The Proof of His Purpose
‘No man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father.’—John vi. 65.
PERHAPS we have hardly counted this as any part of the royal comfort of our King. And yet it is full of ‘strong consolation.” If some of us were asked, ‘How do you know you have everlasting life?’ we might say, ‘Because God has promised it.’1 But how do you know He has promised it to you? And then if we answered, not conventionally, nor what we think we ought to say, but honestly what we think, we might say, ‘Because I have believed and have come to Jesus.’2 And this looks like resting our hope of salvation upon something that we have done, upon the fact of our having consciously believed and consciously ‘come.’ And then, of course, any whirlwind of doubt will raise dust enough to obscure that fact and all the comfort of it.
Yet there is grand comfort not in it, but in the glorious chain of which even this little human link is first forged and then held by Jehovah’s own hand. Apart from this, it is worth nothing at all.
Do not shrink from the words; do not dare to explain them away; the Faithful and True Witness spoke them, the Holy Ghost has recorded them for ever: ‘No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.’3 There it stands; reiterated and strengthened instead of softened, because many even of His disciples murmured at it. So our coming to Jesus was not of ourselves; it was the gift of God.4
How did the gift operate? Not by driving, but by drawing. ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him.’5 Here comes in the great ‘ Whosoever will.’6
1 I John ii. 25. 2 John iii. i6. 3 John vi. 60-66.
4 Eph. ii. 8. 6 John vi. 44. « Rev. xxii. 17.
For unless and until the Father drew us, no mortal born of Adam ever wanted to come to Jesus. There was nothing else for it; He had to draw us, or we never should have thought of wishing to come; nay, we should have gone on distinctly willing not to come, remaining aliens and enemies. Oh, the terrible depth of depravity revealed by that keen swordword, ‘Ye will not come to Me that ye might have life.” Settle it, then, that you never wanted to come till He drew you, and praise Him for thus beginning at the very beginning with you. You were not ready for the ‘whosoever will’ before. But no one ever had a glimmer of a will to come, but that shining ‘ whosoever’2 flashed its world-wide splendour for their opening eyes.
By your will, now being wrought upon more and more by His Spirit, the Father drew you, ‘with cords of a man, with bands of love.” Just examine now,—was it not so? was it with anything but loving-kindness that He drew you? Remember the way by which He led you; * it may have been hedged with thorns, but was it not ‘paved with love?’ were not the very stones laid ‘with fair colours?’5 Can you help seeing ‘the loving-kindnesses of the Lord’ all along? and what were they lavished for, but to draw you?
That being acknowledged, what next? Lovingkindness is the fruit and expression and absolute proof of everlasting love. There is no escape from this magnificent conclusion,—’ Yea, I have loved thee’ (personally thee) ‘with an everlasting love,’
1 John V. 40. 2 John iii. 15, 16. 3 Hos. xi. 4.
4 Deut. viii. a. 5 Isa. liv. 11.
for ‘therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee’ (personally thee).1 The coming was personal and individual; it may have been ‘in the press,” but we had nothing to do with the rest of the throng; we know in ourselves that we, you and I, individually, have come. That personal coming was because of God the Father’s personal drawing. I do not know how He drew you, you do not know how He drew me; but without it most certainly neither you nor I ever could have come, because we never would have come. This personal drawing by personal loving-kindness was because of personal and individual everlasting love. Coming only because drawn, drawn only because loved! Here we reach, and rest on, the firm foundation of the electing love of God in Christ, proved by His drawing, resulting in our coming! When we know that this sun is shining in the heaven of heavens, should we be watching every flicker of our little farthing candle of faith?
From no less fountain such a stream could flow,
No other root could yield so fair a flower:
Had He not loved, He had not drawn us so;
Had He not drawn, we had nor will nor power
To rise, to come,—the Saviour had passed by
Where we in blindness sat without one care or cry.
1 Jer. xxxi. 3. 2 Mark v. 27.