I just love Dr J Vernon McGee, who is now with the Lord, and often listen to his Through the Bible teachings on an MP3 (a little Walkman device) *. His whole five year Bible study is on the web and can be downloaded free. Today he got to John 6, a WOW chapter if there ever was one! My favourite verse is 47, but wait a minute. Dr McGee looks at verse 37 here. Election or free will? Can we really choose to come to the Lord Jesus and be saved? God chooses us, but can we choose Him? Read on for Dr McGee’s take on verse 37.
‘There is a theological argument that rages today on election or free will. There are some people who put all their eggs in the basket of election; there are those that put all their eggs in the basket of free will. Now I am not proposing to reconcile the two; I have discovered that I cannot.
‘If you had met me the year that I entered seminary or the year I graduated you would have got an answer, because at that time I had all the answers, and I could have given it to you. I have never been as smart as I was my first year in seminary and my last year in seminary. I just about knew it all then, and I could reconcile election and free will at that time, and I did. Oh, it was a marvellous explanation, and if I could think of what it was, but I’ve even forgotten what it was. I think it was pretty silly, if you want to know the truth.
‘Election and free will; we have them both in this verse - John 6:37 ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.’
'Now that’s a fact; that’s a truth. “All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me.” That is election. But wait a minute! “And him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Here is free will – “him that comes to Me.”
Friends, they’re both true. I don’t know how to reconcile, but they’re both true. The Father giveth Me – but you have to come! The ones that come are apparently the ones the Father gives to Him.
'But I think, frankly, as far as you and I are concerned, since we don’t see into the machinery of heaven, and I do not know how God runs that computer of election…and that He presses the button on it…I’m sure He does, and I don’t understand it. But I do know this – that He’s given you and me a free will and we have to exercise it.’
‘Spurgeon preached that whosoever will can come; that’s the way I try to preach too, that whosoever will might come.’
‘And so, my friend, you can argue election all you want to, but you can come! And if you come, He’ll not cast you out…you will be the elect if you come. You can come also. How tremendous this is.
…’The will of God is for you to come (to Jesus); that’s the will of God for you.’
Then Dr McGee goes on to the wonderful verse John 6:39. ‘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.’
Dr McGee: ‘Actually this matter of predestination just refers to the saved, and all it means is what He says here that when a person accepts Christ, whom He justifies, He is going to glorify. When He starts out with a hundred sheep, He’s going to come through with a hundred sheep, and that’s all that that means.’
So, dear reader out there – are you one of those sheep? Or are you hanging back, afraid to come to Jesus because of a sinful life? Christ died for sinners! That was the whole point of His becoming a man, so that He could take our punishment and be the blood sacrifice for us. For the whole of mankind needed a Savior. None was good enough; we were all born with sinful natures.
Don’t you want a new start, a new nature? Whosoever will may come! Jesus promises a whole new nature; He gives sinners a new life; they are born again! They become a new creation, with old things passed away. They have hope and peace in their hearts, whatever is going on in their lives.
Or you can just carry on in a fairly pointless life of frustration, in which you never really get all you want, and one day die and go to Hell…
A prayer: Dear God, I don’t understand the great arguments about election and free will. But I know You want us to accept your Son, Jesus, and trust in Him. I see in the Bible that He died for my sins, which are many (tell Him what they are; the Holy Spirit will bring them to your mind). Please, Lord Jesus, forgive my sins. I believe that You died on the cross, were buried, and rose again on the third day. Please forgive me; please let me be one of Your people.’
* Here is the website for free downloads of Dr McGee's 5 year Bible study. http://www.ttb.org/contentpages/21793/e63bfac6-600d-436f-8231-5fcadefa77d6/5-YearSeriesinMP3.aspx We will probably never agree 100% with anyone, and even with Dr McGee, I have issues. Mainly on creation, which I believe took place in six literal days, the entire universe.
In Dr McGee's day (he died in 1988), I think the creation ministries were still gathering steam, and scientists who are Christians were just getting going on providing abundant, incontrovertible evidence for six day creation and a young earth...and I think Dr M. would have changed his thinking on this by now, had he lived! Anyway, he is in Heaven now, and knows first hand.