Rebecca has fired her pellet gun at my so-called ability duck and will surely knock the Archive back down to TTLB?s Slimy Molusk level. Realize that the words written here may disagree with her stance, but I still see her as a sister and I believe she still will see me as a brother. Therefore, read any commentary with that knowledge and if you are a firm believer of Total Depravity in the Calvinist sense, realize that I am fallen?just like yourself?and we both have been saved by God?s grace (Eph 2:8).
Rebecca and I have much common ground?indeed her preamble outlines the very reason that the righteous works of men prove to be filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in light of God?s righteousness. This is why men find themselves woefully inadequate. For the Law is good and perfect but men have a problem with submission and are in enmity against God in the flesh and mind and therefore cannot please Him (Eph 2; Romans 8:7,8; Col 1:21-22 ; Romans 7). It can even be said that the Law was too perfect with the purpose to teach men their imperfection as children under the tutelage of the Schoolmaster and be brought to Christ (Gal 3:24).
Rebecca has brought up John 6:44, 64 and 65 proving that God is the one who allows people to come to Him and barring that none can come to Him. The text tells us that the Father draws and she made sure to protect her flank by offering up John 12:32 where Jesus says He will draw all men to Himself and questioning the translation based on context. After all, we both know that the same word for ?draw? is used in both passages and yet she also concludes that believing that Jesus draws all men to Himself will inevitably lead to universalism?that is, that all mankind will be saved. She further protected her other side by pointing out that she has yet to see a good exegesis of John 6 which doesn?t butcher the context.
I agree wholeheartedly that one must read scripture in context. The context of John 6:44, thus far, has Jesus saying such things as ?whosoever believes in Him may have eternal life? (3:15), ?unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe? (4:48), ?the Son gives life to whom He will? (5:21), ?whosoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life? (5:24), ?How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?? (5:44), ?If you believed Moses, you would believe Me? (5:46), ?Do not labor for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life? (6:27), ?But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe? (6:36).
John has also chosen to document the following: John the Baptist (who the people acknowledged was a prophet) pointing Jesus out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29), the wine into water (2:1-11), the cleaning out of the temple (2:12-22), John?s further testimony (John 3:30-36), the conversion of many Samaritans (4:42), the healing of an official’s son (4:48-54), the healing of an infirmed man (5:1-14), Jesus declaring Himself equal with the Father and subsequent witnesses of this fact (5:15-47), the feeding of a multitude (6:1-15), Jesus walking on water (6:16-21)?besides all the other things that Jesus has done that is evidenced in the other Gospels. Surely we don?t want to forget the overall context of the book that there were many other signs and things that Jesus did?but these few were written that the reader would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing on Him the reader would have life (20:30)?
I?ll submit that the very structure of the book also bears testimony of John?s purpose for writing it. Consisting of four trips ?up to Jerusalem? and back north to Galilee where we witness an inspection of their worship practices and their rejection of Jesus. I won?t bother establishing this with more verses since it merits its own post really.
Jesus in John 6 goes on to point out that the flesh profits nothing but the very words that he has spoken are spirit and are life but there were still some of them who did not believe. He?s obviously exasperated after their constancy in not getting the message. They have profaned His Father?s house, they have ignored the testimony of the signs, they have sought Him only to fulfill the desire of their bellies and when it comes to a head they ask what work do they have to do and what sign does he perform?even though he has just shown a huge sign. Constantly rejecting His testimony and the testimony of His signs, John the Baptist, the Father, Moses and the Scriptures. In light of this impending precariousness, Jesus highlights the extreme greatness of what He offers versus what they?re looking for?eternal satisfaction versus temporary filling.
The Jews began complaining and outright rejecting His witnesses and attributing His Sonship to Joseph. He asks them why they?re complaining? It?s obvious that God is the one who draws men for the ones who are taught by, hear and listen to the Father come to Christ. And in that day Jesus was the one who was outright explaining the Father to the people with signs and wonders and words (John 1:18). They were proving to be untaught by ignoring the witness of Moses?attributing God?s provision to Moses, ignoring the source of the bread of life from heaven. In their personal hardness they ignored the truth of His words and focused on the flesh?not accepting God?s lesson and provision they proved that although they were taught by God for years, they were never believers of God else they would have known Jesus (8:19; 14:7; 15:24)
John further documents Christ?s increasing provision to get these people and indeed, all people (if possible) to believe. Christ is raised up on the cross to draw all men to Himself?how so? Not in the universal salvation of all, but in demonstrating who He is by the fact that men have pinned Him to the cross, judging Him as the worst possible offender, but God raised Him up victorious. Jesus also tells us that He will send His Spirit to convict the world of sin because of their unbelief, of righteousness because He is going to the Father, and of judgment for the ruler of the world has been judged (16:7-10). So in the saving of souls we see the Godhead working in unity in the hearts of men.
The Father teaching and those who hear and learn believe in the Son. The Son dying and attracting via His resurrection and those who believe in Him believe the Father. The Holy Spirit convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment and those who are convicted and repent are therefore taught by God?rinse and repeat (Mark 1:15).
I now speak as a fool: Was Jesus surprised? I mean, He is found constantly battling with the Jews after having told them that they can?t respond?why is He belaboring the point? Why not just walk away or is it to further condemn them? Why bother yelling at dead men if they can?t hear you anyway? I?ll offer this, He preached to them so that they could believe and to offer them the chance to do as they will but they amplified their sin and guilt by hearing his message, understanding it and rejecting it.
Surely they didn?t hear the message did they? No but they did hear it. The message went far and wide and was further evidenced in its spreading by the book of Acts reaching the very center of the world. But surely they didn?t understand the message? No, but they did understand but the problem was upon hearing the message they sought God after their own righteousness (Rom 10:3).
Therefore, I submit that John 6 has to be seen in context of the book of John, in the context of the Gospel and the context of Scripture, which teaches that men have a responsibility to believe as God responsibly reveals. Men are being convicted by the Holy Spirit, taught by God and drawn to Christ on the cross?but if men reject Christ, they prove they never learned the Father?s lessons and if they compound their guilt and blaspheme against the testimony of the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31), their condemnation is just.