John 6:37 NIV:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

Does this verse confirm 'irresistible grace'?

One could argue that when God foresees that some will believe, he gives them to Christ. Those in verse 45 who have, "heard the Father and learned from him" are the ones who will "come to me".

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    Possible duplicate of John 6:37 - What is meant by "Father gives me"? – James Shewey Jun 20 '17 at 20:13
  • I have edited you question to add formating so your quote is clearly distinguished from you own words. – enegue Jun 21 '17 at 1:45
  • I think "irresistible grace" needs to be clearly defined in the question. There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on what the term even means. – user33515 Jun 21 '17 at 2:03
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because (1) it is too open-ended without the OP providing a definition of what is to be considered "irresistible grace" for context; and (2) it really seems to belong on Christianity SE. – user33515 Jun 21 '17 at 2:05

1. Question:

Does John 6:37 concusively indicate "Irresistible Grace"?

Assumption: This is in no way trying to challenge the doctrine of "Irrestible Grace", in general, but rather question how this verse supports that particular doctrine.

Burden of proof: Any valid objection, indicating an "Active Role" on the part of the "Person Coming" ... would undermine the "strength" of that conclusion, so...

2. Answer - Context, the rest of the Book of John:

John 6:39, NKJV - 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.

John 6:40, NKJV - And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees | θεωρέω, (Definition) the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

  • First objection - Applicability: θεωρέω might be indicating that Jesus was speaking about the people there - the people that were, (and had), seen him, in person - which calls into question the applicability to everyone else who followed.

  • Second Objection - Active or Passive Faith: In the context, it is obvious that there is an active decision to believe that is part of "God giving them to Jesus". This might be how John is trying to define how God gives people to Jesus - by perhaps instilling or maybe inspiring within them their own willingness to consider trusting...(?).

    John 6:61-66, NKJV - 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained ... 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

  • Third Objection - Judas:

    John 17:12, NKJV - While I was with them in the world,I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

  • Fourth Objection - Intimacy: Perhaps this doctrine is not at all vague in Scripture - except for perhaps the hardness of people trying to interpret it - and their own difficulty to accept another truth: Scripture might be indicating, and calling for, an intimate relationship, where it is nearly impossible to determine whose will and actions are whose, (Re. Unity of the believer and the Father, John 17:11). It may be the case that there are two truths: People cannot resist the love and favor of God when they come to know, and see, that God trusts and believes in them; and, it might also be true that God cannot resist the love of people who believe in him - proven by their trust that he is "for them", and not "against them".

  • Fifth Objection - The Validity of "Irresistible Rejection": Does Scripture refute the doctrine of "Irresistible Rejection"? Because, if "Irresistible Grace" entails "Irresistible Rejection", and if the Scripture refutes "Irresistible Rejection" - then "Irresistible Grace" cannot possibly be valid.

  • Sixth Objection - Irresistible Grace towards the World(?):

    Edited NASB, John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever [entrusts themselves into his unconditional love] shall not perish, but have eternal life.

  • Seventh Objection - Grace [Favor] is given, because of faith/trust, humility, truth, mercifulness, etc:

    NASB, Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

    NASB, James 4:6 - But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

    NASB, Proverbs 3:3-4 - Do not let kindness and truth leave you; ... 4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.

Conclusion: In view of those objections alone - there would have to be other similar, parallel, passages affirming that doctrine of "Irresistible Grace" - while clarifying those objections.

I do not see how this verse - alone - is "logically deductive" entailing a "certainty", nor how it would sway a cautious skeptic - conclusively.

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with the validity of the doctrine itself, but how strongly this verse may, or may not, support that doctrine.


Does John 6:37 confirm 'irresistible grace'?

Short answer: No.

Basic Assessment of Syntax / Semantics

John 6:37-40

Πᾶν ὃ δίδωσίν μοι ὁ Πατὴρ πρὸς ἐμὲ ἥξει καὶ τὸν ἐρχόμενον πρός με οὐ μὴ ἐκβάλω ἔξω ὅτι καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με Τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέν μοι μὴ ἀπολέσω ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἀλλὰ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸ ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου ἵνα πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν Υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον καὶ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐγὼ ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ

All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out. Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.

It is very clearly talking about an objective group: those who meet criteria x will be y—those who shall have ended up being such as I have described (x) will have y happen to them.

In the context of the Bible—in the context of John—this is those predestinate in the sense that God doesn't 'already' know who will ultimately be saved, He simply knows, tenseless, all things, in an eternal present.

We know it's an objective group (and thus the 'predestined' in the sense that God foreknew these saved individuals would be saved) because "All that the Father giveth to me", "he that" etc. are not specific and have no particular referent; they are a type of people, i.e. a certain group: the elect.

Jesus' words could be paraphrased as "I know that those who are saved were drawn by the Father and that I did not lose any of them (these are definitionally not those who I did not save); these ones I saved." If He were speaking in the past tense.

Notice He says, "And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have eternal life". Thus, the believer plays an active role, an excercise of will. But clearly from the Gospels and the New Testament in general, it is God who is the author of salvation, not man, who merely agrees its a good deal and co-operates to recieve the benefits of New Testament salvation.

No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day.

Notice this very important verse (v. 44). It identifies the Father as He who draws the believer: it does not indicate that all He draws will come to Him. Notice how "that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing" does not say He drew only them. The rest of the New Testament is clear "[God Our Saviour] wishes for all men to be saved and to come to a knowldege of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4; cf. Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 23:37 etc).

  • SolaGratia: +1 A.) If I understand correctly, you are saying that "God drawing a person" is a "necessary condition" but not a "sufficient condition", (not enough). I think this is a great point. But - I would love to see the underlying argument behind that. Perhaps supported by "Many are called, few are chosen" or perhaps refuted in "He will complete the work ..." B.) You seem to touch on whether "being saved" equals "being elect". This answer does not seem to rely on this point - and if not, maybe that particular "can of worms" can be avoided altogether? – elika kohen Jun 21 '17 at 0:29
  • @elikakohen Jesus' parable of the sower, confirms SolaGratia's point. That is: there are some who never consider Jesus' words; there are those who are drawn to Jesus' words, but cannot survive when pressed to justify what they believe; there are others who are drawn to Jesus' words and can justify why they believe, but are torn from him by the treasures of the world; and there are those who are drawn to Jesus' words, and can justify why they believe, and then go on to produce fruit for his kingdom. – enegue Jun 21 '17 at 2:30
  • @enegue - "... some who never consider Jesus' words." Your interpretation seems to imply that the parable is saying there is an active part on the hearer's part to reject the word. However, I interpret the parable "mercifully" - that is: people are victims to an enemy. However, either way - I am not certain what your implication is, and you have me curious how it ties into SolaGratia's argument. What do you mean? You've got me pondering! – elika kohen Jun 21 '17 at 3:22
  • @elikakohen SolaGratia finishes with, "Notice this very important verse (v. 44). It identifies the Father as He who draws the believer: it does not indicate that all He draws will come to Him." The parable of the sower depicts all the various responses to Jesus' word (the seed). There are four responses represented by: the seed by the wayside; the seed among the stones; the seed among the thorns; and the seed that made it to the good ground. These encompass the full range of being drawn, from "no response" to "total commitment". – enegue Jun 21 '17 at 4:37
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    @enegue - A.) I think I understand - and thanks for explaining. So, my objection is that those are not necessarily responses of people, but an enemy's response when they do hear. B.) Perhaps a better proof text might be: "John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”" I think this avoids objections. Although, it might raise another question regarding Jesus drawing, the Father drawing, or people drawing themselves: "James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Either way, it is apparent that all the people Jesus draws do not go. – elika kohen Jun 21 '17 at 4:59

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