JeremiahCry Ministries

The Gospel By Paul Washer

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Cause Of God And Truth By John Gill

Part 2 Chapter 2
Section 6—John 6:37.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

These words contain three of the most glorious truths of the Gospel, namely, the doctrines of particular election, efficacious grace in conversion, and the final perseverance of the saints.

1st. The doctrine of particular election. The all, pan, design not the apostles only, who were given to Christ as such; for these did not all, in a spiritual manner, come to him, and believe in him, one of them was a devil; much less every individual of mankind. These are in some sense given to Christ, to subserve some ends of his mediatorial kingdom, and are subject to his power and control; yet do not come to him, believe in him (2 Thess. 3:8), all men have not faith; but the whole body of the elect, who, when they were chosen by God the Father, were given, and put into the hands of Christ, and therefore are said to be chosen in him (Eph. 1:4): he was chosen as head, and they as members of him. God made a covenant with him, as the head of the election of grace; in which he gave his chosen people to him as his seed, his spouse, his sheep, his portion and inheritance, and to be saved by him with an everlasting salvation. This was done before time; otherwise how could these persons be blessed with all spiritual blessings, and have grace given to them in Christ, before the world began; if their persons had not also been given to Christ, and secured in him? And though Christ here expresses this act of his Father’s in the present tense, all that the Father didwsi, giveth me, perhaps to express the continuance and unchangeableness of it; yet he expresses it in verse 39, in the past tense, all that dedwle, he hath given me, and respects an act of God, antecedent to coming to Christ, and believing in him; which is the faith of God’s elect, the fruit and effect of electing love; for as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed (Acts 13:48). Now to this sense of the words the following things are objected.

1. "That[1] to be given of the Father, cannot signify to be absolutely chosen by God to eternal life; for then the Jews could not be reasonably accused for not coming to Christ, or not believing on him; much less could it be imputed to them as their great crime, that they would not come to him, or believe in him; since upon this supposition none could come but whom God had chosen." I answer, There is a difference between coming to Christ, and believing on him as the Messiah, or giving a bare assent to him as such, and coming to him as a Savior, or believing in him for life and salvation. The Jews might be reasonably accused for not believing on him as the Messiah, whom the Father had sent; since they had such a demonstration of his being so from his character, miracles, and doctrines; though none but those among them, whom the Father had given to Christ, could believe in him to the saving of their souls. And even not coming to Christ, and believing in him, in this spiritual manner, when he is revealed in the external ministry of the word, as God’s way of salvation, is criminal and blameworthy, notwithstanding men’s want of both will and power; since this does not arise from any decree of God, but from the corruption of nature through sin: and this being blameworthy, what follows upon it, or is the effect of it, must be so too.

2. "Hence it must follow (it is said) that Christ could not reasonably have invited them to come to him, or called them to believe in him, who were not given him of the Father; since he well knew they could never come."[2] I reply, that Christ, as a preacher of the Gospel, and a minister of the circumcision, might exhort the Jews in general to labor for, that is use the means of obtaining the meat which endures unto eternal life; he might inform them, that this is the work of God, which he himself works, as well as commands, that they believe in him whom he hath sent; he might say to them, My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, since he, who is the Bread of life, was come down from heaven, and was among them; and these things he might say unto them, that they might be saved, without any prejudice to the doctrine of particular election, and with a special view to the good of those among them his Father had given to him. And after all, it will not be easily proved, that Christ ever invited any to come in a spiritual way to him, and believe in him savingly, but such as the Father had given him. The words in Matthew 9:28, are directed, not to unconverted sinners, much less reprobates, but to such who were under a work of the Spirit of God, laboring, and being heavy laden, with a sense of sin, and breathing and seeking after spiritual rest.

3. It is further objected,[3] that "were this so, the Jews must have just occasion to complain of Christ and of his doctrine, as being that which revealed to them their eternal and inevitable reprobation, and made it; not only necessary, but even equitable to reject him; because the blessings which he tendered belonged not to them in general, but only to some few, who by the Father should be given to him." It is true, indeed, that the doctrine of Christ was oftentimes very expressive of God’s special and distinguishing grace, which raised loud complaints, and even indignation (See Luke 4:25-28), in the Jews against him, but without any just occasion or reason; since the grace of God is his own, and he may do with it as he pleases, and give it to whom he will. And as for their destruction, it was wholly owing to themselves; nor had they any just occasion, by Christ’s doctrine, to complain of any but themselves, who ought to have been received by them as the Messiah; by whom it was necessary and equitable he should be received, and not rejected, even by those who were not given of the Father to him. Though Christ did not offer or tender the blessings of grace to any, much less to them in general; but as a preacher of the Gospel, published the truths of it to all; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, dispensed the blessings of it to those who were (not should be)given him by the Father.

4. It is observed,[4] that "Christ here gives a reason why they believed not, namely, Ye have seen, and believed not; because ye are not given to me of my Father. Now it is reasonable to conceive this reason should agree with all the other reasons assigned of their infidelity; which yet are manifestly founded, not on anything wanting on the part of God, but in themselves." But it should be observed, that Christ is not here giving a reason why some believed not, but rather why others did, and would believe, while some remained unbelievers in him, who saw his miracles; when others, even all those the Father had given to him, should come to him, and believe in him, and so never perish. But admitting that Christ here gives a reason of the infidelity of some; it is such an one in the sense of it contended for, that is agreeable to other reasons of infidelity elsewhere assigned; such as, Ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God (John 8:47), do not belong to him, are none of his, neither chosen of him, nor born of him: and in another place, Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep (John 10:26), whom the Father has given me, and made my care and charge.

5. It is said,[5] that "the true import of this phrase, To be given of the Father," is,

(1.) To be convinced by the miracles which God wrought by Christ, that he was the Messiah; which appears from the description Christ gives of the persons the Father had given him (John 17:8), and from a like expression in the book of Deuteronomy. On which I observe, that as the miracles Christ wrought were by the Spirit of God, so the conviction which came by them, was by the same hand. Hence such who denied Jesus to be the Messiah, against such conviction, sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is unpardonable; whence it follows, that since conviction by miracles that Jesus was the Messiah, is not the act of the Father, but the work of the Spirit; therefore to be so convinced, is not the true import of this phrase. And admitting such conviction to be the act of God the Father; yet this is what is wrought internally in the consciences of men, and not an act towards them, or concerning them, as this of giving them to Christ is. Add to this, that some persons were convinced by miracles, that Jesus was the Messiah, who never came to him in a spiritual saving way, or believed in him to the saving of their souls, though they might give their assent to his being the Messiah; whereas these words declare, that all that the Father giveth to Christ shall come to him, and never be cast out, or perish. Nor does this sense of the phrase appear from the description of those who were given to Christ in John 17:8, which is spoken of Christ’s disciples; for though these saw his miracles, and believed on him, and knew that he came from God, and was sent by him, yet this was not all: Christ manifested his Father’s name, person and glory, mind and will, his love and grace, to these men which he gave him out of the world; which donation of them to him was made antecedent to their seeing of his miracles, and believing in him, to the manifestation of his Father’s name unto them. The passage referred to in Deuteronomy (Deut. 29:3, 4.) is not all to the purpose; since it appears from thence that miracles may be wrought, and yet not be taken notice of, or men may not be convinced by them: which was the case of the Israelites, to whom. the Lord did not give an heart to perceive, and eyes to see. For to read the words with an interrogation, is contrary to the ancient and modern versions; and still more impertinent is this passage alleged to prove this to be the import of the phrase under consideration.

(2.) It is also urged,[6] that such "are said to be given of the Father to Christ, who are so convinced by his miracles of the truth of the promise or eternal life, as to expect to receive it by faith in him, and obedience to his doctrine; and were so affected with it, as to esteem it above all other things; and so were willing to apply themselves to those duties by which this life might be acquired, and to reject and quit those things which might obstruct them in the prosecution of it." This sense of the phrase not only makes eternal life to be acquired by men’s duties, contrary to its being both a promise of grace, and a gift by it, but also makes this act of the Father’s to consist in a revelation of the promise of eternal life, and in a conviction of the truth of it by the miracles of Christ; when such a revelation and conviction of the truth of it by the miracles of Christ; when such a revelation and conviction are to be ascribed not to the Father of Christ, but to the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, whose proper business it is to convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (Eph. 1:17; John 16:8); and so of the truth of the promise, and of their need of enjoyment of eternal life by Christ. And, supposing all this to be done by the Father, yet this regards something internal in the minds and consciences of men; and not an act concerning them, as is the giving of them to Christ; which is no other than interesting him in them, putting them into his hands, and him into the possession of them, making them his care and charge; which was done when they were chosen in him unto eternal life before the foundation of the world. To this I take leave to add the two following observations; though they do not properly fall under this head of discourse. That,

2ndly The doctrine of efficacious grace in conversion is strongly asserted in these words; for such who are given in eternal election, and in the everlasting covenant of grace to Christ, shall in time come unto him, that is, believe in him. Which is not to be ascribed to any power and will in them, but to the power and grace of God; for there is not in them naturally, any will, desire, or inclination, to come to Christ for life; they had rather go any where else, than to him for it; for no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him (John 6:44). It is not here said, that such who are given to Christ have a power to come to him, or may come if they will; but they shall come, efficacious grace will bring them to Christ as poor perishing sinners, to venture on him for life and salvation.

3rdly The doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance may be established on this text; for such who come to Christ in a spiritual manner, and are brought to believe in him truly and really, he not only receives them kindly, but keeps and preserves them, and will not east them out. The words are very strongly and emphatically expressed in the original, ou mh ekbalw exw, I will not, not, or never, never, we render it in nowise cast out without, or cast out of doors. Christ will never cast them out of his affections, nor out of his arms, nor out of that family that is named of him, nor out of or from his church, which is his body, and of which they are members, nor out of a state of justification and salvation; and therefore they shall never perish, but have everlasting life.

[1] Whitby P. 51, 52; Limborch, p. 347.
[2] Whitby, p. 51, 52.
[3] Ibid. p. 53; ed. 2.52.
[4] Whitby, p. 53; ed. 2.52.
[5] Whitby, p. 54, 55; ed. 2.53, 54.
[6] Whitby, p. 56; ed. 2.54, 55.

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