Evening, July 29, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.” — John 6:37
This declaration involves the doctrine of election: there are some that the Father gave to Christ. It involves the doctrine of effectual calling: these who are given must and shall come; however firmly they may set themselves against it, they shall yet be brought out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. It teaches us the indispensable necessity of faith; for even those who are given to Christ are not saved except they come to Jesus. Even they must come, for there is no other way to heaven but by the door, Christ Jesus. All that the Father gives to our Redeemer must come to him, therefore none can come to heaven except they come to Christ.
Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words “shall come.” He does not say they have power to come, nor they may come if they will, but they “shall come.” The Lord Jesus uses his messengers, his word, and his Spirit, who sweetly and graciously compel men to come in that they may eat of his marriage supper; and this he does, not by any violation of the free agency of man, but by the power of his grace. I may exercise power over another man’s will, and yet that other man’s will may be perfectly free, because the constraint is exercised in a manner accordant with the laws of the human mind. Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of his Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul, so to subdue the whole man, that whereas he was once rebellious, he yields cheerfully to his government, subdued by sovereign love. But how shall those be known whom God has chosen? By this result: that they do willingly and joyfully accept Christ, and come to him with simple and unfeigned faith, resting upon him as all their salvation and all their desire. Reader, have you thus come to Jesus?
My notes: Spurgeon both agrees with and disputes Calvinism in this devotional. God “compels” men to come without violating their “free agency?”
The best rule to sort out (or ignore, if you will) the thorny issues of Election and Predestination (and Effectual Calling) is to illuminate these doctrines which have been synthesized by men, albeit Godly men, with the pure light of Scripture.
Does Scripture say, “So that whoever believes will have eternal life?”
John 3:14-17 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
Moses lifted up the serpent in the sight of anyone and everyone, that whoever lifted their eyes to it would not die. The Father lifted up the Son in the sight of anyone and everyone, so that whoever believed would not die.
I can believe in the total depravity of man (the “T” in the Calvinist’s TULIP formula), and I can believe that the sacrifice on the cross breached that depravity, that inability of man to do anything towards God. In that way, the world is saved through Him, in that individuals now have a choice to “look up” to their salvation.
I have great difficulty believing that God predestines some to be saved, and some to be damned (the “L” in TULIP, limited atonement). I believe his determination is based upon what he already knows we will do with Christ.
Romans 8:29-30 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
The two attributes of God that show He stands outside the stream of time are his omniscience and eternity; therefore He can elect based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ (which really isn’t foreknowledge to Him, but simply a term for us to get a glimpse of something we can’t comprehend).
At the end of the matter it is still “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
And you, “after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”