January 9, 2023
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
As the PCA approaches its 50th anniversary celebration and anticipates the next half-century ahead, Lord willing, we must resolve afresh never to lose our grip on the doctrines of grace, so aptly summarized by the “five points of Calvinism.” Dr. J. I. Packer has taught us in his introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ that the five points are really making one point: God saves sinners. We cease to insist upon this point to our spiritual and institutional peril. To see all five petals of the one TULIP plainly and powerfully set forth, one needs only to survey the gospel of John, in particular John 6 and John 10.
Our text, John 6:37-39, come on the heels of Jesus’s miracle of feeding the multitude and his provocative discussion with the crowds regarding God’s provision of manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. He has declared himself to be the true bread from heaven that gives life to anyone and everyone who come to him in faith (John 6:32-35), and has affirmed the depravity that refuses to believe in him in spite of having seen him (John 6:36). Then in the span of the next three verses he states the foundation of a gracious, sovereign salvation.
1. Unconditional Election: “All that the Father gives me…” Before times eternal, the Father promised to give the Son a people to be his holy bride (Titus 1:2). He chose us not based on who we were or what we had done, but according to His eternal purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9).
2. Irresistible Grace: “…will come to me…” We come only because the Father draws us effectually by His Spirit (John 6:44). Having been born of God, we receive Christ Jesus and believe in his name (John 1:12). All of those, and only those, who have been given by the Father to the Son come to the Son.
3. Preservation of the Saints: “…and whoever comes to me I will never cast out… And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” Those the Father has chosen from before the foundation of the world, for whom the Shepherd Son has laid down His life on the cross (John 10:14-15), whom the Spirit has regenerated unto saving faith in the Son (Titus 3:6-7) – these the Son will never send away from himself or lose them out of His powerful hand (John 10:28), but will ensure that they are raised to eternal life on the last day (John 6:40).
The will of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is one – to save an innumerable company of sinners by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. In our confidence in the Reformed faith, which arises from the clear teaching of the Scriptures, let us go forth to fulfill the great commission, boldly offering Christ as freely as he offered himself: “Whosoever comes to Jesus shall not hunger, and whosoever believes in him shall never thirst” (John 6:35)!
Caleb Cangelosi is the senior pastor of Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church in Ridgeland, Mississippi