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.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him
On the one hand the drawing in this passage is not irresistible grace, yet on the other no one can come to Christ without the Father drawing them initially. It is a humbling truth that we cannot come to God by operation bootstraps. Salvation is not entirely at our discretion. People never by themselves seek God; God first takes the initiative with man. God never leaves Himself without a witness.
The Greek does not indicate the nature of the drawing. The figurative idea includes some form of attraction (LXX, Jer 31:3). The point here is that no one can come to Christ without God taking the initiative.
The drawing here is the creating of an inner disposition by God on the soul to respond to Christ. No one will come to Christ unless the Father first draws. Drawing precedes faith. The Father sets up the conditions whereby a person can believe or disbelieve. God always works by means He determines.
No one can believe without God first taking the initiative.
Since the word “draws” connotes to draw toward something without necessarily the notion of force, this drawing is not irresistible grace. However, in the case of the human being, we are not capable of propelling ourselves toward salvation. The drawing by the Father is not irresistible grace but, on the other hand, no one can come to Christ without God first taking the initiative.
Salvation does not rest solely within man. There is no way that anyone can make a decision to come to Christ without divine intervention. Salvation must be initiated by God. People are unable to come to Christ on their own. God must first act on the soul. He does not simply beckon; He “draws” people to Himself. Faith apart from God is impossible.
Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, no one can believe in Christ. No one can come to Christ without the moving of the Holy Spirit on his or her soul (Jn 16:8-11). People cannot come to God by their own strength, reason, or effort. Only the Holy Spirit can convict and draw us to God. God’s drawing opens the individual to the reality of who and what Jesus is. The extent of the Holy Spirit’s work is universal (Jn 16:7-11).
God must draw us to Himself, otherwise we would never come to Him. Salvation is initiated by God, but we must respond to that initiative. We respond to God’s grace as an active agent with free choice. God sovereignly acts on our lives. He does this by concurring with everything in our lives. No event is outside His control. By this He gives us every opportunity to make a decision for Christ.
God’s role is to decide that certain things will take place in creation. That also includes what will take place in our lives. God gives human beings a limited liberty that operates within His sovereignty. Even within the limited liberty of man, God either agrees to or does not agree with a decision we may make. This is what we call the doctrine of concursus. Either God concurs within His sovereignty or He does not. God is the first cause; man operates as a second cause. In His foreknowledge, God decided that certain things will take place in our lives, down to every event or experience we face. The plan of God renders certain that man will act freely within His control.