Steve Sewell, “Calvinism’s Unsound Interpretation of John 6:37, 44-45”

, posted by Steve Sewell

 

All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

John 6:44-45

44 No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.

This is a key passage for Calvinists for their position of regeneration and irresistible grace. I had a pastor who told me that verse 45 is what convinced him about Calvinism. It’s an important passage regarding the doctrines of election and salvation for both Calvinists and Arminians, and is usually studied in conjunction with John 6:37:

37 All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

I’m going to discuss two Arminian interpretations of these verses – the second being the one that I hold to. But first I’ll give the Calvinist interpretation:

 

Calvinist View

Calvinists see verse 44 as an irresistible drawing of the Father of “the elect” to Christ – such a drawing that it always leads to faith in Christ. God first regenerates us (new-birth), which not only enables us to see the truth, but always results in response to the truth, which is faith in Christ. They believe that since man is spiritually dead in sins (Eph 2:1-5), we’re not able to see or respond to spiritual truth (1 Cor 2:14-15). Thus according to their view, we must first be regenerated (be given a new nature).

Continuing from verse 44, they view 45 as follows: “The elect,” who have been irresistibly “drawn” to Christ via regeneration, are the one’s who “heard” and “learned” from the Father. Those are the one’s who have been chosen by God to believe, and are those whom He “gives” to His Son (vs. 37). In other words, all whom God has chosen to believe unto salvation, will first be regenerated so that they can hear and learn and be given and drawn to Christ.

 

Arminian View One

A common interpretation of John 6:37,44-45 is that Jesus is referring to those who already knew the Father at that time Jesus spoke these words – that is, Old Testament believers who were already in a covenant relationship with God. According to this interpretation, there’s a transition taking place in the book of John, a transition from the Father to the Son. Those who were already true believers would recognize the Father’s voice in Jesus, and would “given” to Him and would “come” to Him. Those were the one’s who had already “heard” and “learned” from the Father before Jesus began His ministry, and would therefore, be “given” to His Son. Those are the one’s who would be “drawn” to Him.

While I agree that there is, indeed, a transition taking place in the book of John from the Father to the Son, I believe it’s too restrictive to apply John 6:37,44-45 to Old Testament believers only. For sure, being aware of this transition is necessary in order to correctly interpret passages such as the following: John 3:21; 5:37-47; 7:17; 8:19; 8:37-47; chapt 10; 16:3.

However, the book of John in general has the salvation of the whole world in view, as the following verses make clear: John 1:9,29; 3:16; 4:14,42; 7:37; 8:12; 9:5; 11:25; 12:32,46; 14:6; 16:8.

The evidence that Jesus has all people in view in 6:37,44-45, is convincing:

John 6:

33 – world

35 – whoever

40 – everyone

47 – whoever

51 – anyone/world

54 – whoever

56 – whoever

57 – whoever

58 – whoever

As you can see, the whole context in which Jesus spoke the words of these verses (6:37,44-45), requires that we interpret what Jesus said with the people of the whole world in view, and not just the believing Jews of His day.

The comparison that Jesus makes between the manna of the Old Testament and the bread (Himself) of the New Testament, also points to a all people interpretation. We will look at this in detail later.

All due respect to my Arminian brothers who hold to this transition interpretation, I think it takes these three verses (6:37,44-45) out of the discussion about how all people come to faith in Christ; I don’t believe that’s what Jesus had in mind here. On the contrary, I believe the whole context suggests that this passage was given to us as a key to aid in our understanding regarding the doctrine of salvation (soteriology) – for all mankind.

Note: Proponents of this position may also believe that Jesus has everyone else in view as a secondary application. In other words, while Jesus primarily has the believing Jews of His day in mind, what He says here also applies to how everyone else comes to salvation.

My position on John 6:37,44-45 (view two below) is in the reverse of this position. Again, I don’t deny that there’s a transition going on from the Father to the Son in this book, but in the context of this particular discussion, I believe Jesus’ primary focus is on all people of the world, while the believing Jews is a secondary focus.

 

Arminian View Two

I believe there are two keys to understanding this passage:

Key One: It’s commonly understood among Bible teachers that context is everything. However, the Calvinist interpretation of regeneration and irresistible grace of the “elect few” really fails here. To interpret this passage correctly, we have to first identify the context in which it’s given. We see the context of John 6:37,44-45 between verses 26 and 58. I will not quote the whole context, but I encourage you to do so in your Bible.

The context of this passage is about the manna of the Old Testament, and of Jesus, the bread (manna) of the New Testament. To understand what Jesus was teaching, we have to go back to the Old Testament to read about this manna of which He spoke:

Exodus 16:33-35

31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.  32 And Moses said, This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded, Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread wherewith I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.  33 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omerful of manna therein, and lay it up before Jehovah, to be kept throughout your generations. 34 As Jehovah commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.  35 And the children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat the manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

Psalm 78:23-24

23 Yet he commanded the skies above, And opened the doors of heaven; 24 And he rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven.

That’s our background for the New Testament:

Hebrews 9:1-5

1 Now even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and its sanctuary, a sanctuary of this world.  2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the first, wherein were the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the Holy place. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holy of holies; 4 having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was a golden pot holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat; of which things we cannot now speak severally.

John 6:48-51

48 I am the bread of life.  49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  50 This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.

As we can see, manna was food that God provided for the children of Israel to sustain them during their forty years in the wilderness. As a memorial of God’s grace and faithfulness of His provision, they were instructed to put a sample of this manna in a jar to be kept throughout their generations. A sample was also put in “the Testimony,” the “Ark of the Covenant” (Ex 16:33-34; He 9:4).

This manna was not only provision for their daily food, it was also a type of Christ, who is the “true bread out of Heaven” (Jn 6:32). Just as the manna from Heaven was given to the children of Israel to give them life (physical), so was Jesus, the true manna (bread) from Heaven, given to the world to give them life (spiritual) – everlasting life.

What needs to be understood about this manna, is that it was given to everyone, whether they were true believers in Yahweh or not. Anyone who ate of this manna, received nourishment to sustain their life. It was not for a select few individuals. Nor was anyone irresistibly drawn to this food. This manna was offered to all, and it was up to them to either receive it or reject it. Those who ate of it, were nourished and sustained. It was offered by God’s grace, and freely received by those who were willing.

Therefore, in order to interpret what Jesus means in John 6:37,44-45, we must interpret it according to what Jesus reveals in the overall context of His discussion. To do so otherwise is contrary to proper rules of interpretation. To ignore the comparison Jesus makes between the “manna” of the OT and to Himself, as the “bread” of the NT, is to miss who it is that Jesus was talking about. The context provides the correct identity.

The context alone tells us how not to interpret Jn 6:37,44-45 – and that would be the Calvinist interpretation of irresistible grace of a select few. Based on what Jesus taught between verses 26 and 58, that view must be rejected. It’s simply not in harmony with the context that Jesus Himself provided.

To further refute this idea of irresistible grace of “the elect,” let’s return to the OT and read about Cain:

Genesis 4:3-7

3 As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat of it. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering, 5 but he didn’t respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell. 6 Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.” WEB

Cain was not a believer in Yahweh. He was thus spiritually dead in his sins (Eph 2:1-5). Yet, God spoke to him, and Cain heard. He heard God’s voice. In fact, Genesis 4:9-16 shows that they actually carried on a conversation. God revealed to Cain that he still had the opportunity to “do well” in His eyes, but he refused (in pride). This reveals that he had a choice that could have been made from a free will: “but you are to rule over it.”

Cain’s parents, too, Adam and Eve. They were created sinless, in perfect fellowship with God – never experienced sin, never knew anything about it. Yet, they still chose to disobey God rather than remain obedient. Thus we see that both before and after the fall, there is a demonstration of a free will.

Yet, Calvinists insist that those who are spiritually dead are unable to hear the voice of God, and unable to make a decision to choose Christ in such a state. They insist that sinners must first be regenerated so that they are able to hear, and then must be irresistibly drawn to choose Christ. However, this account of Cain proves that man is able to hear the voice of God in their unregenerate state, which also indicates that it’s not necessary to be regenerated to make a decision for Christ. Again, God gave Cain the opportunity to turn, but he refused in pride.

 

Key Two: The other key to understanding and properly interpreting what Jesus said in John 6:37,44-45, is what I refer to as God’s Law of Grace and Humility. While the Bible does not refer to this as a law of God, it most certainly is. Both James and Peter state it plainly, and is taught throughout the Bible:

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”  (James 4:6)

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5:5)

In regard to the gospel message that’s taught today, little is ever mentioned about the role of humility in one coming to faith in Christ. Yet, humility is an absolute requirement for salvation. The subject of humility isn’t given the consideration that it should. Furthermore, I believe an understanding of its role in salvation allows us to correctly interpret what Jesus means in our text here in John. In order to save space and to make it easier to follow this study, I’m providing a link to one of my articles that discusses this subject in detail, instead of including it into the text here. Don’t bypass this read, as it has an important role in interpreting John 6:37, 44-45:

Four Points Against Calvinism’s Regeneration and Irresistible Grace

God grants the grace of salvation only to those who receive the gospel message out of a heart of humility. They hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, they’re convicted of their sins, their need of forgiveness is revealed to them, their will is freed, and they respond with sincere repentance while trusting in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Put another way, a person hears the gospel message, the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes and grants them understanding, while convicting them of their sins and revealing their need for Jesus as Lord and Savior – while freeing their will. This work of the Holy Spirit enables a person to believe and receive Christ, which requires humility. The freeing of the will enables both faith and humility.

Faith and humility go hand in hand. There is no true faith apart from humility. True humility recognizes one’s sinfulness and helplessness apart from Christ. True humility recognizes the Lordship of Christ, and willingly surrenders to it. Faith must have an object. Thus saving faith recognizes Christ for who He is, and responds accordingly.

On the other hand, God does not grant the grace of salvation to those who hear the gospel message and reject it out of a heart of pride. They hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit opens their eyes and grants them understanding, convicts them of their sins, reveals their need for Jesus as Lord and Savior, but they reject Him. This illuminating work of the Holy Spirit enables them to believe and receive Christ, but they reject Him out of a heart of pride.

 

Prevenient Grace Obvious:

That the Holy Spirit is at work within us prior to regeneration should be obvious, whether it be through the light of creation or through the light of God’s Word or through the light within us (Ro 2:14-17).

For example, it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I first read the clear plan of salvation. Yet, throughout my life as a kid, from 2 or 3 years old onward, I was being taught certain things about God and about Jesus and about the Bible. Whatever light was given to me, I believed it. Throughout the years prior to being introduced to God’s plan of salvation, I believed the things I was taught about God and about Jesus – as little as that may have been. In other words, little by little my eyes were being opened to the truth, little by little my understanding was growing. Each time – by God’s grace – I responded to the light and truth that was given to me…. till the day that I read for the first time the gospel of Jesus Christ. By that time, I was ready to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior. All those years the Holy Spirit was granting me light and preparing me for the Good News of Jesus Christ. That was as an unforgiven and unregenerate sinner!

To deny that the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us before we’re born again, is to deny the testimony that is common among Christians. If you’re a Calvinist reading this, I encourage you to look back over your life before you came to faith in Christ, and be honest about what you see. Is there evidence of pre-salvation work of the Holy Spirit that eventually led you to trust in Christ? If so, then the conclusion should be obvious – we do not need to be regenerated in order to hear the voice of God or to understand the truth.

 

With those Two Keys as our foundation, we’re now ready to interpret the words of Jesus in our text:

John 6:37,44-45

37 All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  44 No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day.  45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.

 

The plan of salvation is the Father’s:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)

The one’s whom the Father “gives” to the Son are those who believe, that is, those who believe out of a sincere heart of humility. When a person hears the truth, and they recognize (believe) it as something they need and are ready to receive, then it’s at that moment that the pathway to Jesus is opened, and the Father “gives” that person to His Son (Jn 6:37).

Think of it this way: The Father gives His Son to die on the cross for the sins of everyone who comes into the world (Jn 3:16), but says to His Son, “I do not give you all, but only those who believe.”

The simplicity of this shouldn’t surprise anyone. The whole New Testament reveals that the way of salvation is through faith. Those who recognize their need, and believe with a sincere heart of humility, the pathway to Jesus is granted. In other words, God grants the grace of salvation….and it’s at the moment of salvation that one is regenerated. Faith must precede regeneration.

 

Verse 45:

“It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Everyone that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.”

The “everyone” who “hears” and “learns,” must be defined according to the definition that James gives us:

James 1:22

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.

No one can “come” to Jesus unless they have been “taught by God.” Those who have “heard” and “learned” from the Father, refers to those who respond to His “drawing” from a heart of humility and faith and surrender (“doers of the word, and not hearers only”). It’s not simply head-knowledge, but believing from the core of one’s heart and soul. It’s the heart of humility that leads to surrender to God’s will. It’s this humble surrender to the truth that opens the pathway to Jesus. The Father sees the humility of faith, and extends the grace of salvation (being “given” to His Son).

“they shall all be taught of God”

Jesus quotes this from Isaiah:

[What follows may be a little difficult to follow, but what Jesus reveals here provides another key in interpreting what He says in verses 37 and 44-45.]

Isaiah 54:11-14

11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set thy stones in fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. 12 And I will make thy pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of precious stones. 13 And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.  

This is a prophecy about the children of Israel, that is, the spiritual children of Israel in Christ – those who are of the faith of Abraham:

Romans 2:28-29

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Romans 9:6-8

6 But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel:  7 neither, because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed.

Galatians 3:16, 26-29

16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.  27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. 28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.

Let’s review the context in which Jesus spoke John 6:37, 44-45. First we see the comparison Jesus made between the manna of the Old Testament and the “manna” of the New Testament – referring to Himself as the “true bread out of Heaven” (Jn 6:32). We learned that this manna was a type of Christ, revealing that just as the manna of the OT provided physical life and was offered to all, so does the “manna” (bread – Jesus) of the NT provide spiritual life and is offered to all. The context makes this certain.

At the same time, in verse 45, Jesus quotes from an OT passage that has believers in view – the spiritual children of Israel in Christ (Is 54:11-15). As we see in the above NT passages, the true children of Israel are those who are the spiritual children of Abraham, who are “of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Ro 4:16) – consisting of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles in Christ.

This passage in Isaiah speaks of the Elect Church, which has its ultimate fulfillment in the Eternal Kingdom (Rev 21 and 22). When we compare this Isaiah passage with Revelation 21:9-27 – where the Apostle John describes the New Jerusalem –  it’s evident that he had this Isaiah passage in mind.

Therefore, when Jesus quotes Isaiah, He has all believers in mind, who are the spiritual children of Israel – the spiritual children of Abraham. All believers in Christ are “taught by God,” which begins with the gospel of Jesus Christ as applied by the Holy Spirit to each individual. Thus while Jesus has all believers in mind as He’s quoting Isaiah, He does so in the context of all people (Jn 6:26-52).

We must conclude, then, that when Jesus spoke of those who have “heard” and “learned” from the Father, He had in mind the means by which those in the Isaiah passage come to be spiritual children of Israel (Abraham) – [which was still future at that time]. That of course is through faith! Or more precisely, through the humility of faith. In other words, the one’s Jesus had in mind are those who respond in faith to what they “hear” and “learn.” That’s what true hearing and learning is.

None of us can understand the truth unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. Thus we must all “hear” and “learn” from the Father. Those who receive it, are “given” to His Son. Those who truly “hear” and “learn” are those who do so out of a heart of humility, where salvation occurs.

To be clear on this, “learned” here is not simply the acquiring of knowledge and understanding, but of learning in the sense that it’s being received. No one truly learns apart from application. Otherwise, it’s merely head-knowledge.

True learning is like the person who says, “I learned my lesson this time!” What he means is, that he has so learned that he will never do the same thing again. He’s taking a course of action based on what he has learned. It’s the same thing that we see in this verse. Jesus is referring to the kind of learning that involves the proper response: the response of faith and humble submission to Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

“Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.

I want to make it clear that what Jesus says here in verse 45, does not mean that people are unable to resist the work of the Holy Spirit within them. Their eyes can be opened to the truth, but they can resist it in self-will and pride –  they  can close their heart to what’s being revealed to them. They may “hear” and “learn,” but not in the sense that Jesus means here in this verse. Thus Jesus is not talking about those individuals or that group of people in this verse. The “hearing” and “learning” in this verse is being applied to those who open their heart to the truth in humility before God.

I don’t want you to have any doubts about this. Jesus spoke the words of John 6:37,44-45 within the context of all people, that all people are offered salvation through Him, and are all being “drawn” to Him, and not just a certain “elect few.” The context absolutely demands this interpretation. Thus when Jesus referred to those who “hath heard from the Father, and hath learned,” He was referring to those who “learn” in the sense of receiving it in faith and humility. Those are the one’s whom Jesus sees in the Isaiah passage (Is 54:11-14).

Calvinists will still object by saying that the “everyone” in verse 45, precludes the possibility of anyone resisting once they “hear” and “learn” the truth, but will in fact go to Jesus (“come to me”)….and can, thus, only refer to “the elect.” But as we’ve already seen, James disproves that idea (Ja 1:22).

I’ve gone out of my way to show that the context clearly requires the interpretation that salvation is available to all people. Thus the idea of salvation being provided for an “elect few” has to be forced into the discussion, contrary to what Jesus has revealed in this passage of John 6:26-58.

Plus we have to define what Jesus means by “hearing” and “learning.” We’ve already done that too. Since we know that Jesus makes this statement (verse 45) in the context of all people, we know that everyone must be given the opportunity to “hear” and “learn” in order to be saved. Those who “hear” the message of Christ, and “learn,” are those who do so out of a willing heart of humility. Those are the one’s who go to Jesus in faith – “comes to me.” Those who believe, are given to the Son.

With that in mind, we’ll finish this discussion of verse 45 the same way we started it, with confirmation from James (1:22) – that it’s not those who merely hear and learn that Jesus is talking about, but those who “hear” and “learn” in the manner (“doers”) that gets them into the Elect group of believers He sees in Isaiah 54:11-14, which is the Elect Church:

For Jesus and James to be in harmony, they who “hear” and “learn” must be identified as those who are “doers of the word.” In other words, those whom He sees in the Isaiah passage – which, corporately, is the Elect Church will “hear” and “learn” in the manner that makes them a member of the Elect Church, which is through the response of humility before Christ as they place their faith in Him.

The rest who hear and learn the truth from the Father (those who don’t hear and learn in the intended manner in which Jesus is referring to), are those who do so in rebellion to it. Those individuals are not in view in verse 45. Those are the individuals who “hear,” but don’t “do.” Only those who “do” are in view in verse 45. Those are the one’s whom Jesus is talking about.

The “everyone” are all those who “hear” and “learn” in the humility of faith (“doers of the word”), that results in salvation . Those who don’t “hear” and “learn” unto salvation, are those whom James describes as “hearers,” but not “doers.” His point, of course, is that there’s no value in that kind of “hearing.” That’s exactly the same way that verse 45 is to be understood.

 

Verse 44:

No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day.”

Those who are “drawn” to Christ unto salvation, do so via the “hearing” and “learning” of verse 45. Everyone is being drawn to Christ, but only those who are drawn unto salvation will be “raised up in the last day.”

As we’ve already discussed, Calvinists believe this refers to a type of drawing that always results in faith and salvation. However, as I argued before, it’s unreasonable to suppose that this drawing to Christ by the Holy Spirit is any different than the drawing by the Holy Spirit of the believer to obedience. As all Christians know, this drawing in our lives is certainly resistible, for we all do at times still choose to sin and go our own way.

Therefore this “drawing” should be viewed, not as irresistible, but as it is in our own lives as Christians:

Divine influence through enlightenment, which leads to experienced empowerment via a yielded humility or a yielded will.

I believe that definition accurately and precisely describes the type of “drawing” that Jesus is referring to.

Everyone worldwide is being “drawn” to Christ, as He Himself said:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself”. (Jn 12:32)

All people are being drawn to Christ, and those who “hear” and “learn” with a heart of humility and faith, are “given” to Jesus, and He “will raise him up in the last day” (Jn 6:39).

Again, the simplicity of this interpretation shouldn’t surprise us, considering that faith is the very requirement for salvation. In the context of John 6:37,44,45, belief is the central focus (Jn 6:29,35,36,40,47).

 

Verse 37:

All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

The pathway to Jesus is opened to those who believe with a heart of humility. Those are the one’s whom the Father “gives” to His Son (Jn 6:39).

Again, think of it this way: The Father gives His Son to die on the cross for the sins of everyone who comes into the world (Jn 3:16), but says to His Son, “I do not give you all, but only those who believe.”.

 

Summary

When Jesus refers to those who “hear” and “learn,” He’s talking about those who receive the truth from a sincere heart of humility, and then go to Jesus in faith – “come to me.” Those are “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (Ja 1:22). When the Father sees this humility of faith, He “gives” them to His Son.  

This verse (45) does not include those who merely hear and learn, and reject it out of a heart of pride. Those individuals are not in view in this verse.

This whole process is the result of the “drawing” unto Christ of all mankind. Since we’re dead in our sins (Eph 2;1-5), we’re not able to seek God. He must seek us first. We must all be “taught by God.” We then must respond Him in faith.

 

Conclusion

I’ve explained this passage of John 6 in many different ways to help you understand what Jesus is talking about in these verses. The Arminian interpretation is completely in context and based on solid exegesis. The Calvinist interpretation is missing it on both fronts.

The Calvinist version of regeneration is a foundational doctrine for them, so if  proven to be false, the walls of Calvinism must fall. Without their “regeneration preceding faith” and “irresistible grace” doctrines, what do they have left? How do they explain how “the elect” are “given” and “drawn” to Christ? I don’t believe there’s any reasonable way they can.

 

To read original article, click on The Arminian Files