the Son by the Father (Jn. 6:65).

    Again the point is that coming to Christ by faith depends wholly upon "THE WORK OF GOD" and one aspect of that work is the Father giving these to the Son before the incarnation and so "anyone" who truly does come to the Son in Faith will be saved as it is not the will of the Father for even one he has given to the Son to be lost. Here this predetermined giving before the incarnation is the elective work of God.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    John 6:40-46

    41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
    42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
    43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
    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.
    45 It 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.
    46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
    47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
    48 I am that bread of life.
    49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
    50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.


    This section is also an encapsulated unit but a development in Christ's argument that coming to Christ by faith for eternal life is "the work of God."

    The encapsulation is seen by the fact verse 41 demonstrates the unbelief of the Jews listening to him because they murmured that he said "I am the bread that came down from heaven" whereas verse 50 concludes with Christ reclaiming he was the bread sent down from heaven.

    Verses 41-45 deal with their state of unbelief whereas verses 46-50 reassert his claim that he did come down from heaven as the metaphorical bread of life that eating which is metaphorical for "believeth on me" (v. 47) will obtain eternal life.

    Verses 41-42 express their unbelief that he came down from heaven while verses 43-45 address their problem of unbelief.

    Verse 43 rebukes them for their murmurring among themselves? The present active imperative means "stop murmuring" among yourselves. Why would he give such a command. Verses 44-46 explain why he gives this command. The reason is because it is a waste of energy because the natural man has no inherent ability to believe in him or come to him by faith or believe his claims apart from a direct work of God within them that enables them to believe in him. They are proof of his explanation. The only possible way for them to come to Christ in faith, thus accept his claims is "the work of God" must first occur called drawing. Verse 45 explains what constitutes drawing by the Father, it is the internal instruction of "all" the covenant people of God. Jesus is quoting Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:34 where God promises to "teach" the people of the New Covenant by direct revelation so that there is no need for any human instructor to teach them about knowing God. Therefore, "everyone" (gr. pas - "all") all who have been thus taught have "heard" and have "learned" and do come and that is the only possible resolution for accepting what Christ claimed.

    No one can claim to have been taught of God if they have not either "heard" him or "learned" of him. Therefore, to make these distincti from being "taught" is oxymoronic as teaching has no reality apart from having heard the teacher or learned from the teacher. One who is taught hears and learns or they are not taught. Try that experiment in your sunday school class. Ask any student if they have been "taught" by Brother so and so, if they have never "heard" or "learned" anything from him. To be "taught" encompasses both having heard and having learned or else they have not been "taught" at all.

    No man can come to Christ in faith for eternal life except "the work of God" occur first called drawing. Drawing is the internal work of God whereby God directly opens the ears so they can "hear" and "learn" by experience of divine revelation of Christ within them (2 Cor. 4:6). All who have thus been "taught" come to Christ in faith. So two works of God must occur prior to being able to come to Christ by faith for eternal life - they must be given by God to the Son before the incarnation or the elective work of God AND they must be internally instructed by God called "drawing."

    The Greek term translated "draw" demands the object being drawn is passive whereas the one doing the drawing is the effectual power that moves the object. In every instance where the term is found in scripture the object is never involved as a participant actor but always is passive. Moreover, the only instance where drawing is not effectual to the appointed end is when the power doing the drawing is too weak, which is never the case with God.

    Finally, those "disciples" in John 6:64 who "believed not" were known by Christ to be unbelievers "from the beginning" and the Lord's explanation ("therefore, I said unto you") for their state of unbelief is that the Father never drew them. The Lord drops the term "draw" in John 6:65 and uses the phrase "given unto them" meaning ability to come to Christ by faith was never given to them by the Father. Which means they were never "of all" the Father gave to the Son, thus never chosen to salvation and never drawn.

    Arminians quickly flee from this text and jump into John 12:32 to counter this conclusion by Christ. However, in John 12:20-32 the context has to do with "Greeks" who wish to come to Christ which Jews regarded as unclean. Here the term "all men" means all classes, genders and races of men and not merely Jews. This interpretation harmonizes with the immediate context of John 12 as well as agrees with Christ's explanation of false professors among his disciples in John 6:64-65.

    (CONTINUED)
     

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