Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 2 – A Closer Look)

(To read part 1 of this series click here.)

John 6:37, 44 and 65

All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

What was happening in John chapters 5 through 8? What is the context in which Jesus makes the statements we are considering? If we don’t keep this in mind we will never correctly interpret these verses. Before we look at what was happening and why Jesus made these statements let’s first look at it from a Calvinist perspective.
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Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 1 – The Big Picture)

John 6:37, 44 and 65

All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Calvinism’s challenge:

These verses are some of the clearest verses teaching the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. In John 6:44 Jesus makes it clear that no man in all of history can come to Jesus unless the Father personally draws him. And in verse 37 Jesus says plainly that those who have belonged to God from all eternity will most certainly come. The conclusion is inescapable; only those chosen by God will come and those chosen will most certainly come. This is irresistible grace plain and simple!
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Rethinking the “Golden Chain” – Romans 8:28-30 (Part 2)

(This is the second post in the series on Romans 8:28-30, for the first post click here.)

(This is a reworking of a previous post on the so-called Golden Chain of Salvation. Several things have been added and two major things have been completely reinterpreted. Many have found the original version of this post helpful so I have left it up at its original location (click here to view the original version of this post). But I have changed my position on the meaning of “foreknew” in Romans 8:29 and “glorified” in verse 30. Due to these radical changes in perspective I feel compelled to rework this post. I would just start from scratch, but many of the points I made in the original version are still applicable, particularly the points aimed at the Calvinistic errors in interpreting this passage of Scripture. For the sake of those who have read the original version I have put all new paragraphs or sections in italics.)

Romans 8:28-30

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”


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Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)

Acts 13:42-52 (English Standard Version)

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Issues with the Verse

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Five Questions About Predestination – #3 How?

Question: How does one become a member of Christ’s predestined people?

Answer: By believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

When we talk about individuals being part of God’s Old Testament chosen people, Israel, because of their relationship with Abraham, it is not hard for us to understand the nature of that relationship. They were related to him because they had his blood running through their veins. But when we discuss the nature of the relationship between Christ and his Church we are not talking about physical ancestry. God’s New Testament chosen people are not determined by their race, but by their faith.
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Five Questions About Predestination – #2 – Who?

Who?

Question: Who did God predestine?

Answer: The Church of Jesus Christ

The question of when God predestined is not in dispute between Calvinists and other Christians, but the question of who God predestined is. Due to their misinterpretation of certain passages of scripture Calvinists have concluded that God, before the creation of the world, predestined certain individuals to be saved. But this is a misreading of the Bible and a misrepresentation of God’s eternal purpose.

The implications of this error are clear. If God has already decided which individuals he will save, and his eternal will is unchangeable and irresistible, than everyone’s eternal destiny is sealed before they are even born. This is great news for those lucky enough to be chosen and crushing news for those who were not. But thank God, this is error! God has not determined beforehand which individuals will be saved and which will be damned. Instead, “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:10). Jesus came to “taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). And he commanded his disciples to “tell everyone the Good News. Whoever believes… will be saved…” (Mark 16:15-16 – GWT). The truth is that God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9 – KJV). Continue reading “Five Questions About Predestination – #2 – Who?”