ATP Blog #41
Have you ever heard the discussion regarding whether God chose you, or you chose God? We know that God is all-knowing, and that He gave us (human beings) free will. In some ways, this topic is not as complicated as others make it out to be, but in other ways it is a mystery that is challenging to understand. Thankfully we have God’s Word, and the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Believe Today’s passage follows up Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life, that the person who believes in Him will never hunger or thirst (in the spiritual sense), and will be given life. Speaking to the crowd that had followed Him across the lake, Jesus transitions by saying ‘You have seen Me and yet do not believe.’ (v36) The act of believing is the exercise of free will. This gift was given to mankind to separate us from the animals, and make our relationship with God more meaningful.
Selected Why did these people not believe? Jesus tries to help them understand that it is both their responsibility for not exercising their free will to choose Him because of the evidence, and also the responsibility of the Father to draw them to Jesus. ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.’ (v37a) The way this phrase is presented, sounds like free will is cast aside for the will of the Father, but this is not the case. We have to remember that we do not see the whole picture, as God does. The all-knowing God does not choose us because He knows that we will choose Him, but chooses us first (Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 4:19). Remember that ‘while we were still sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). Secondly, the all-powerful God did not select some, and not others; He sent His Son to die for the entire World (John 3:16). The elect are, therefore, the ones whom God has chosen, and who have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ.
Permanent Here is the beautiful thing: those who are selected by God, will never be de-selected, or rejected. ‘The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.’ (v37b) Those who choose to believe, fulfill the will of God for them (v38). God’s will for Jesus was to introduce the new covenant that enables all mankind to have free opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Once you have been genuinely saved, you are permanently part of the Family of God. ‘All He has given Me I should lose nothing.’ Keep in mind that this is from God’s perspective, who knows your heart better than you do. There are those who seem to be Christians, even living the life, and leading others to Christ, but at some point lose faith, rejecting Christ. From our perspective, these people have lost their salvation. Since we do not see as God sees, we must prayerfully seek to bring them back to Christ, as they may be like the prodigal son; he always was a son, but left for worldly living until he was brought back to the Father by his dire circumstances. Those who are called, are always drawn back to the Father. ‘Everyone who sees the Son, and believes in Him, may have everlasting life.’ (v40)
Non-elect The greatest sin, is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ. Those who do so, are called ‘Children of the Devil’ (Matthew 13:38; John 8:34). How does one discern this? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, and an honest examination of the heart can a person know this. Yet, the Bible tells us that we can know for certain if we are ‘elect’ by God, and part of the redeemed. So, it is up to you to search and learn. Know your salvation, and humbly live for Christ. Don’t worry when you make mistakes along the way. The genuine believer will be drawn back to God by the Holy Spirit, bringing us back to repentance, and true forgiveness.