44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
unless the Father who sent Me draws him;
The word “draws” carries a range of meanings including to draw by violence, persuasion, or invitation. The context determines the meaning. When it is used in a physical sense, it normally means to draw by force. When used in its figurative sense, the meaning is to attract or influence.
The Greek word “draws” carries the idea of draw, drag—implying force in its non-metaphorical uses (Jn 18:10; 21:6, 11; Ac 16:19). However, here in 6:44 and 12:32, its use is metaphorical. The figurative use does not imply compulsion, for faith is voluntary and coming to Christ involves “belief,” which is the argument of the gospel of John.
When “draws” is used metaphorically, the idea is to draw by inward power, lead, impel, attract. Bauer’s lexicon says it is the “pull on man’s inner life.” It is a vital constraint. It is an internal pressing by the Father on the soul that honors human freedom.
The idea, then, is that the metaphorical usage is a mighty influence by the Father, who rules the affairs of life and acts upon our hearts so as to give maximum influence to reject or accept Christ as Savior. God does this in what we call the doctrine of concursus; that is, God must concur with everything that happens to us and even every decision we might make. God’s concursus does not mean that He agrees with the values of our decisions but that He gives us a limited freedom governed by His sovereignty.
Man has no natural ability to come to God on his own. He is naturally unwilling to do so. It takes the Holy Spirit to convict him of the truth that is in Jesus. This is the same as the drawing of the Father.
In verse 44 we have the drawing of the Father and in 12:32 the drawing of the Son. John 12:32 is the only other metaphorical or figurative use of elkuo in John. Other uses of “draw” are literal, such as drawing of a sword or net.
God does not violate our volition when He draws us to Himself.
Some interpreters think that everyone God draws will come to Him in salvation; that is, that every draw is successful. However, this is an assumption or a reading into the text something that is not there in an extant way.
Jesus said nothing about the nature of this drawing. The core of His assertion is that the Father’s drawing is essential for belief to take place. It is a reading into the text or an interpolation to insert a meaning into “draws” other than the simple meaning of the word. There is nothing in the metaphorical use of this word about an irresistible drawing of people to Christ. The idea of coercion is usually taken from a physical use of the word.
God does not violate our volition in deciding for Christ. Both the Father’s drawing and the believer’s response by faith are held in tension throughout Scripture.