In this message we continue our look at God's work of salvation in all who believe.
“Divine Salvation” (Pt. 2)
Think with me for a few moments about a western (i.e., as opposed to an Oriental) wedding ceremony. Certainly in the “ceremonies” that were typical in the days of the Lord Jesus, it was the groom who was the center of attention. That form made the marriage ceremony a valid illustration of the fact that when Christ’s bride is ultimately presented to Him the focus will not be on the bride, but on the groom who gave Himself for the church. The apostle Paul put it this way,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:25-27)
How does this bride, the church, respond to the Lord Jesus, the heavenly bridegroom? It responds as do all the hosts of heaven as revealed in Revelation 5:11-14:
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering z myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, a “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard b every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures c said, “Amen!” and the elders d fell down and worshiped. (ESV)
The bride will give worship, glory, and honor to the groom, who according to John 6:33 was given to the world by the Father in heaven. However, there is in the modern, western, wedding tradition another illustration that will help us picture the salvation that comes to all sinners who repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation. For many the climax to the modern wedding ceremony is not the saying of the “I do’s,” but is the moment when the bride walks down the aisle. Traditionally she is escorted by her father, and upon arriving at the front of the church the pastor asks the following question of the father, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” The father typically responds, “Her mother and I do.” We see then that the parents of the bride, and especially the father of the bride, give her to be married. We will see also that not only did the heavenly Father give the Lord Jesus to be the bridegroom of the church, it is also true that He gives the bride to Jesus.
Before we look at this incredible truth more fully let us quickly remind ourselves of what has occurred in this text. Jesus had fed thousands of people with five loaves (perhaps better for our understanding, pieces) of bread and two small dried fish. Following Him to the coastline of the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum the crowd, on the next day, demanded that Jesus continue to feed them. They looked for temporal nourishment without the work normally required to gain it, rather than understanding that the bread Jesus was offering was that which would grant and sustain eternal life, a bread that would be capable of overcoming man’s sin problem. Thus we see the Lord Jesus speak of God’s Divine provision in verses 35-36. God gave His own Son as the provision for man’s greatest need. Only through the bread of life can one have sin forgiven and eternal life granted. Our Lord and Savior also emphasized in these words that God’s provision is complete. All that is needed, both in the present and throughout eternity is given in Christ. Yet, even with this great offer Jesus indicated in verse 36 that many would reject Him. This brings us to the second of Jesus’ incredible words concerning God’s Divine salvation. In verses 37-38 we see,
II. Divine presentation. (Jn. 6:37-38)
Our Lord Jesus continued His response to the greedy crowd saying, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (6:37-38). If you know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then you should realize that you are a gift of God to His Son. We note here that:
A. Divine presentation includes every member of the church. (6:37a)
If it is true that all those who come to the Lord Jesus for salvation are a gift of God to Him, and if all who are gifts do come, then we can only conclude that not all are given, for not all are saved. It is clear that those who are a part of this gift were given by the Father prior to their having come to the Lord Jesus. Here we find evidence of divine election. God the Father will present all those who are among His elect to the Lord Jesus Christ. Of these words Warren Wiersbe said, “These are among the most profound words He ever spoke, and we cannot hope to plumb their depths completely. He explained that salvation involves both divine sovereignty and human responsibility.” Wiersbe then went on to say,
From our human and limited perspective, we cannot see how divine sovereignty and human responsibility can work together; but from God’s perspective, there is no conflict. When a church member asked Charles Spurgeon how he reconciled these two, he replied, “I never try to reconcile friends.” It is the Father’s will that sinners be saved (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and that those who trust Christ be secure in their salvation. Believers receive eternal life and Jesus can never lose them.
All who come to Christ are a present, given by God the Father to God the Son. It is biblically accurate to recognize that all those who are redeemed through faith in Christ are gifts of God the Father to Christ, in a manner not totally unlike the fact that Christ is a gift of the Father to all those who are members of the true church of Jesus Christ. All who are given are a part of the gift and will come to the Lord Jesus. We must take Christ at His word!
Not only is Divine sovereignty stressed by the Lord Jesus, but also note that all who come to Him will be received by Him. Jesus statement that “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out,” is an assurance that you will be accepted by Him if you will only come. Thus J. C. Ryle would say, “every one who desires eternal life may ‘look’ at Christ by faith, and have it freely. There is no barrier, no limit, no restriction. The terms of the Gospel are wide and simple. Every one may ‘look and live.’” Therefore we cry out, “Come to the bread of life, come to Christ and acquire the provision that gives eternal life! Come to Jesus and be God’s gift to His Son!
It would be good here to pause for a few moments to contemplate the awesome truth that all who are saved through faith in Christ are gifts of God the Father to God the Son. What tremendous value this places upon each member of the church of Jesus Christ. And yet, this privilege, as with all realities of the faith, should in no way encourage pride, but should rather encourage great humility. How unworthy are we, that we should be considered a gift of God to His Son! How great is our responsibility to seek to be a gift that is honoring to the Son! Are we, are you a gift that is living in a manner worthy of the One to whom you were given? To borrow the image of marriage again we remember that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her in order that “He might present Her to Himself as a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26-27). Is your life characterized by holiness? Are the spots, wrinkles, and blemishes of your life being overcome through a life of obedience to the Lord Jesus? Oh Christian, live in light of the fact that you are a gift of God the Father to God the Son! Live purely and with one ultimate love, as an earthly bride should live for her husband!
As we further continue our examination of this presentation note also that:
B. Divine presentation is eternal. (6:37b)
Jesus here expressed the eternal nature of this presentation in negative terms, though surely it is a positive truth He had in mind. He said, “and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” We have here a use of the double negative in the Greek. The phrase might more literally be rendered, “and the one who comes to Me I will not never cast out.” The idea here being expressed is that the one who comes to Christ in true faith will never for any reason be cast out. As MacArthur said, “The strong double negative ou mē states emphatically that Christ will not reject anyone who sincerely and submissively comes to Him. True saving faith can never be exercised in vain, but only at the prompting of the Father (v. 44).” How many gifts have you received in your lifetime, only to discard them later? Many years ago, when I was a teenager, my family had a Christmas gift exchange among approximately sixty people. In a situation like that it was impossible to know who might get your name and you could not always be sure of the gift you might receive. On one occasion one of the younger boys in the family had my name, and his parents decided that they should allow him to make the choice of the gift without any direction from them. What did he do? He went out and bought a gift that he would have wanted, but something entirely too young for a teenage boy. The thought was appreciated, but sadly, the gift was not, and the gift wasn’t around very long. Not so with the gift of God the Father to His Son. He will not lose this gift, He will not lose a single one who is given to Him.
Since this truth is emphasized even more in verses 39-40 we will save further comments for now. However, before leaving verses 37-38 we should note that:
C. Divine presentation is assured by Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of God’s will. (6:38)
The redemptive work that Jesus came to do is wrapped up in the will of the Father who sent Him. God the Father gives the church to Christ and gave Christ to the church. Jesus lived on this earth in perfect submission to the Father’s will, thus fulfilling all that was necessary to bring about man’s redemption. Within this context, the will of the Father is that Jesus lose none of those who are given to Him. Since Jesus always did the will of the Father, else He could not be the perfect Savior, it is necessary to understand that He will fulfill this aspect of the Father’s will also. None who come to Christ in true faith will be lost by the Lord who keeps them! It was God the Father’s will to give an eternal bride to Christ. The Lord Jesus perfectly fulfills this will of His Father.
We would be amiss here if we did not take just a moment to see Jesus’ proclamation of His own deity again in this verse. Note that He said, “For I have come down from heaven.” Unlike any other human who issued forth from his or her earthly parents, Jesus came down from heaven. He had existed prior to his conception and birth. In the context of John’s gospel He had existed in the beginning with God, because He was and is God (John 1:1).
Now let us turn our attention to verses 39-40 where we see the Lord Jesus expanding on a teaching He has already stressed in the preceding verses. We have thus far dealt with Divine provision and Divine presentation. Now we come to a third great truth that flowed from the lips of Christ. This truth, more fully stated here than previously is that of:
III. Divine preservation. (Jn. 6:39-40)
If Jesus statement of having come to do the will of His Father in verse 38 were not enough to make us realize within this context that salvation in Him is secure, the statement made here could not be clearer. Of this verse Ryle said, “It is a cheering and pleasant thought, that free and full salvation, and the final perseverance of believers, should be so expressly declared to be ‘the will of the Father.’” We see then that:
A. Divine preservation is an act of Christ performed in line with the eternal will of the Father. (6:39)
The verse begins with a crystal clear statement that simply cannot be misunderstood, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me.” Again, Jesus had just stated that He came down from heaven to do the will of His Father. Now He defines the Father’s will, while not seeking to declare every aspect of it, as being that all those given to Him should remain in Him and should be “raised up at the last day.” (Note here that we have an indication of the rapture and the resurrection in this statement of Christ.) All who have truly come to the Lord Jesus will on that last day be raised up. Herein we have a great statement of the perseverance of the saints, and note that it is not that the saints hold on with all their might, but that the Lord Jesus declares that He will lose none of those given to Him by the Father. Herein then is assurance. In fact, these two verses might be summed up with two words, assurance, which actually is dealt with in both verses, and invitation, which is dealt with in verse 40. The assurance rests in the fact that Jesus will do the will of the Father and the Father’s will is that He might lose none of those who have been given to Him.
This brings us to the invitation that comes in verse 40. Here we find that:
B. Divine preservation is an encouragement to faith. (6:40)
Here Jesus gives the invitation to trust in Him. These people were seeing and hearing the Son of God, and if they would repent and believe in Him they would come to know everlasting life. Seeing the Son here is a way of saying those who learn of Him. Today we do not “see” the Son physically, but He may be seen in His words, works, sacrifice, resurrection, etc. All who see Him are urged to trust, and all who trust will know the joy of forgiveness of sin, restored relationship with God, and eternal life. In light of this statement of Christ’s Ryle said, “Let such observe that it is the will of God the Father, that ‘every one’ who looks at Christ by faith may have everlasting life. It would be impossible to open a wider door.” Why seek Christ? Why come to the bread of life? Because all who come to Him in true faith will be received, and all who are received will be raised up by Him at the last day; because all who come to Him in repentance and faith will be presented by the Father to the Son. When Jesus speaks of salvation through the bread of life, i.e. through Himself, He speaks in terms of a Divine work. He is the Divine Provision, He is the object of the Divine presentation, and He is the assurance of Divine preservation. How will you respond to God’s offer in Christ Jesus the Lord?
 Verses teaching God’s sovereignty in salvation:
John 6:44, 65; Mt. 22:14; Mk. 13:20; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2:10; Titus 1:1; James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Peter 2:9
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Alive (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986), 78.
 J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2007 reprint), III, pt. 1, 369.
 John MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, John 1-11 (Chicago: Moody Press, 2006), 248.
 Ryle, III, pt. 1, 376.
 Ibid., III, pt. 1, 378.