When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:25-40
Jesus brushes over what has become one of the great controversies of the modern church. I suppose that if I really tried, I could find willing participants to participate in a mutual firing squad. Picture this. Two lines of believers are standing opposite one another with rifles in hand. When the theological debate gets heated enough, the monitor yells, “fire,” and both sides let loose with a volley of shots at one another. If anyone is left standing, the debate is settled.
Or, we might take a close look at how Jesus approached this most delightful of topics. The security of the believer and the basis of election. ( I know, I am really asking for trouble commenting on this topic.) What did Jesus say?
“All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
“Whoever comes to me,” “whoever believes in me,” “whoever comes to me I will never cast out,” “everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.”
Rather than arguing the two sides of this argument, let us see the beauty of what Jesus is saying. The gospel is a true invitation to everyone; whoever will hear and believe the gospel. There is no exclusion in his proclamation.
Additionally, Jesus makes it quite clear that any of these “whoever” folks come to him he will never lose. All of those who come to him are given by the Father; it is the will of him who sent the Son, not all who hear believe, the work we are to do is to believe in him (Jesus) whom he (the Father) has sent.
We finite creatures must come to grips with the fact that we are finite and we will never fully grasp the many mysteries of God. So, I recommend we understand what he has revealed (the secret things belong to God). What do we see in this passage?
The Son of Man will give to all who believe the food that endures to eternal life. All that the Father gives to Jesus will come to him, and Jesus will never cast them out. This offer is given to everyone without exception.
If you haven’t come to Jesus yet, this is your opportunity to believe the proclamation. Come to Jesus and get the eternal bread of life and you will never thirst.
For those of us who have already come to Jesus, the blessed message is that he will never cast us out. He will feed us the bread of life and the water of life from his unending source. This is a message of rest for the weary. The questions of eternal security and election should not be topics of rancor, but points of rejoicing and rest.
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