Why is it that some people put their trust in Jesus Christ, and others do not? What sets these people apart that they become Christians, while others don’t?
Are some more righteous than others to begin with? Are they more godly, more holy already, so that they naturally take the next step and trust Jesus entirely? Is that what happens?
I doubt it. I can think of any number of people I know who seem to be better people than I, who at the same time, express zero interest in Christ. Some even openly declare their atheism.
Maybe they are more spiritual than others. They’ve always had an interest in spirituality, so it’s natural to take the next step into Christian faith.
Again, I doubt it. I’ve met plenty of very ‘spiritual’ people, many of whom I would suggest are spiritual fruit-loops, with no real interest in Jesus Christ.
Are some more intelligent than others, and so make the right decision for Christ? Surely not, for some of the most intelligent people on earth are often the most anti-God.
Well, maybe it’s that some recognise their need, their sin, their emptiness, their bankruptcy, more than others. But then I’ve known some pretty glum, pretty defeated people that never turn to Christ.
So, what is it then?
Jesus answers that question – at least, in part – in John 6. And it can make for uncomfortable – and confusing – reading for some people.
For what Jesus tells His hearers is that they are each responsible to respond to Him, to come to Him. Any failure to do so is entirely their fault. Not their parents, not their upbringing, and certainly not God’s fault.
God has given them what they need to turn to Christ. “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe” [John 6:36]. It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, “I’ve taught you; I’ve healed many of you, I’ve performed great signs and wonders among you. I’ve even told you where I came from. What more must I do to convince you?”
Instead, they stubbornly refuse to come to Him to be saved.
But then there’s this other wrinkle that Jesus throws in. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” [John 6:44].
What the…? How then are they responsible if they can’t come unless the Father’s draw them?
While it’s not easy to understand, at the heart of it all is the biblical truth that their inability to come is not founded in permissions. God has not forbidden them to come, else all the calls of Scripture to turn to God, to trust in Christ, are meaningless.
Rather, their inability is to be found in themselves – in their nature of rebellion and rejection of God. They can’t do what they don’t want to do. And what they don’t want to do most of all is to come to Christ.
Don’t get too smug here, friend. That’s a problem we all face. We are all – by nature – strangers and aliens, rebels and enemies of God. And that’s the way we like it.
Unless – and until – the Father draw us to Christ. That’s where He chooses to set His love on us – in spite of our rebellion – and change our heart so we come willingly to His Son. Ezek 36:22-32 sheds some light on the how and the why of this change. Read it for yourself. Go on, I dare you.
We are unable to do that for ourselves because our heart – and our will – is so corrupted by sin that we can’t go against it. It is our sin-saturated nature that we inherited from Adam that stops us coming, not God.
But if you would just cry out to Him, cry out for mercy at His hand, He will delight in granting you that new heart, that new spirit.
And then it will be true of you as it is true of every other believer;
- You shall not hunger [John 6:35]
- You will no longer thirst [John 6:35]
- You will never be cast out [John 6:37]
- He will never lose you [John 6:39]
- He will raise you up on the last day [John 6:39, 40, 44, 54]
- You will have eternal life [John 6:40, 47, 50, 51, 54, 57, 58]
- You will abide in Him, and He in you [John 6:56]
Come to Him, turn to Him, believe in Him – before it is too late.