In this article, we will briefly look at John 6:37-40 and consider irresistible grace. It is essential to understand that there are two calls in Scripture: the general and the effectual or irresistible. The doctrine of God’s irresistible grace has to do with the sovereign, monergistic work of the Holy Spirit. As John Murray once said, “Redemption has been accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ, and it is applied to God’s elect through the work of the Holy Spirit.”
First, consider with me the general call. The word of God speaks of a general call of God that goes out to all humanity. This is also known as the free offer of the gospel. This a real and genuine call goes out to sinners of every type. The Lord, out of his mercy and grace, calls all men to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Now, you may ask, what does this general call look like? Often, the free offer of the gospel takes the form of the “whosoever’s”! It is a free offer to all men. It is a gracious summons to every sinner! John 6 is filled with the free offer of the gospel:
- John 6:29: “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that youbelieve in him whom he has sent.”
- John 6:35: “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoevercomes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
- John 6:37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoevercomes to me I will never cast out.”
- John 6:40: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyonewho looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Do you see the glory of the free offer of the gospel? The gospel is a “whosoever” gospel. Whoever you are, whatever your background, whosoever casts themselves on the mercy of Jesus Christ shall be saved from sin and death and the wrath to come! This free offer is indiscriminate. It is a gospel that does not show partiality! It is offered freely to every sinner! But here is the tragic news. Men and women are born dead in sin and, by nature, will reject such a gracious offer! Pastor Bill Payne writes: “the general call of the gospel can be rejected and indeed is rejected by men and women because of their sinful state.” Everyone born in this world is accountable to God and without excuse. If you reject the free offer of the gospel, no one is to blame but you.
Second, consider with me the effectual or irresistible call of God. The effectual call of God magnifies his irresistible grace. In this call, the Holy Spirit makes the general call (the free offer of the gospel) effectual. This means that the effectual call not only urges sinners to believe upon Jesus Christ but also brings God’s people to faith in Christ. Dr. Steven J. Lawson writes: “this call represents the invincible power of God to bring sinners to saving faith in Christ. All those chosen by the father and redeemed by the son are effectually drawn by the spirit.”
We see the irresistible power of God to draw sinners to himself in John 6:37. Jesus says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me….” Those who have been given to Christ will come to Christ. They will hear the general call, the free offer of the gospel, and the Spirit of God will make that “general call” into an “effectual call.” The Spirit of God will effectually draw them to Jesus Christ. In John 6:39, we see, “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.”
In John 6:44, Jesus clarifies: “no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” The word “to draw” means “dragging by force.” It was often used to describe someone “hauling bricks” or “towing a heavy machine.” In this context, the word is used to describe the omnipotent power of God to draw sinners. It is irresistible! The power of God to draw sinners cannot be resisted when he comes in His saving power.
I will conclude with the following quote from A. W. Pink on irresistible grace: “What is this drawing? It is the power of the holy spirit awakening within a sinner a sense of need. It is the power of the holy spirit overcoming the pride of the natural man, so that he is ready to come to Christ as an empty-handed beggar. The Holy Spirit is creating within him a hunger for the bread of life.” Soli Deo Gloria!