How do you respond to John 6:44?

“No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me…”

Calvinists sometimes argue that this passage teaches that the Father chooses and then “draws” certain people to Christ. Those who are “drawn” certainly come to Christ (John 6:37) while all who are not drawn remain in their sin. In short, this passage is interpreted to teach “particular election” (that is, God chooses to save some and not to save others).

It is true that the “drawing” Jesus speaks of is not universal, as some Arminians suggest, since Jesus is here contrasting those who are “drawn” with those who are not. But neither this or any other passage requires us to believe that the Father simply decides who will and will not be drawn. The Father “draws” people (or not) in response to their hearts.

God wants all to be saved and is working in every human heart to get each person to accept the Gospel. But people can and do resist God’s influence and thwart his will for their lives (see e.g. Lk 7:30). When a heart has been successfully opened, however, God goes further and “draws” that person to Jesus Christ.

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