But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 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. 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. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.John 6:36-41
Many times people come to this text and trip themselves up trying to figure out who is saved and who is not saved based on their reaction to the gospel message. That is not the point of this passage at all. In fact, I think Jesus is teaching againstthe very principle behind this misunderstanding.
Salvation is not about man’s will. It is by God’s will. Period.
This portion of scripture clearly teaches the doctrine of election and, along with election comes, eternal security. There is an exact (very large) number of people that God gave to Jesus before the world began in the covenant of election (Ephesians 1:4). Jesus says that He will never cast those elect away from Him. Therefore, they are eternally secure. All of these actions are by and in accordance with the will of God. Man’s will is not considered at all, nor does it have any positive or negative effect on what God in Jesus Christ has done.
The people that Jesus is responding to have been continually pushing their own will and desires. Jesus plainly teaches them that is not how salvation works.
Let us consider, for a moment, the doctrine that teaches salvation is by man’s will and choice. Why does the person choose Christ? What is the motivation. The natural response is they want to go to heaven. Think about that for a second. The only reason they choose to “let” Christ save them is for their own benefit. Isn’t that the very problem that Jesus is confronting here? If Jesus can only help those that will choose Him, then what does this passage mean?
The answer is simple. Believing on Jesus is an evidence that a person is part of the covenant of election that Jesus describes here. The choice to believe and follow does not cause everlasting life, it is evidence that they have it. Notice, the seeing and believing are not conditions to be met but descriptions of facts – evidences.
Just three chapters earlier, John records a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus where Jesus teaches the necessity of the new birth. He tells Nicodemus not to marvel at the need because it not anything that he or any other person can do. It is a work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the exact same work is done to every child of God.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.John 3:8
If everyone is born again the same way then belief cannot be a causative factor in the new birth because there are millions of babies killed in the womb, and more people that live in a state where the cannot comprehend the spoken or written word. What happens to these groups of people? The do not have the ability or opportunity to believe. Some will say, “Well those are the exceptions to the rule.” Really? Show me that in the Bible.
The fact is Jesus meant what He said. Everyone is born again the same way. It is by the irresistible grace and power of God. And, as we will see in the next few verses, this means that God does it all to us and for us. We cannot help Him. We cannot stop Him. We just get blessed!
Now that is grace.