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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : All that the Father giveth me shall come to me

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Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1262

 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me

Pulpit Commentary
John 6:37

Vers. 37-40.—(b) Episode or, the blessedness of those who "come" to Christ.

Many suppose a time of stillness, a break in the conversation, "a significant asyndeton," from the absence of all connection between this and the previous verse. Vers. 39, 40 would seem to have been addressed more directly to the disciples, the less susceptible hearers retiring from him or engaging in eager conversation (cf. ver. 41). Nevertheless, the Lord takes up the continuous line of his self-revelation, and ver. 37 clearly refers the "non-coming" and "non-believing" in their case to their moral obliquity, and to the apparent inadequacy of sufficient proof to induce the faith which will satisfy spiritual hunger. This spiritual dulness on the part of all suggests some internal and necessary condition, which is, though yet absent, not said to be inaccessible. Seeing ought to issue in believing, but it does not; therefore there is something more than the manifestation of the Christ absolutely necessary. To that Jesus now reverts. All (pan, the neuter is also used of persons in Joh 3:6 and Joh 17:2, used concerning the whole body of real believers, the whole mass of those who, when they see, do come—the entire company of believers regarded as a grand unity, and stretching out into the future) all that which the Father giveth me. The subsequent descriptions of the Father's grace (vers. 44, 45) throw light on this. The "drawing of the Father," the "hearing and learning from the Father," are there declared to be conditions of "coming to Christ." All those influences on the soul, all the new-creating and spirit-quickening energies of the Holy Ghost, the new heart and tender conscience, the honest, serious desire for holy things, are broadly described in this passage as God's method and act of giving to the Son of his love. There is no necessity (with Augustine) to suppose that our Lord refers to an absolute predestinating decree. For if God has not yet given these particular men to him, it does not say that he will not and may nut do so yet. The Father's giving to the Son may indeed assume many forms. It may take the character of original constitution, of predisposition and temperamerit, or of special "providential education and training, or of tenderness of conscience, or of a truthful and sincere and unquenched desire. The Father is the Divine Cause. "The giving" implies a present activity of grace, not a foregone conclusion. All that which the Father giveth me shall reach me—all souls touched by the Father in a thousand ways to the point of making a moral surrender to my claims, will reach me — and him that is coming to me—i.e. is on the way to me, is drawing near to me—I for my part will not cast out.

Thus authority to refuse is claimed by Christ, and power to exclude from his fellowship and friendship, from his kingdom and glory. [Mt 8:12; 22:13] Admission is not the working of some impersonal law, but the individual response of him who has come down to give life. As far as man is concerned, it turns on his voluntary coming, on his bare willingness to be fed with heavenly food. It is impossible, so far as responsibility is concerned, to get back of personal wish and individual will. The process of genuine coming to Christ does show that the Father is therein giving such soul to his Son. Archdeacon Watkins says, "Men have now seized one and now the other of these truths, and have built upon them in separation logical systems of doctrine which are but half truths. He (Jesus) states them in union. Their reconciliation transcends human reason, but is within the experience of human life." The greatness of the self-consciousness of Christ appears in the further proof that he proceeds to supply of this relation to the Father.

Vers. 37-40.—The Father's will and its Executor.

We see:

1. That the majority of Christ's hearers disbelieved him. His verdict at last was, "Ye believe not;" "Ye will not come."

2. That they disbelieved him in spite of the greatest advantages to faith. (Ver. 36)

3. That in spite of their obstinate unbelief and cruel rejection, the gracious purposes of God and the mission of Jesus will not be void. "For all that the Father giveth me," etc. Notice—

I THE FATHER'S WILL. We see in this will:

1. That he has given a certain number of the human family to Christ. In a general and a true sense all the human family have been given him; they are the objects of his saving love and grace. All are invited to the gospel feast, and commanded to repent. The earth is Immanuel's land, and the human race, without exception or partiality, are the objects of his saving mercy. But there are some specially given to Christ; they are spoken of as such: "All that the Father giveth me." They have been given in the past in purpose; they are given in the present in fact. This suggests:

(1) That the salvation of the human family is carried on according to the eternal purpose and plan of God. Everything has been arranged from the beginning. Nothing happens by accident; neither the Father nor the Son is ever taken by surprise.

(2) That the mission of Christ is not a speculation, but with regard to him an absolute certainty. Speculation is a term unapplicable to Divine proceedings; they are fixed and determined as to their mode and result. Jesus lived and acted on earth in the full consciousness of this. And who would not rejoice that the blessed Redeemer was not in this hostile world as the creature of chance and at the mercy of fate, but ever fortified with the knowledge of his Father's will and purpose, the consciousness of his Father's love, and the certainty of the success of his own mission?

2. That the Father gave these to Christ, because he knew that they would come to him. Let it be remembered that the division of time, as past, present, and future, is nothing to God. All time to him is present. In his plans and election he experienced no difficulty arising from ignorance, but all was divinely clear to him. And we see that he is not arbitrary in his selections, We know that his authority is absolute; that he has the same authority over man as the potter over the clay. He can do as he likes, and perhaps this is the only answer he would give to some questioners, "I can do as I like." But we know that he cannot like to do anything that is wrong, unreasonable, or unfair. He cannot act from mere caprice, but his actions are harmonious with all his attributes, as well as with the highest reason; and can give a satisfactory reason for all acts, and justify himself to his intelligent creatures. The principle on which he gave certain of the human family to Christ was willingness on their part to come to him. In the gifts of his providence he has regard to adaptation—he gives water to quench thirst, etc. But, in giving human souls to Christ, he had a special regard to the human will. He knew as an absolute fact that some would refuse his offer of grace in Christ, and that others would gladly accept the same offer under the same conditions. The former he neither would nor could, the latter he graciously gave. It is an invariable characteristic of those given to Christ that they give themselves to him.

1. Those given to Christ shall certainly come to him. "All that the Father giveth me shall," etc. Jesus was certain of this. And if given, they come; and if they come, they were given. Divine foreknowledge is never at fault, and Divine grace can never fail to be effective with regard to those thus given to Christ. Their coming was included in the gift. There was the knowledge of their coming, and every grace, motive, and help was promised with the gifts; so that their arrival to Christ is certain. They shall come, in spite of every opposition and difficulty from within and without.

2. That these were given to Christ in trust for special purposes. These are set forth:

(1) Negatively. "That I should lose nothing" (ver. 39). Not one, not the least, and not even anything necessary to the happiness of that one.,

(2) Affirmatively. "May have everlasting life." The highest good they could wish and enjoy.

(3) That they should have these blessings on the most reasonable and easy terms. By simple acceptance of the gift, and simple and trustful faith in the Giver (ver. 40).


1. He is most gracious, for

(1) the work involves the greatest responsibilities. It is true that those given shall come to him. But look at their miserable condition. They are guilty; he must procure their pardon. They are condemned; he must justify them. They are corrupt; he must cleanse and sanctify them. They are sick; he must heal them. They are in debt; he must pay it. The responsibilities are infinite.

(2) It involves the greatest self-sacrifice. To meet these responsibilities required the greatest self sacrifice possible. Before they could be justified, he himself must be condemned; to heal them, he must be mortally wounded; to make them rich, he must become poor; to pay their debt, he must lay down his life as a ransom; and to bring them unto glory, he must be made "perfect through sufferings." What but infinite love would accept the trust and execute the will?

2. He is most tenderly and universally inviting. "Him that cometh to me I will," etc. These words are most tender and inviting. They were uttered in the painful consciousness that many would not come to him, although there were infinite provisions and welcome. The door of salvation need not be wider, nor the heart of the Saviour more tender, than this. There is no restriction, no favouritism. "Him that cometh."

3. He is most adapted for his position. This will appear if we consider:

(1) That he is divinely appointed. "The Father which sent me." The Father appointed him to be the Trustee and Executor of his will. And he knew whom to appoint. He acts under the highest authority.

(2) He was willing to undertake the trust. It is true that he was sent, but as true that he came. "I am come down from heaven" (ver. 38). There was no coercion. His mission was as acceptable to him as it was pleasing to the Father, so that he has great delight in his work.

(3) He is thoroughly acquainted with the Divine will. Perfect knowledge is essential to perfect execution. Many profess to know much, but where is the proof? Jesus proves his knowledge by revelation. "This is my Father's will," etc. He was acquainted with all its responsibilities, its purposes, and sufferings, as well as all the difficulties in carrying it out. This he knew from the beginning before he undertook the trust.

(4) He is enthusiastically devoted to both parties—to the Testator and the legatees. He is devoted to the Father. "I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but," etc. He had a will of his own, but in his mediatorial office it was entirely merged in that of his Father. He is equally devoted to the objects of his Father's love; for "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." And he could say more—he would help and almost compel him to come in.

(5) He is divinely competent. He is the Son of God, the Elect of the Father, ever conscious of his capacities for this work. Not a shadow of doubt in this respect ever came across his mind. He was serenely conscious of fulness, of power, of life—the fulness of the Godhead; and he gave ample proof of his Divine competency as he went along. The sick were healed, the dead were raised, the guilty were pardoned, and all penitents who appealed to him were saved. Naturally and well he might say, "I will raise him up at the last clay." And being able to do this, he can do all. All the qualifications necessary to execute the Divine will with regard to the human race fully meet in him. "His will be done."


1. The purposes of the Divine will are in safe hands. Not one shall suffer on his account.

2. The lives of believers are in safe custody. Nothing will be lost.

3. The mission of Jesus is certain of success. "All that the Father giveth me," etc.

4. The perdition of man must come entirely from himself. All the purposes and dispensations of God, all the mediatorial work of Jesus, are for his salvation. All that God in Christ could do for his deliverance is done. Nothing but his own will can stand between him and eternal life.

5. The duty of all to come to Jesus and accept his grace. There is a marked difference between the conduct of Jesus and the conduct of those who reject him. He receives the vilest; they reject the most holy and gracious One. He opens the door to the most undeserving; they close it against the pride of angels, the inspiration of the redeemed, and the glory of heaven and earth. Beware of trifling with the long suffering mercy of Jesus. The last thing he can do is to cast out; but when he casts out, he casts out terribly.—B.T.

 2009/1/17 23:17Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2145

 Re: All that the Father giveth me shall come to me

"The Arminian controversy is the most important which took place within the Reformed Church. It corresponds to the Pelagian and the Jansenist controversies in the Catholic Church. It involves the problem of ages, which again and again has baffled the pen of theologians and philosophers, and will do so to the end of time: the relation of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

It started with the doctrine of predestination, and turned round five articles or 'knotty points' of Calvinism; hence the term 'quinquarticular' controversy.

Calvinism represented the consistent, logical, conservative orthodoxy; Arminianism an elastic, progressive, changing liberalism. Calvinism triumphed in the Synod of Dort, and excluded Arminianism. So, in the preceding generation, strict Lutheranism had triumphed over Melanchthonianism in the Formula of Concord. But in both Churches the spirit of the conquered party rose again from time to time within the ranks of orthodoxy, to exert its moderating and liberalizing influence or to open new issues in the progressive march of theological science...

The founder of Arminianism, from whom it derives its name, is James Arminius (1560–1609).His Dutch name is Jacob van Hermanns or Hermanson, Harmensen. He studied under Beza at Geneva, was elected minister at Amsterdam (1588), and then professor of theology at Leyden (1603), as successor of Francis Junius, who had taken part in the revision of the Belgic Confession. He was at first a strict Calvinist, but while engaged in investigating and defending the Calvinistic doctrines against the writings of Dirik Volckaerts zoon Koornheert, at the request of the magistrate of Amsterdam, he found the arguments of the opponent stronger than his own convictions, and became a convert to the doctrine of universal grace and of the freedom of will. He saw in the seventh chapter of Romans the description of a legalistic conflict of the awakened but unregenerate man, while Augustine and the Reformers referred it to the regenerate. He denied the decree of reprobation, and moderated the doctrine of original sin. He advocated a revision of the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism. He came into open conflict with his supralapsarian colleague, Francis Gomar (1563–1645), who had conferred on him the degree of doctor of divinity, but now became his chief antagonist. Hence the strict Calvinists were called 'Gomarists.' The controversy soon spread over all Holland. Arminius applied to the Government to convoke a synod (appealing, like the Donatists, to the very power which afterwards condemned him), but died of a painful disorder before it convened...

The Arminian or quinquarticular controversy started with opposition to the doctrine of absolute decrees, and moved in the sphere of anthropology and soteriology. The peculiar tenets are contained in the five points or articles which the Arminians in their 'Remonstrance' laid before the estates of Holland in 1610. They relate to predestination, the extent of the atonement, the nature of faith, the resistibility of grace, and the perseverance of saints.

The Remonstrance is first negative, and then positive. It rejects five Calvinistic propositions, and then asserts the five Arminian propositions."

The above words are excerpts from church historian Philip Schaff(1819-1893).

If any would read the articles of the Remonstrance,and the reply to these articles in the Canons of the Synod of Dordt,they could not deny that what is presented by the one as biblical and divine truth can never be reconciled with the other.

It is as the great gulf fixed between heaven and hell.

Any middle ground is no less than Rome's purgatory.

We ought not marvel at the heat of controversy here on SI over this as it has been been burning as the sun since it began. And it will do so as Schaff said,'to the end of time'.

1 Cor 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you.

God's Truth abides forever. And He will make His own to abide in that same Truth,loving the Truth and rejoicing in the Truth,hating every lie as no lie is of the Truth.

Where there is no passion there is no love.

He will love the one and hate the other.

Thanks be to God...

 2009/1/18 8:55Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4582


Hi savannah...

Calvinism represented the consistent, logical, conservative orthodoxy; Arminianism an elastic, progressive, changing liberalism.


If any would read the articles of the Remonstrance, and the reply to these articles in the Canons of the Synod of Dordt, they could not deny that what is presented by the one as biblical and divine truth can never be reconciled with the other.

It is as the great gulf fixed between heaven and hell.

[b]Any middle ground is no less than Rome's purgatory[/b].

I have some trouble with this statement. It isn't that I believe that there is middle ground in the issue...but that both sides are flawed (whether in the root or presentation of this issue). Should we concentrate on a set of doctrines that men created to explain why things work the way they do in God's kingdom? Christians laugh at the theory of a man-made attempt to explain just why things came to work the way they do. Yet I wonder if we do the same thing with the answers found in Scripture. We think we know some truth...and we search the Scriptures in order to support, validate or explain the "why" behind what we perceive to be truth. Is this any different from scientists who create unsubstantiated (or unverifiable) theories to explain what they perceive to be truth?

America's justice system has often been lauded as the greatest in the history of the world. Yet it is still flawed. One of the great flaws lay in the manner in which a crime is solved. Police investigate a crime and suspend nearly all alternative possibilities when they settle upon a chief suspect. The search for all incriminating evidence to convict a person or a crime -- and don't consider any possibility while they do so. This is often very successful. However, how many times have we read about men or women who were released from prison after years of incarceration after DNA evidence (or some other concrete evidence) was discovered that uncovered the truth?

I wonder if we do the same thing with our theology. Should we so quickly decide upon a verdict in such matters? Should we even indict such matters as truth or lie in the first place? I have read these sort of debates for quite a while on SermonIndex. To be clear: I don’t agree with either side. This is not to say that I don’t agree with some of the things that are presented. However, the underlying attempt to prove our theology just reeks of division. It causes believers to hold to an “us against them” sort of mentality – even under the best of circumstances. It is my opinion that we take these matters too far.

While there is not necessarily a “middle ground” to be achieved in this matter, there is another perspective. Remember the angel of the Lord who appeared to Joshua the son of Nun? Joshua asked, “[i] Art thou for us, or for our adversaries[/i]?” The angel of the Lord answered, “[i] Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come[/i].” How dreadful for Joshua to realize this! The angels of the Lord were not on the side of Israel…or on the side of the enemies of Israel…but on the side of the LORD!

The truth speaks for itself. We don’t have to interpret it to anyone. I have no problem with theology IF the motive for our theology is to know the Lord in a much closer and more intimate manner. Yet for any other reason, theology is a science. It can easily built upon the same flaws as traditional sciences…in which people will look at the “evidence” and try to ascertain reasons for such. Yet science teaches us so much more! For thousands of years, it appeared to most that the Earth was the center of the solar system (and possibly, the universe). The “evidence” pointed to such (the Sun, Moon and celestial sphere traveling around the Earth each day). For thousands of years, “scientists” created interesting postulates to explain such things. Ironically, some of those things were later found to be true (some by coincidence). It took a few scientists with telescopes and the boldness to “go against the flow” to question the accepted scientific tradition. Those who were most opposed were, ironically, the theologians. I think that the same is true today.

There is nothing wrong with searching for truth. Yet we know the Truth. We know where it is found (God’s Word). I just feel that there is something wrong with the creation of a doctrine that is presented as FACT. For it to be truth, it cannot have a single flaw…a single inconsistency. Can anyone say that of Calvinism or of the philosophy of its opponents? It seems evident to me that these sorts of discussions are not two-sided. It isn’t that one side can be right and one side must be wrong. What if BOTH sides are both right (in areas) and wrong (in areas)? Can we honestly call either one “truth?” If not, then why do we continue to do so?

In terms of our salvation…can’t we just rely on the Scriptures? We know that we are sinners saved by grace…that God is eternal…that God knew us before the foundations of the world…that He has given us commandments…prescriptions to come to Him and become born again…and that we should NEVER walk away from Him. Most importantly, we are called to seek and love our Lord! We should desire to know Him (not just about Him) by spending time pouring our hearts out to Him in prayer and study of His Word. Is this not sufficient to capture our attention? Do we need to explain such things…or simply investigate out of interest without trying to claim something to be an undeniable truth?

Forgive my cautious outburst. I just don’t think that we should declare a side in a debate that has more than two sides. May we do what we can to be on the side of the Lord with the knowledge of our own mental and theological limitations.


 2009/1/18 12:56Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA


There is nothing wrong with searching for truth. Yet we know the Truth. We know where it is found (God’s Word). I just feel that there is something wrong with the creation of a doctrine that is presented as FACT. For it to be truth, it cannot have a single flaw…a single inconsistency

A comment…or two.

Our human understanding may not be the best judge of what God allows in the area of consistency, for the doctrine of the Trinity is anything but consistent.

Those that adhere to the doctrines of grace do not believe they are doctrines created by men; they believe they are revealed in Scripture (as Truth). Just because “man” has labeled and named this set of beliefs after some guy named “Calvin”, does not mean they were created by him, or any other man. Augustine did not create the Trinity, yet I’m glad he helped articulate this truth.

People that do not believe in the doctrines of grace often speak of their creation. Those that do believe in these doctrines use the words accept and embrace, for they see them as having always existed.

May we do what we can to be on the side of the Lord with the knowledge of our own mental and theological limitations.


I appreciate your post and recognized your heart as belonging to one of my brothers.


 2009/1/18 14:49Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1262



ccchhhrrriiisss wrote:

Forgive my cautious outburst. I just don’t think that we should declare a side in a debate that has more than two sides. May we do what we can to be on the side of the Lord with the knowledge of our own mental and theological limitations.

Dear Chris,

I do greatly appreciate your posts on SI. You are fresh water to many in the desert.

I thank God for the inspiration he has given you. It is a joy to hear from someone who is not hung up on the philosophies of men but cling only to Christ. God has gifted you with the ability to communicate in writing and you are using it to glorify Christ.


 2009/1/18 15:35Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 687


I wonder how many know that Charles Finney believed in the "Doctrine of Election". The following are excerp from his article on 'Election'. The full text can be found here:

...VIII. I am to show that there is no injustice in this.

God was under obligation to no one--he might in perfect justice have sent all mankind to hell. The doctrine of election will damn no one; by treating the non-elect according to their deserts he does them no injustice; and surely his exercising grace in the salvation of the elect is no act of injustice to the non-elect, and especially will this appear to be true if we take into consideration the fact that the only reason why the non-elect will not be saved is because they pertinaciously refuse salvation. He offers mercy to all. The atonement is sufficient for all. All may come and are under an obligation to be saved. He strongly desires their salvation, and does all that he wisely can to save them. Why then should the doctrine of election be thought unjust...

...IX. Election opposes no obstacle to the salvation of the non-elect.

The choice of some to eternal life, on the ground that they can be converted under the wisest administration of government, is by no means throwing any difficulty in the way of the conversion of the non-elect; for with them God uses all the means that are consistent with wisdom to reclaim and save them. The conversion of the elect, instead of being an obstacle in the way, is a powerful inducement to the non-elect to turn and live. The conversion of the elect, sustaining such relations as they do to the multitudes of the non-elect, is among the most powerful motives that could be presented for the conversion of the non-elect...

......XIII. I am to show how it may be known who are elected.

Those of the elect that are already converted are known by their character and conduct. They demonstrate the reality of their election by their obedience to God. Those that are unconverted may settle the question each one for himself, whether he is elected or not, so as to have the most satisfactory evidence whether he is of that happy number. If you will now submit yourselves to God, you many know that you are elected. But every hour you put off submission, increases the evidence that you are not elected...


...II. You see why many persons are opposed to the doctrine of election, and try to explain it away; 1st they misunderstand it, and 2d. they deduce unwarrantable inferences from it. They suppose it to mean, that the elect will be saved at all events, whatever their conduct may be; and again they infer from the doctrine that there is no possibility of the salvation of the non-elect. Their understanding of the doctrine would be an encouragement to the elect to persevere in sin, knowing that their salvation was sure, and their inference would drive the non-elect to desperation, on the ground that for them to make efforts to be saved would be of no avail. But both the doctrine, as they understand it, and the inference are false. For election does not secure the salvation of the elect irrespective of their character and conduct; nor, as we have seen, does it throw any obstacle in the way of the salvation of the non-elect...

...III. This view of the subject affords no ground for presumption on the one hand, nor for despair upon the other. No one can justly say, If I am to be saved, I shall be saved, do what I will, Nor can any one say, if I am to be damned, I shall be damned, do what I will. But the question is left, so far as they are concerned, as a matter of entire contingency. Sinners, your salvation or damnation is as absolutely suspended upon your own choice, as if God neither knew nor designed any thing about it...

...IV. This doctrine lays no foundation for a controversy with God. But on the other hand, it does lay a broad foundation for gratitude, both on the part of the elect and the non-elect. The elect certainly have great reason for thankfulness that they are thus distinguished. Oh what a thought, to have your name written in the book of life, to be chosen of God an heir of eternal salvation, to be adopted into his family, to be destined to enjoy his presence, and to bathe your soul in the boundless ocean of his love forever and ever. Nor are the non-elect without obligations of thankfulness. You ought to be grateful if any of your brethren of the human family are saved. If all were lost, God would be just. And if any of your neighbours or friends, or any of this dying world receive the gift of eternal life, you ought to be grateful and render everlasting thanks to God...

 2009/1/19 4:14Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 687


Wrong link to C. Finney's sermon on 'Election' corrected.

This is not to elevate Finney nor intends to make someone a 'Finneyist'. This is for reference in the study of the doctrine of election.

 2009/1/19 20:53Profile

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