Meditations on Various Scriptures 10

John 6:41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven ‘?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

The contrast that Jesus was setting out is the contrast between the inability of man and the ability of God. It is the contrast between the total lack of strength of man and the strength of God. It is the contrast between man as spiritually dead and God as life. Jesus says that no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. This is the same language as John 3 where Jesus said that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The person that has not been born from above (again) has no ability to recognize the kingdom of God unless God gives that person a new heart. A person will not have faith (sight of the soul) apart from a new heart which is a believing heart and the Spirit alone can do that work. Again, the emphasis is on man’s total inability and the total ability of God in this matter. This is not a minor issue, but a vital one.

The way that the Father draws a person is not specifically set out in this text, but we can look to other Scriptures for this. First, however, the point must go past the surface of our hearts. Just because we have some information about Christ and just because we don’t want to go to hell does not mean that we are being drawn to Christ. We must be taught by the Father. It is not just that we must be drawn in some way, but we must be drawn by a specific Person and that Person is the Father. It is not just that we can be taught by anyone, but we must be taught by the Father. We may agree that we must be born again, but we may have a hard time agreeing that it is the sovereign work of God alone who can do that. We must have this great truth driven into our hearts that we may know that we cannot do this and that no man can do this either.

Paul said that he was slain by the law, so this is one way that God slays men to their self and self-seeking. By His teaching them of their sin in their hearts so that they will seek Him for grace alone rather than seeking Him by their own strength and methods. The illuminating work of the Spirit in the soul is one way that the Father teaches us. He shows us ourselves in light of His holy law which is a reflection of Himself, but the true holiness of the law is seen in Christ. It was Christ who was the perfect law-keeper and it is Christ alone who can work in us to fulfill this law which is really only kept in love.

Another aspect of this inward teaching is that as God hardens the hearts of sinner in turning them over to judgment, so He begins to soften the hearts of sinners as He teaches them the true nature of their sin (their own natures and selfish hearts) and then the true nature of the Gospel. While the law does indeed break unregenerate sinners to humbles them before God, it is grace that breaks the sinner to the deepest levels of his being. Man is so helpless in his sin that he cannot break his own heart from pride and selfishness, but instead it takes grace to break the heart and show the sinner that Christ alone will save it. The Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 11:25ff that only He knew the Father and only He could reveal Him to those whom He pleased. How humbling for the soul to know that it can understand nothing and receive nothing unless it has been give from above by free-grace.

Part of this teaching is seen in irresistible grace which is really seen in regeneration. The soul that has been awakened, humbled, and broken from self by grace now has the very life of God in his or her soul and it flees to Christ with utter abandonment. It is only the regenerate soul that hears and learns from the Father. As Jesus told Peter when he confessed Christ, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Oh how wonderful this is to know that the Father reveals Christ and teaches His people and He does this by free-grace and not because we are worthy of anything but His wrath. Oh how the glories of God shine forth in His showing grace to sinners from Himself and for Christ’s sake.

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