• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Your face, LORD, do I seek. [Psa 27:8 ESV].

Can We Come to Christ via Freewill?

NOTE: verses listed without chapter and book, refer to chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. Verses listed without book, refer to the Gospel of John.

Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. . . abides in Me and I in him.” [v54,56]. Christ did not give His life so man could add to his life or complete himself. He gave His life so man could be restored to God, abide in Him and have eternal life with Him.

Consider this: In verse 35, Jesus said whoever comes to Him will never hunger or thirst; in verses 50-51, Jesus said if anyone eats of this bread he will not die, but will live forever; and, in verses 54-57, Jesus said whoever feeds on His flesh and drinks His blood will be raised up by Christ to eternal life because they abide in Him.

Christ is saying to be truly saved we must desire Him like we desire food and water. For, as we eat food and drink to sustain life and we cannot live long without it, so we must abide in Christ and desire Him if we are to have true and eternal life. We, like Peter, confess, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” [v68].

When Peter confessed Jesus had the words of life and the disciples had no where else to go, Christ did not thank them for choosing Him. No. He reminded them, they were chosen by Him (v70).

Spurgeon’s claim that a man’s will is either led captive by sin or is held in the blessed bonds of grace, affirms the Scriptures. In this passage, Jesus said it is the Spirit who gives life and the flesh, our will, is no help at all (v63). The Psalmist David and the Apostle Paul wrote there is no one who seeks after God (Psa 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Rom 3:10-12). The Prophet Isaiah wrote we have gone astray, like sheep – everyone has turned to his own way (Isa 53:6). Free will cannot not bring us to Christ.

In the Biblical example of straying sheep (Luk 15:1-7), there is no mention of the sheep returning of its own choosing. The sheep is sought after by the shepherd; he collects it and returns it to the flock. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote the sheep are scattered for lack of a shepherd (Eze 34:5). Without a shepherd, the sheep are lost.

My friend, if you are following Christ today, do not give glory to yourself. Do not take God’s glory upon yourself by claiming you came to God by your own free will. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9, “. . .Lest any man should boast.” Give glory to God and thank Him for choosing you and drawing you to His Son (v44).

Here is the Bread of Life. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever (v51). Is the invitation given to all? Jesus said, “whoever believes. . . ” [v47]. Who are these “whoever” if not this crowd or if they are not the people going to church every week? Like this crowd, they believe Jesus is the Christ, but they have a difficult time believing what is written in the Word and the sufficiency of the Word. They are not the sheep who hear His voice (10:26-27). Some of these people might even appear to be saved. But Jesus said, these cannot come because they have not been drawn by the Father (v65).

In this invitation, Christ appeared to invite all, but He told the crowd they cannot come. Wait. What?

In 2:23-25, many claimed to believe, but Christ had no confidence in them because He knows the heart of man. In other words, they claimed to believe, but they were not saved. We see examples of this throughout the Gospel of John. So, unlike the modern American gospel or easy-believism, which boils salvation down to a recitation of the sinner’s prayer, Jesus said the truth is hidden from those not chosen.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [1Co 2:14].

The battle of free will is settled: we can only come to true faith in Christ if the Father draws us.

When I was young in the faith, I had a difficult time with this. I believed if the decision was left to God, I might never have eternal life; for there was absolutely no reason He would choose me. Therefore, I clung to the idea that I had chosen Him. However, as God opened up the Word to me, I understood more about my deceitful heart and my will being bound to my desire to sin. I had no desire for righteousness before God regenerated my heart and even now my sin nature seeks to overcome my faith. Therefore, I can only praise Him for drawing me to Him; for my sin nature would never have allowed me to choose God, but God chose me; as undeserving as I am. Now, I rejoice and I am grateful the choosing was left to Him.

Speaking of the promise to Abraham and the rejection of the Messiah by his offspring, the people of Israel, Paul wrote, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel. . . ” [Rom 9:6]. He explained why this promise of the Messiah extends to those chosen by God and not to everyone in Abraham’s physical line: “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” [Rom 9:8].

Paul explained in Isaac were two flesh, Jacob and Esau, and to demonstrate salvation is to the elect and not of the physical lineage, God chose only one of these two sons to continue the promise, the lesser of the two sons. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” [Rom 9:13]. Then Paul doubled down on this idea of election by saying God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and for God’s glory he was destined for destruction. The point is God chooses.

Many Christians have a difficult time with this. I have heard people say about Romans chapter nine, “My God would never. . . ” Be careful with this, for the Bible just said He did. Be sure your God is the God of the Bible. I have listened to many try to explain this away, saying God did not harden his heart, but Pharaoh hardened his own heart and God used that or other such arguments. Here are some problems with this reasoning:

  • Read the Scriptures. God told Moses beforehand He would harden Pharaoh’s heart (4:21; 7:3). That some passages refer to Pharaoh hardening his heart (about equally split between Pharaoh and God) can only be explained as the result of what God determined and directed would happen. God did not, however, harden Pharaoh against his will. Pharaoh was willing to be hardened against God.

. . .There is no discharge from war nor will wickedness deliver those given to it. [Ecc 8:8].

  • Do you think God left the exodus of Israel from Egypt to chance and that He was waiting for the right moment when there should be a defiant Pharaoh? Is God subject to mans’ free will and must He work around mans’ choices to accomplish His will? Or does He bring about history according to His predetermined plan? Ephesians chapter one tells us God determined all things before He even created.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. [Pro 21:1].

  • The Apostle Paul refutes these attempts of man to water down this passage in Romans nine, by stating, “Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” [Rom 9:14-16]. This is not an anomaly in Scripture; this passage makes it plain, some are chosen and some are not. Period. God said it.

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He has called. [Rom 9:21-24a].

Does man have free will? Yes. Can he be saved by it or use it to come to salvation? He cannot. Man is bound to the will of his flesh unless and until he is regenerated by God. No one comes to Christ unless the Father draws him (v44) and no one comes to Christ unless the Father grants it or gives permission (v65). Praise God, He did not leave the decision to you.

Does this mean you cannot come to Christ? If you feel yourself being drawn to Christ, do not delay. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” [Heb 3:7]. Come.

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. [v37].

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