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John 6:44 (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Questions

  • Necessary Condition. What happens with someone who is never drawn by the Father to the Son? Is there any chance of salvation for such a person in light of John 6:44? In other words, is John 6:44 a necessary condition for salvation?
  • Sufficient Condition. If someone is drawn by the Father to the Son, does it follow from John 6:44 that the salvation of such a person is guaranteed? In other words, is John 6:44 a sufficient condition for salvation? Notice that the second half of the verse says "And I will raise him up on the last day", as if the resurrection is 100% settled for any person as soon as they are drawn (first half of the verse). In more colloquial terms: "If you are drawn, you will be saved, without any shadow of a doubt". This is how Calvinists typically interpret this verse.

Related: Are Paul (Romans 10:11-17) and Jesus (John 6:44) describing different methods or different aspects of a single method to win souls?

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  • The language is figurative, general broad statement of principles, truths. The language of unnecessary unambiguity and absolutes is a very modern trend of this century only, which resulted in the ignorance of simple general statements, poetic, figurative, idiomatic literature. If someone strays from the faith/obedience, it proves he did not belong to God, see 1John3, Heb 6. also Rom2:6-16
    – Michael16
    Feb 23, 2022 at 14:25
  • That verse does not state a condition of salvation; it states a fact ABOUT salvation. No salvation can be granted until the Father draws a person to Christ. When the Father does that, the person is drawn to Christ. Equally, Jesus said that nobody can come to the Father unless he, the Son, enables that to happen- John 14:6. A fact well worth pondering. There are no 'If's or 'Buts' about the fact of being drawn.
    – Anne
    Feb 23, 2022 at 17:42

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You asked … “What happens with someone who is never drawn by the Father to the Son?

Impossible. This isn’t possible. Why? Paul tells us …

ROMANS 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

At the start of the book of Romans Paul began to prove that every person already has an instinctive knowledge of God’s wrath against their sin. We don’t need to prove God’s wrath; God has already done that.

In Romans 1:18-20, Paul was declaring that God has revealed Himself to all mankind. Old Testament scriptures proclaim that God has revealed Himself to everyone through nature (Psalms 19:1-3), but Paul was stating here that there is an intuitive revelation of God within every person.

The use of the word “all” in Romans 1:18 shows the extent to which God has revealed Himself. God has placed a witness within every person against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.

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Men by their nature are sinners with no possibility of attaining salvation by themselves. Jesus is saying the Father who has sent me draws him indicating this is the only hope the sinner has in obtaining salvation.

That word "draw" (helkuse) means "to draw or to lead, drag, or pull" (John 12:32,). The Father draws by sending the Son into the world with the revelation of himself. God draws the sinner by revealing His love displayed on that cross. The drawing power of the Father takes place by the Holy Spirit's reproving, convincing, and convicting the sinner of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. (John 16:8-11).

In the Old Testament speaks of people being "drawn" to God by His mercy. Jeremiah 31:3, "With loving-kindness have I drawn thee," and at Hosea 11:4 God says, "I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love."

Getting back to John 12:32 it should be noted the overriding theme is on God's love which drawn men to Himself, so the emphasis should not be shifted to defend any view of election. John 6:44 does not teach particular election (i.e the view that God determines who will be saved) because John 6:45 opens salvation to every man.

John 6:45, "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." Also Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those sho seek Him."

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Jesus answered this question a few chapters later and in other places:

  • John 12:32 - And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • 1 Tim 4:10, For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, ...
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”

So, what is the meaning of John 6:44? Two point arise from this:

  1. Is it possible that someone is not drawn by Jesus/God to themselves? No - see above list of references - God draws all people
  2. This text is the answer to the statement made in Rom 3:10-18 that because all are sinners, there is "none who seek God" (V11).

Thus, as sinners we have no desire to seek God and cannot save ourselves. Therefore, Salvation is the initiative of God. The Bible repeats this many times:

  • Phil 2:13 - For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.
  • Rom 2:4 - Or do you disregard the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?
  • 2 Cor 5:18 - All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation

Sadly, many will resist/ignore God's prompting and drawing and be lost. Here are some examples of those who were lost despite God's drawing them:

  • Rom 11:17-21 discusses the warning that people who had been grafted into the “olive tree” of the Christian community could be broken off if they were unfaithful.
  • 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
  • 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
  • Galatians 5:4: "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace"
  • 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
  • Heb 2:1-3, We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every transgression and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
  • Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
  • 2 Peter 2:21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
  • 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.

Thus, God's drawing is necessary but we must accept.

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  • Looking at the following verse seems to imply certainty that God's will here will happen. No wiggle room for a man to say no. "all that the Father doth give to me will come unto me; John 6:37. 956 pás – each, every; each "part(s) of a totality" 3956 /pás ("each, every") means "all" in the sense of "each (every) part that applies." The emphasis of the total picture then is on "one piece at a time." 365 (ananeóō) then focuses on the part(s) making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts.
    – Sherrie
    Feb 24, 2022 at 15:49
  • Will come: 2240 hḗkō (a primitive verb) – properly, to reach the end-destination (goal). In other words if God has a goal for a person and tells us what it will be as in this case, can man thwart that from happening. If man said no and refused to come then it would mean man is sovereign and is greater than God?
    – Sherrie
    Feb 24, 2022 at 15:50
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Necessary yes. Sufficient no.


Necessary

John 6:44 beings with "οὐδεὶς δύναται" No one has this ability

The Greek verb is δύναμαι *("dunamai"), meaning: to be able to, to be possible, to have the power (source). It's a pretty clear way to say "this is not possible".

The same verb (dunamai) defines a necessary condition in John 3:5:

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

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Sufficient

In the previous section we identified at least 3 necessary conditions:

  • Be drawn by the Father
  • Be born of water
  • Be born of the spirit

If there are at least 2 necessary conditions, then no single necessary condition is sufficient on its own (we could delve into other arguments for additional necessary conditions, but we've already met the de minimis threshold of at least 2).

Furthermore, multiple passages show that it is possible to fall, even after being drawn by God, even after being baptized, etc.

From John 17:12 we see this applied to Judas:

those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition

Dottard has already noted the poignant passage in Hebrews 6:4-6:

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Paul (or Luke, or Barnabas, or Priscilla, whoever wrote Hebrews, take your pick) gives a stark warning to those who, like Judas, came to Jesus, knew His words, received His ordinances, and then turn against Him.

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Conclusion

John speaks of coming as a result of drawing, but coming alone was not sufficient. Coming and staying is what counts.


Addendum

What happens with someone who is never drawn...Is there any chance of salvation...?

This is an extensive topic in itself, but I suggest that the short answer is:

  • There are those who never learn of Jesus Christ in this life
  • There are none who never learn of Jesus Christ in this life OR in the realm of spirits

IE

  • ~ This life = may be TRUE, but
  • (~ This life ^ ~ In the spiritual realm) = FALSE

I discuss this in more detail, drawing from 1 Peter 3:18-20, 4:6, and how these passages were understood by the early Patristics, in this post, making the case that no one will eternally be unreached; everyone will have that opportunity.

(this does not mean all will get more than 1 opportunity, nor does it mean all will accept)

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  • For the sake of viewing scripture differently than your argumentation of Judas being “lost” away from Christ, we read: “ Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. John 6:70-71 - Also: “ 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. John 6:64 - Judas was never saved, Hebrews 6:9 also confirms the authors argument & assures salvation.
    – Cork88
    Feb 24, 2022 at 22:26

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