Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quick Concise Explanation of John 6 and 10

Some of the favorite passages used by Calvinists to argue for unconditional election come from John 6 and 10. My purpose here is to present a very quick explanation of the correct interpretation of these verses.

John 6
Specifically in John 6:37, 39, Jesus says, "37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out...39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day."

It's made clear in the context who the "all that" Jesus is referring to is in v. 40 and 47. Believers as a whole! Furthermore it is shown that those who have truly listened to the teaching of the Father will come to Christ in v. 45.

Verse 65, which says, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father," is easily understood to show that unless someone has been enabled by the Spirit of God, they cannot come to Christ. But unconditional election does not follow from that, and is shown to be false in light of the context of not only this chapter, but the whole of the Johannine witness.

John 10
This takes us to ch. 10 and the sheep that follow Christ. The sheep that follow are the faithful Jews who truly belonged to the Father and were, in light of that, being transferred to Jesus. When Jesus came, all of the truly God-fearing Jews naturally recognized Jesus as one with the Father and went to Him. This makes it clear why the Jews who were not following Jesus were not believing; "26 you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you." They were not believing in Jesus because they did not truly believe in the Father to begin with.

"27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." Those who did follow Jesus did so naturally, because they knew Jesus was from the Father. This also makes sense with Jesus inserting the fact that He and His Father are one in v. 30. He's not just randomly stating it, He's explaining why His sheep recognize Him, because He and the Father are one!

For an extremely detailed exegesis, check out the article found here.

26 comments:

The Seeking Disciple said...

Excellent my brother! Continue in the faith!

Mike Felker said...

In v. 37, the "coming" is based upon the "giving." If your view is true, then why did not the Father give all men who have ever lived to the Son? Wouldn't it naturally follow then, that ALL would come to Christ?

bossmanham said...

Mike, the Father is giving His Son the ones who believe as a whole. The first thing that happens in this logical progression is the believing (v 35). This is indicative of corporate election, and is clarified in the context by verses 40 and especially v. 45. Those who are taught by and listen to the Father are given to the Son by the Father. It is only they that are given, as v. 37 says, and if the Father gives believers to the Son, then naturally they will believe in Him.

So it's not that the ones rejecting Christ here couldn't believe, it's because they refused to believe that the Father was not giving them to the Son.

bossmanham said...

Think of it as the transfer that is happening at this juncture in redemptive history. Those faithful ones who had believed in the Father and were waiting for the messiah were being given to Jesus, and that is why they were naturally believing in Jesus.

Mike Felker said...

We have a logical and sequential formula in v. 37. Even if we grant, somehow, that "believing" precedes the giving, how could you argue that "believing" precedes the coming? Do men believe in Christ before they actually come to Christ? It would seem to me that it is a synonymous thing.

If your view is true, then wouldn't v. 37 state, "All who come to me are the ones whom the Father gives to me." Even granting all your points with the context, it would seem that v. 37 among others would be problematic to your view.

bossmanham said...

Mike,

We have a logical and sequential formula in v. 37

You're right, but it's a part of a larger context that we can't seperate the verse from.

Even if we grant, somehow, that "believing" precedes the giving, how could you argue that "believing" precedes the coming?

It seems in this case that believing in the Father preceeds the "coming" to the Son.

Do men believe in Christ before they actually come to Christ?

It would seem so. Or it may mean that the people here were beliveving in the Father, and the going to the Son.

If your view is true, then wouldn't v. 37 state, "All who come to me are the ones whom the Father gives to me."

I'm not sure how that's saying anything different than what the verse actually says. The ones the Father gives to the Son are the ones that go to the Son stated either way.

Rhology said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

if the Father gives believers to the Son, then naturally they will believe in Him.

That sounds like irresistible grace.
Isn't it rather your position that SOME that are drawn and given choose to come, and some don't choose to come?

bossmanham said...

That sounds like irresistible grace.

Well except that it is believers in the first place; ie the response to the prevenient grace had to come first.

Rhology said...

So, is this what you're saying?

43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No believer can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise up that believer on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Every believer who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

bossmanham said...

No, I take verse 44 as written. No man can come to Christ unless drawn. The question rests on who God draws. Is it all men, or just some men? You have to hear AND learn (ie agree with/believe) what the Father says. The condition of salvation is belief in Christ. Only those are saved. However, this passage doesn't seem to support the contention that there are only a select few who are given the opportunity.

Rhology said...

But it does.

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.


Where is the person who heard from and learned from the Father and DOESN'T come?

bossmanham said...

Where is the person who heard from and learned from the Father and DOESN'T come?

As I acknowledged, there are two necessary conditions here. Hearing and learning. One may hear and not learn.

Rhology said...

You really think that lines up with the OT quotation from Jesus in 45a?

(I wonder if there's a grammatical way to know.)

bossmanham said...

You really think that lines up with the OT quotation from Jesus in 45a?

I don't see why not. Further, it's hard to see why Jesus would be trying to persuade these people of who He is and then parenthetically say they can't acknowledge it because it was set down in eternity past that they can't, and then go on to continue trying to persuade them.

Onesimus said...

Mike Felker said...
In v. 37, the "coming" is based upon the "giving." If your view is true, then why did not the Father give all men who have ever lived to the Son? Wouldn't it naturally follow then, that ALL would come to Christ?


--
That suggestion seems to presume that God wants a people who come to Christ unconditionally. Whether that is through an unconditional election (Calvinism) or a totally unconditional salvation (universalism).
But neither of those examples are the case. Salvation is CONDITIONAL and its purpose is to provide God with a willing people who can be adopted into His family. The condition is believing in His Son – putting our faith in Him and not our own abilities or assumed worth.
Salvation is open to ALL and God desires ALL to be saved – but His desire for a WILLING people would not be achieved by forcing salvation on anyone.

Mike Felker said...

@Onesimus

That suggestion seems to presume that God wants a people who come to Christ unconditionally. Whether that is through an unconditional election (Calvinism) or a totally unconditional salvation (universalism).

Call it a presumption, but it is based upon the exegesis of John 6. But be careful to distinguish the actual "coming" from the "electing." Certainly, I wouldn't argue that there aren't conditions in salvation; men must believe to be saved.

But neither of those examples are the case. Salvation is CONDITIONAL and its purpose is to provide God with a willing people who can be adopted into His family. The condition is believing in His Son – putting our faith in Him and not our own abilities or assumed worth.

We'd have to define our terms carefully here, because otherwise I would fully agree. Salvation certainly is conditional, since there are actual conditions that must be met for one to be saved; whether those conditions are found within the purpose and plan of God or the actions of men (believing).

Salvation is open to ALL and God desires ALL to be saved

Salvation is definitely open to all, but only those whom God works through in the process of regeneration will actually believe. And there is no biblical text which would substantiate your claim that God desires every single man, woman, and child who has ever lived to be saved.

but His desire for a WILLING people would not be achieved by forcing salvation on anyone.

Yeah, I don't know anyone who would actually think that God would actually force someone into salvation. So no argument there.

Onesimus said...

Mike Felker said:
“there is no biblical text which would substantiate your claim that God desires every single man, woman, and child who has ever lived to be saved.”

--------
On the contrary there is plenty of scriptural evidence to show that God desires ALL to be saved. The Calvinist practice of interpreting this as “all the elect” is a clear and dishonest representation of the scriptural text meant to protect doctrine at all costs – even the cost of manipulating scripture.


1 Timothy 2
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for ALL men—the testimony given in its proper time.

2 Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

In these two references the whole Calvinist house built on sand crashes to the ground. But then – most Calvinists I’ve come across pay more heed to their beloved doctrines than they do to the plain and simple word of God.

Mike also said:
“Yeah, I don't know anyone who would actually think that God would actually force someone into salvation. So no argument there.”

But that is clearly what would happen in both Calvinism AND universalism. Where man is forced into salvation against his natural inclination with no regard at all for what he himself has desired.

Rhology said...

You really think that lines up with the OT quotation from Jesus in 45a?

I don't see why not.


Maybe because Jesus says that EVERYONE who has heard and learned from the Father comes? Not just some?
Like the those who are justified are glorified in Rom 8:30?
Or like the "they will never perish" of John 10:28?

bossmanham said...

Maybe because Jesus says that EVERYONE who has heard and learned from the Father comes? Not just some?

I'm not sure how this would change anything, since it is hearing and learning that are required; learning being listening to and accepting and growing in knowledge and believing what one learns. If someone hears and rejects the knowledge, ie does not learn, then they will not come.

Like the those who are justified are glorified in Rom 8:30?

Yes, believers. Those who have listened to and learned from God.

Or like the "they will never perish" of John 10:28?

Believers will never perish. Belief is a present tense reality.

Rhology said...

But those who come are the ones who are raised up on the last day. Did you forget that part?
Earlier in John 6, "coming" = getting saved. Ergo if you hear and learn from the Father, you get saved, and you're raised up on the last day. I don't see the stops in between where people can get off that train.

Same thing with Rom 8:30 - where do the believers get off the train from justification to glorification?

Same thing with John 10 - are you saying the sheep never perish unless they perish?

Rhology said...

By the way, I remembered I wrote on this a bit ago.

bossmanham said...

But those who come are the ones who are raised up on the last day. Did you forget that part?
Earlier in John 6, "coming" = getting saved. Ergo if you hear and learn from the Father, you get saved, and you're raised up on the last day.


No, which is why you must hear and learn; not simply hear.

Same thing with Rom 8:30 - where do the believers get off the train from justification to glorification?

When they cease believing, as is made clear by Paul three chapters later.

Same thing with John 10 - are you saying the sheep never perish unless they perish?

"[I]f [they] continue in His goodness. Otherwise [they] also will be cut off."

I think it was assumed that these faithful sheep, being that they have been faithful up till Christ's coming, would continue in the faith. Remember, these are a specific group of Jews who were faithful prior to and during Christ's coming (as seen in vs. 16 as the other sheep Christ must pursue; ie gentile believers). It doesn't follow that therefore all others would continue in the faith, and more than one epistle testifies to that truth.

bossmanham said...

Ergo if you hear and learn from the Father, you get saved, and you're raised up on the last day.

Unless the learning includes continued and present belief.

Rhology said...

Doesn't it say, though, "everyone who HAS hearD and learnED from..."?

Jonathan said...

Man brother, you've gotten yourself quite a discussion going on over here at your site!

I'm going to have to chime in sometime soon!

(just wished I could sign in to comment with just name/url... :)