If we would take the basics of the Christian faith seriously, then we must begin with what Jesus actually said.
Of Our Coming Unto Him

Jesus said: "No man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father," (John 6:65).

Coming to Christ by faith is a gift of God. The grace of being born again is first. Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). By being born again, God's people are given the spiritual ability to see, believe, and enter His kingdom. This ability also must be spiritually stirred up into the activity of saving faith. This too is God's work of grace in His people. Jesus said, "No man can come unto me except the father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). Grace must also draw us to Christ.

Jesus Himself seeks us and draws us to Himself as He taught us in the parable of the lost sheep. He said, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? and when he hath found it, he layeth it upon his shoulders rejoicing" (Luke 15:4, 5). Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Notice that that which was lost is His sheep. It belongs to Him. The shepherd seeks the sheep because it is his sheep. The sheep does not first seek him. The shepherd finds it, and not the sheep Him. The sheep does not decide whether to come home. In itself it was lost and would stay lost. We come to Him because He in His grace called us, sought us, and saved us.

Jesus does this by His love through His Word and the working of His Spirit in our hearts. That love works powerfully by His Word to save, to give us the hearing ear of faith. Therefore Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," (John 10:27). Nor does that call of Christ by the preaching of His Word ever fail to save His sheep, for He says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me," (John 6:37). It is not possible for one of those sheep to perish. All of those given to Christ shall come to Him because His seeking and finding by His Word is a work of sovereign, irresistible grace.

Moreover while God's word is preached generally, so that many hear its sound, it addresses His sheep personally. Jesus said that "...he calleth his own sheep by name," (John 10:3). He addresses His sheep, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and (I will give you rest," (Matt. 11:28). He calls His sheep laboring and heavy laden, that is, by certain spiritual characteristics which identify them. By that work of grace His sheep see themselves and their terrible burden of sin, believe, and come unto Him. Thus Jesus names His sheep "believers," "hearers," "poor in spirit," "they that mourn..." (Matt. 5:3-10). To them alone He promises, "I will give you rest." Jesus does not promise rest to all, but to the ones coming to Him, drawn by His grace. His promises are not general, not offered to all, but are personal and particular. Do you believe in this Jesus Who truly saves His sheep? There is a false christ, who can only offer himself, and leave it with man whether he will come unto him. That false christ is not the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures.

By Rev. Thomas Miersma, Missionary Pastor

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