But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
~ John 12:37-40
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
~ John 6:65
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
~ Colossians 2:12
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
~ Hosea 11:4
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
~ John 6:39-40
The Father’s Drawings, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The following contains an excerpt from his sermon, Human Inability”.
No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him.
~ John 6:44
II. Our second point is THE FATHER’S DRAWINGS. “No man can come to Me except the Father which has sent Me draw him.” How, then, does the Father draw men? Arminian divines generally say that God draws men by the preaching of the Gospel. Very true. The preaching of the Gospel is the instrument of drawing men, but there must be something more than this. Let me ask to whom did Christ address these words? Why, to the people of Capernaum, where he had often preached, where he had uttered mournfully and plaintively the woes of the Law and the invitations of the Gospel. In that city He had done many mighty works and worked many miracles.
In fact, such teaching and such miraculous attestation had He given to them, that He declared that Tyre and Sidon would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes if they had been blessed with such privileges. Now if the preaching of Christ Himself did not avail to the enabling these men to come to Christ, it cannot be possible that all that was intended by the drawing of the Father was simply preaching. No, Brethren, you must note again, He does not say no man can come except the minister draw him, but except the Father draw him.
Now there is such a thing as being drawn by the Gospel and drawn by the minister without being drawn by God. Clearly it is a Divine drawing that is meant, a drawing by the Most High God–the First Person of the most glorious Trinity sending out the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, to induce men to come to Christ. Another person turns round and says with a sneer, “Then do you think that Christ drags men to Himself, seeing that they are unwilling.” I remember meeting once with a man who said to me, “Sir, you preach that Christ takes people by the hair of their heads and drags them to Himself.” I asked him whether he could refer to the date of the sermon wherein I preached that extraordinary doctrine, for if he could, I should be very much obliged. However, he could not.
But said I, while Christ does not drag people to Himself by the hair of their heads, I believe that He draws them by the heart quite as powerfully as your caricature would suggest. Mark that in the Father’s drawing there is no compulsion whatever. Christ never compelled any man to come to Him against his will. If a man is unwilling to be saved, Christ does not save him against his will. How, then, does the Holy Spirit draw him? Why, by making him willing. It is true He does not use “moral persuasion.” He knows a nearer method of reaching the heart. He goes to the secret fountain of the heart and he knows how, by some mysterious operation, to turn the will in an opposite direction, so that, as Ralph Erskine paradoxically puts it, the man is saved “with full consent against his will,” that is, against his old will he is saved.
But he is saved with full consent for he is made willing in the day of God’s power. Do not imagine that any man will go to Heaven kicking and struggling all the way against the hand that draws him. Do not conceive that any man will be plunged in the bath of a Savior’s blood while he is striving to run away from the Savior. Oh, no. It is quite true that first of all man is unwilling to be saved. When the Holy Spirit has put His influence into the heart, the text is fulfilled–“draw me and I will run after You.” We follow on while He draws us, glad to obey the voice which once we had despised. But the gist of the matter lies in the turning of the will.
How that is done no flesh knows. It is one of those mysteries that is clearly perceived as a fact, but the cause of which no tongue can tell and no heart can guess. The apparent way, however, in which the Holy Spirit operates, we can tell you. The first thing the Holy Spirit does when He comes into a man’s heart is this–He finds him with a very good opinion of himself. And there is nothing which prevents a man coming to Christ like a good opinion of himself. “Why,” says man, “I don’t want to come to Christ. I have as good a righteousness as anybody can desire. I feel I can walk into Heaven on my own rights.”
The Holy Spirit lays bare his heart–lets him see the loathsome cancer that is there eating away his life–uncovers to him all the blackness and defilement of that sink of Hell, the human heart. Then the man stands aghast, “I never thought I was like this. Oh, those sins I thought were little, have swelled out to an immense stature. What I thought was a molehill has grown into a mountain. It was but the hyssop on the wall before, but now it has become a cedar of Lebanon.” “Oh,” says the man within himself, “I will try and reform. I will do good deeds enough to wash these black deeds out.”
Then comes the Holy Spirit and shows him that he cannot do this, takes away all his fancied power and strength, so that the man falls down on his knees in agony and cries, “Oh, once I thought I could save myself by my good works, but now I find that–
“Could my tears forever flow,
Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone,
You must save and You alone.”
Then the heart thinks and the man is ready to despair. And says he, “I never can be saved. Nothing can save me.” Then, comes the Holy Spirit and shows the sinner the Cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve and says, “Look to yonder Cross. That Man died to save sinners. You feel that you are a sinner. He died to save you.” And He enables the heart to believe and to come to Christ. And when it comes to Christ, by this sweet drawing of the Spirit, it finds “a peace with God which passes all understanding, which keeps his heart and mind through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now, you will plainly perceive that all this may be done without any compulsion. Man is as much drawn willingly, as if he were not drawn at all. And he comes to Christ with full consent, with as full a consent as if no secret influence had ever been exercised in his heart. But that influence must be exercised, or else there never has been and there never will be any man who either can or will come to the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. And, now, we gather up our ends and conclude by trying to make a practical application of the doctrine. And we trust a comfortable one. “Well,” says one “if what this man preaches is true, what is to become of my religion? For do you know I have been a long while trying and I do not like to hear you say a man cannot save himself. I believe he can and I mean to persevere. But if I am to believe what you say, I must give it all up and begin again.” My dear Friends, it will be
Remember, what you are doing is building your house upon the sand and it is but an act of charity if I can shake it a little for you. Let me assure you, in God’s name, if your religion has no better foundation than your own strength, it will not stand at the bar of God. Nothing will last to eternity but that which came from eternity. Unless the everlasting God has done a good work in your heart, all you may have done must be unraveled at the last day of account. It is all in vain for you to be a Church-goer or Chapel-goer, a good keeper of the Sabbath, an observer of your prayers. It is all in vain for you to be honest to your neighbors and reputable in your conversation. If you hope to be saved by these things, it is all in vain for you to trust in them.
Go on–be as honest as you like. Keep the Sabbath perpetually, be as holy as you can. I would not dissuade you from these things. God forbid. Grow in them, but oh, do not trust in them. For if you rely upon these things you will find they will fail you when most you need them. And if there is anything else that you have found yourself able to do unassisted by Divine Grace, the sooner you can get rid of the hope that has been engendered by it, the better for you–for it is a foul delusion to rely upon anything that flesh can do.
A spiritual Heaven must be inhabited by spiritual men and preparation for it must be worked by the Spirit of God. “Well,” cries another, “I have been sitting under a ministry where I have been told that I could, at my own option, repent and believe and the consequence is that I have been putting it off from day to day. I thought I could come one day as well as another. That I had only to say, ‘Lord, have mercy upon me,’ and believe, and then I should be saved. Now you have taken all this hope away for me, Sir. I feel amazement and horror taking hold upon me.” Again, I say, “My dear Friend, I am very glad of it. This was the effect which I hoped to produce, by God’s grace. I pray that you may feel this a great deal more. When you have no hope of saving yourself, I shall have hope that God has begun to save you.
As soon as you say, “Oh, I cannot come to Christ. Lord, draw me, help me,” I shall rejoice over you. He who has got a will, though he has not power, has grace begun in his heart and God will not leave him until the work is finished. But, careless Sinner, learn that your salvation now hangs in God’s hand. Oh, remember you are entirely in the hand of God. You have sinned against Him and if He wills to damn you, damned you are. You can not resist His will nor thwart His purpose. You have deserved His wrath and if He chooses to pour the full shower of that wrath upon your head, you can do nothing to reverse it.
If, on the other hand, He chooses to save you, He is able to save you to the very uttermost. But you lie as much in His hand as the summer’s moth beneath your own finger. He is the God whom you are grieving every day. Does it not make you tremble to think that your eternal destiny now hangs upon the will of Him whom you have angered and incensed? Does not this make your knees knock together and your blood curdle? If it does so I rejoice, inasmuch as this may be the first effect of the Spirit’s drawing in your soul. Oh, tremble to think that the God whom you have angered is the God upon whom your salvation or your condemnation entirely depends. Tremble and “kiss the Son lest He be angry and you perish from the way while His wrath is kindled but a little.”
Now, the comfortable reflection is this–some of you this morning are conscious that you are coming to Christ. Have you not begun to weep the penitential tear? Did not your closet witness your prayerful preparation for the hearing of the Word of God? And during the service this morning, has not your heart said within you, “Lord, save me, or I perish, for save myself I cannot”? And could you not now stand up in your seat and sing–
“Oh, Sovereign Grace my heart subdue;
I would be led in triumph, too,
A willing captive of my Lord,
To sing the triumph of His Word”?
And have I not myself heard you say in your heart–“Jesus, Jesus, my whole trust is in You. I know that no righteousness of my own can save me, but only You. O Christ–sink or swim, I cast myself on You”? Oh, my Brothers and Sisters, you are drawn by the Father, for you could not have come unless He had drawn you. Sweet thought. And if He has drawn you, do you know what is the delightful inference? Let me repeat just one text, and may that comfort you–“The Lord has appeared of old unto me, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love–therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.”
Yes, my poor weeping Brothers and Sisters, inasmuch as you are now coming to Christ, God has drawn you. And inasmuch as He has drawn you, it is a proof that He has loved you from before the foundation of the world. Let your heart leap within you, you are one of His. Your name was written on the Savior’s hands when they were nailed to the accursed tree. Your name glitters on the breastplate of the great High Priest today. And it was there before the daystar knew its place, or planets ran their round. Rejoice in the Lord, you that have come to Christ, and shout for joy all you that have been drawn of the Father. For this is your proof–your solemn testimony–that you from among men have been chosen in eternal election and that you shall be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto the salvation which is ready to be revealed.