"Draw me, we will run after thee"
(Song of Solomon 1:4)
"Come to Jesus. Come just as you are! Jesus is waiting! You must, indeed, you can come this very night," purred the "evangelist."
Jesus therefore answered and said: "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of My Father " (John 6:65).
"Jesus said that "he that cometh to me," replied the evangelist, "I will in no wise cast out."
Jesus answers: "All that the FATHER GIVETH ME, SHALL COME to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).
"Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t come to Jesus. He wants you to come right now!" said the evangelist.
"Jesus therefore answered and said, . . . 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" (John 6:44).
What a shocking discourse the above is to the ears of an unconverted, or inexperienced man!
Someone once said that John Calvin thought the doctrine of reprobation was a "horrible decree." Of course, Calvin believed it to be true because it is clearly taught in the Bible. "No man can come" to Christ unless the Father draws him; or "except it were given to him" of the Father. Regardless of what preachers say, Christ’s own answer is the truth. The preachers say that the sinner can come anytime he pleases; and the Lord says, "Oh, no! He cannot come unless My Father determined that he does." It is not left up to man; but is left up to the Father. The Father will "have mercy on him whom He will have mercy, and have compassion on whom He will have compassion. And whom He will, He hardeneth" (Romans 9:11-19.)
Natural man’s sensitivities toward their fellow man draws forth a violent reaction to the truth Jesus taught in the above passages. "Do you mean to say that God will prevent one from believing and being saved?"
Such a conclusion is invariably necessary, for it is certain that God does not save all. He does not call all to repentance. He did not choose all to salvation. It is not given to all to come to Christ. Indeed, it is not given to all that hear to believe. The reason is clearly given by our Lord: "He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, BECAUSE ye are NOT OF God" (John 8:47).
"But", says one, "such cannot be the correct meaning of the text. Surely if they understood Christ, they could come."
"Why do ye NOT understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word," said our Lord. (John 8:43).
"It is just too difficult to draw such a conclusion in light of the love of God. Didn’t He come to give everyone a chance to be saved?"
"For judgment I am come into this world, that THEY WHICH SEE NOT MIGHT SEE; AND THAT THEY WHICH SEE MIGHT BE MADE BLIND," said the Lord Jesus. (John 9:39).
The above presents a side of the truth of free grace that is absolutely shocking the first time it engages one’s attention. There is no doubt that most individuals find it very negative; and for this reason they will not entertain it in their minds very long. It does not fit the "evangelical Christian" theory of universal offers of salvation.
While at first glance the above scriptures appear negative, yet they are rather positive. It is the positive aspects of them that are of greatest interest in this article. It seems appropriate, however, to highlight the negative first as a background for the positive. We will prove the doctrine and then move on to the beauty and sweetness it affords a child of free grace.
The Bible proves conclusively that the evangelical theory of universal offers of salvation is false. The theory is only a figment of the imagination of ministers bent on gaining church members at any price.
In the best-known text the "free offer" men advance, the context disputes their interpretation roundly. In the John 12:32, Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."
The evangelical ministers will say: "See, God does draw everyone to Jesus!"
However, in verses 40 & 41, John writes: "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should NOT see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him."
It is not reasonable to believe that God would do this to them if, in fact, He willed their salvation. He would have done the exact opposite instead! Again, in the famous "Lord’s Prayer," we hear the Lord praying to His Father saying: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as THOU HAST GIVEN HIM . . . .I pray for THEM: I pray NOT FOR THE WORLD, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine." (John 17: 2, 9). It surely would appear that if it were His will that all be drawn to Him and saved by Him, that His intercessory prayer would have included all of them.
But obviously, it did not!
To make the negative aspect of this doctrine brief, we will cite only one more passage (out of many) to prove this point. The apostle foretelling of the coming of that "wicked one," writes: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; BECAUSE they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for THIS CAUSE God shall send them STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie: (That God loves every body and wants to save every body) that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Now that is what some might consider being a negative aspect of the truth. Notice, however, the next verse. It sets forth the most positive and sweet part of the subject: "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and BELIEF OF THE TRUTH: whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (verse 13,14).
That, dear friend is very positive!
God chose those His Father gave Him to salvation. As He said:
"Ye have not CHOSEN Me, but I have chosen you."
The Positive: Except the Father Draw Him
"No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day."
"Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO Me, except it were GIVEN UNTO HIM OF My father."
The texts above shows clearly that while no one can come to Christ except God draws him, those that the Father draws will be in the resurrection of the just. In other words, it is imperative that God draw one to Christ if that one is ever to be saved experimentally and everlastingly. This places salvation squarely in the hands of God. It denies any initiation of salvation to be by the efforts of the creature.
It is a very positive declaration. To Jeremiah the prophet, God said:
"Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to CAUSE him to rest. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with LOVINGKINDNESS HAVE I DRAWN THEE."
What a mercy is this!
"I have drawn thee." Jesus had said, "No man can come unto Me except," and this exception is this gracious drawing by the lovingkindness of God.
"Yea," said He, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
We cannot escape the conclusion that one who is drawn to Christ has been loved of God "from the beginning," and therefore has been loved of God from the foundation of the world, or ever the world was. The apostle said even the same, when he wrote:
"according as He chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved"
"With lovingkindness have I drawn thee." That is as to say, "not with violence," but "in love and gentleness." It surely is with "lovingkindness" when God draws one to Himself.
"And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE"
In such a helpless and polluted condition!
Why should God have mercy on such ungodly sinners as this?
Yet, Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. That call is an appointed call. "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the TIME OF LOVE; and I spread My skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou BECAMEST MINE" (verse 8.)
The drawing of one to Christ can be by many different ways. The covenant promise of the everlasting Father to His beloved Son was that "Thy people shall be willing in the day of THY POWER, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth" (Psalm 110:3.)
It is a powerful drawing to Christ Jesus when He in His power makes them willing. If He shows them their sinfulness; their inability to attain an adequate righteousness of their own; that all their religious devotions and legal efforts cannot justify them; then they will flee to Him for His righteousness and consequent justification.
They will, in His own time and way, cause them to finally exclaim, "The Lord our Righteousness" and salvation!
God will teach all His people that they are the chiefest of sinners. He will make them to see what they are by nature in the carnality of Adam’s flesh!
And, He will cause them to come to Him for rest. In fact, Paul declared this to be "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;" of whom he was chief; and that in him, "first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting" (I Timothy 1:15-16.)
The doctrines of God our Savior will draw a believer to Christ often. In our day, the doctrinal downgrade has been highly successful. Modern-day "Christians" have thrown the doctrine of Christ away.
They never knew how important doctrine is!
Without them, they cannot know Christ. His doctrine describes Him. It tells who and what manner of person He is. This Biblical description of Him draws the believer to Him. To wit: "Jesus is a hateful, mean, ugly subhuman creature with horns and a forked tail and cannot save anyone unless they let him."
Is this the Christ we worship?
Of course not!
His doctrine declares Him to be Love.
He is merciful.
He is sovereign.
He does His own will as He pleases.
He has already saved all His people by the sacrifice of Himself.
He effectually call sinners to Himself, and He teaches them all things that they need as they need them.
Without the doctrine of Christ, one cannot know Him. But it is with His doctrine that His people are drawn to Him. His people need a god that is indeed a GOD!
And this He certainly is!
They do not need a helper in salvation; they need a SAVIOR!
And this He certainly is also!
All the great and glorious attributes of God are taught only by the doctrine of Christ. These are all instruments in the hand of God to draw a trembling sinner to the loving arms of a loving and adorable Savior.
By Stanley C. Phillips