(Article for publication week of 5-29- AD 2014)
"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" (John 6:44).
The first part of this verse is the most pessimistic verse in the Bible, for it presents man as God sees him. If we could see ourselves as God sees us it would deflate our egos, destroy our pride and "self esteem", and set us to bewailing our lost condition and to seeking Christ. No man, including you dear reader can come to Christ and be saved unless God has mercy upon you and draws you to the Son by the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit. If God leaves you as you are you will never repent of your sins and come to Christ, and you will be damned forever. Now you let that sink in, proud sinner.
But the second part of our text is the most optimistic verse in the Bible! God in His glorious mercy makes an exception for some sinners and draws them to Christ and saves them with an everlasting salvation. Dear reader, if you are presently saved, it is because God made an exception for you. God's grace is an exceptional thing! God passes by some sinners and leaves them in their sins and sends them on to eternal hell. But in His great mercy (for He is rich in mercy), He draws some sinners to Christ in Whom they find salvation.
The word "draw" in our text is most interesting and revealing. The word from which it is translated literally means "to drag." Now, that is exactly what God does when He saves a sinner according to His eternal purpose. He literally drags that sinner out of his sleep of spiritual death, and he drags that sinner to the Saviour to be saved. No man ever came to Christ of His own free will (our text plainly says so). Our text declares that an elect sinner is completely passive in his salvation. God is active, and the sinner is passive. God draws the objects of His mercy by His omnipotent power. God draws His people like we used to draw a bucket of water out of a well with a rope and windlass. There are some who vainly imagine that God "invites" sinners to come to Christ. Some imagine vainly that he "woos" sinners to Christ. That would be like going to the well and "inviting", or "wooing" the water to come to you at the top of the well. The water will never get out of the well by an invitation; no, it must be drawn out. It must be overcome by a power greater than the gravity holding it in the well. So, God draws by a power stronger than nature and rescues sinners from their desperate plight.
Now, again I say, this is the most optimistic text in the Bible for a poor sinner that sees his complete inability and helplessness to be free from sin and come to Christ. Sinner, you are not able to come to Christ, but God is able to draw you. He has drawn millions as helpless as yourself, and He has the power to draw you by His irresistible grace.
And this also an optimistic verse for those who preach the gospel. God will draw some of those to whom we are preaching. We do not expect that everybody to whom we preach will be saved. But we know God has promised that He will save His elect. And so we go forth and preach the gospel to every creature with the confidence that God will draw His people. As we call all men to repentance and faith, the Holy Spirit will call some effectually. I pray He will draw some of you.