“Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:37‬ ‭NET‬‬

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Given the immediate context (John 6:35-40) it would appear that since Jesus is speaking of eternal life(V.40), His Fathers will(V.38,39) and His will to lose none but to raise them all up in the resurrection(V.39), it would seem to imply that Jesus is saying He will never cast believers into hell.

Yet, most people see this as a reference to anyone who chooses Christ for salvation on their own will not be turned away, but in John 6:44 ability is talked about.

I’m not here to debate moral ability, my question is:

Q: In John 6:37, is Jesus saying I won’t turn down the one who comes to me? Or, I will never cast that person coming to me into Hell(future tense) after salvation?

NOTE: There are verses describing being cast out, like Matthew 8:

But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭

5 Answers 5


καὶ τὸν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς ⸀ἐμὲ οὐ μὴ ἐκβάλω °ἔξω (John 6:37, ESV)

You are seeing how translations translate the double negative, which is emphatic in Greek.

Emphatic negation is indicated by οὐ μή plus the aorist subjunctive or, less frequently, οὐ μή plus the future indicative (e.g., Matt 26:35; Mark 13:31; John 4:14; 6:35). This is the strongest way to negate something in Greek.

One might think that the negative with the subjunctive could not be as strong as the negative with the indicative. However, while οὐ + the indicative denies a certainty, οὐ μή + the subjunctive denies a potentiality. The negative is not weaker; rather, the affirmation that is being negatived is less firm with the subjunctive. οὐ μή rules out even the idea as being a possibility: “ου μή is the most decisive way of negativing someth. in the future.” -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 468). Zondervan.

The straightforward interpretation of John 6:37 is those who choose to come to Christ are consistent with those the Father has given Christ.

I will in no wise cast out (οὐ μη ἐκβαλω ἐξω [ou mē ekbalō exō]). Strong double negation as in verse 35 with second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλω [ballō]. Definite promise of Jesus to welcome the one who comes. -- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (John 6:37). Broadman Press.

But just as the Bible teaches that God has elected certain persons to salvation, it also teaches that man is responsible to accept the gospel. God makes a universal offer—that if a man will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will be saved. God does not save men against their will. A person must come to Him in repentance and faith. Then God will save him. No one who comes to God through Christ will be cast out.

The human mind cannot reconcile these two teachings. However, we should believe them even if we cannot understand them. They are Biblical teachings and are clearly stated here. -- MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; p. 1503). Thomas Nelson.

  • good points from the Greek, makes vivid sense. But you said “ A person must come to Him in repentance and faith. Then God will save him.” what do you mean by that when God grants repentance to people? (2 Timothy 2:25-26)?
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 2:23
  • That's in a commentator's quote, but again it shows our inability to understand God's sovereignty and human volition. How do you understand that time is not independent or matter? Thus, when God created the universe, he created time from the beginning to end.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 12:43
  • “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isa. 46:8–10, ESV)
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 12:48
  • Noted, but you don’t think scripture shows enough of anthropology, theology proper, harmartiology, & Providence to detect the levels on which men can or cannot repent? Maybe that’s for another question on CSE.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 15:37
  • 1
    A dog can have a relationship with a human owner although a dog doesn't fully understand a human. The scriptures tell us what we need to know to relate to God, but we cannot fully understand God. Human philosophy and logic can make what God has revealed about himself and us seem contradictory, especially when we try to read too much into it.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 21:50

It can be compared to a husband giving an oath of love to a wife (or vice-versa to be politically correct, which I hate to be): "I will never cast you away, never abandon my love to you". Now it totally depends on wife if she is worthy or not of this love-full existential commitment of the husband. She can betray it, to be sure, by her bad behavior and treason, for love does not oppress anybody's freedom to deny this love after the initial acceptance. Yet husband will choose to remain still faithful to her and to his oath to her.

With the Lord it is qualitatively different: He not only does not cease to love those who come to Him, but cannot help loving them even if they betray Him, and if we betray Him - as we often do on a daily, hourly and minutely basis - He remains faithful for He is unable to be otherwise, He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13), which is the indication of His divinity, because such an immunity from any deviation cannot be a feature of any of the highest creatures (even angels of higher hierarchies have fallen not having it qua creatures), but only of God.

As St. John Cassian beautifully and with passionate intensity puts it in his 13th conference: “He (God) compares His own love and persevering goodness to a man who is dying of love for a woman. For the goodness and love of God, which He ever shows to mankind — since it is overcome by no injuries so as to cease from caring for our salvation, or be driven from His first intention, as if vanquished by our iniquities, — could not be more fitly described by any comparison than the case of a man inflamed with most ardent love for a woman, who is consumed by a more burning passion for her, the more he sees that he is slighted and despised by her”


Let us observe several matters:

  1. People come to have faith in Jesus because of divine prompting and never as their own initiative, John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. [See also John 15:16, 1 John 4:19, Rom 4:4, etc]

  1. God want all people to be save and thus draws all people to Jesus as per John 12:32 -

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself. [See also 2 Cor 5:14, 1 Tim 2:3, 4, Titus 2:11, 2 Peter 3:9, etc)

  1. The fact that someone comes to Jesus does not prevent that same person from later deciding desert Jesus and abandon the faith. See Rom 11:17-21, 1 Cor 10:12, Gal 5:4, Heb 6:4-6, 10:26, 29, 2 Peter 1:10, 2:21, 3:17, etc.

The wonderful promise in John 6:37 is simply a confirmation that Jesus is and will be absolutely faithful - such a person who accepts Jesus by faith and places trust in Jesus as their Savior, will never be cast out:

  • Jesus will not change His mind about saving someone
  • Jesus will accept all-comers as He wants to save everyone.
  • Jesus (via the Holy Spirit) helps preserve people in their earthly struggles and will not abandon them; all this without interfering with a person's free will to abandon their faith if they so choose.
  • With all due respect these 2 points you made, seem like a contradiction: “Jesus will not change His mind about saving someone” & “ Jesus (via the Holy Spirit) helps preserve people in their earthly struggles and will not abandon them; all this without interfering with a person's free will to abandon their faith if they so choose.”
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 2:15
  • @Cork88 - OK but I do not understand how you perceive this as a contradiction. Support for the saved is different from forcing people into the kingdom against their will.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 2:27
  • Well John 6:37 says “All that the Father gives to me will come to me” sounds also similar to John 3:35: “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” ‭‭- If all things have been given to Christ, including those whom the Father gave to Him, then wouldn’t it be people having their wills changed in the positive sense? Not the negative sense, which in the negative sense would be against their will?
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 4:12
  • @Cork88 - I am not sure how to even understand that question. Presumably, this makes sense only if one subscribes to absolute divine election or something like it. I have documented above that God wants all people to be saved and draws all people. Many resist; and of those that come, some turn away.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 5:52
  • 4
    The question is asking whether Jesus' statement refers to sending an enquirer away (who would believe on him) or never casting that person into outer darkness/hell. I think you have misunderstood the question. Question up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 8:52

The answer to your question is that he will never cast you out, but you may be in a situation where you think you have come to him but you have not.

Matthew 8.12, from the context, describes jews that do not believe in him and so will be cast out, even if they are the sons of the kingdom (descended from Jacob). That is the plain meaning, and the spiritual meaning would be those who view themselves as members of his body after the flesh (after outward signs, such as attending Church or performing works they think are good works), but have not come to him.

Here another verse would be Matt 7.20-23 (KJV 1900):

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

So from these verses we see:

  1. Jesus will push away those who never knew him but he will never push away those who came to him

  2. Some people will fool themselves into thinking they knew him, but Christ will declare that he never knew them. These he will cast out.

  3. Those who never knew Christ, but sincerely thought they did, believe they did many wonderful works, including casting out demons, prophesying, etc. Therefore outwardly they will look as if they are true believers, but inwardly they are not true believers, because they never came to him.

  4. In Christ's eyes, what matters is "doing the will of my Father", not performing wonderful works such as prophesying, performing miracles, etc.

This creates a problem, because, for example, if you give some money to the poor, you may or may not be doing the will of the Father. You cannot tell from the outward sign of the act, as what matters is in the heart. Jesus described this case:

Matthew 6:2–4 (KJV 1900)

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

And again in Samuel 16.7, we see that God looks at the heart, at what is secret:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

So what matters is the heart, not what is visible, whether good deeds, or miracles, if it is something that you can see, then there is always a possibility that it is not according to God's will and is counterfeit, because God demands truth in the inward parts when we come to Him

John 4:24 (KJV 1900)

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

This is why God needs to draw us to him, as we can force ourselves to declare "I believe in Jesus" and we can even sell all we have and give it to the poor, but we do not have control over the truth in our own hearts, and without actions imbued with integrity, there is no profit to us. Therefore he says in John 6.44:

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

  • What do you mean by “because God demands that truth in the inward parts when we come to Him” when all men are liars and sinful compared to God?
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 2:14
  • Sorry, there should be no "that" - I removed.
    – Robert
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 2:30
  • I find there to be more content on Matthew 7:21-23 & Matthew 8:12 than understanding the verse at hand. I mentioned Matthew 8:12 as a supplement to John 6:37 to show how the words “cast out” are used in both individual verses. I’m getting at the concept of “drive away/cast out” in John 6:37.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 4:14

This is the context of salvation with respect to God’s drawing

In that context, seeing that someone first needs to

  • hear the Word,
  • then believe the Word
  • then the Father brings that person in contact with Jesus

In that context Jesus then goes on to say that He Jesus will not reject anyone whom the Father brings to Him. None

Whether or not that person perseveres to the end is a different matter entirely, but John 6:37 is in the context of the Father drawing a person to Jesus, there is no end in mind, it is merely an introduction and Jesus is saying He won’t drive anyone away or cast anyone away from Him at that point.

“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:26‬ ‭

We already know that Jesus rejected five of the ten virgins, virgins being those born again, the one talent/mina servant and the branch which was IN the vine gets cut off and cast away. So this isn’t once saved always saved. One works out their salvation with fear and trembling until the END.

But as to being introduced, by the Father, Jesus rejects no one.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:44-45‬ ‭

What are they to learn and ultimately believe is true? That Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s work for man’s salvation. This is found in the OT

“Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:29‬ ‭

First OT must be believed, the OT points to Jesus, The Father introduces you to the fulfillment of the OT prophecies, namely Jesus, and Jesus will not turn the introduction away.

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