Select Page
Read Introduction to John

 

2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

 

to as many as You have given Him.

The gift of eternal life rests on the cross and glorification of Jesus. He had not died, there could be no eternal life. The giving of eternal life completely depends on the cross, the glorification of the Son.

Jesus referred seven times in this prayer to those the Father gave Him (Jn 17:2, 6 [twice], 9, 11, 12, 24). Those “given Him” are those who believe in Him, the result of the glorification of Christ. The Father gives those who believe in Christ eternal life (Jn 6:37,39).

John uses the word “give” occurs 76 times in the Gospel of John. He uses it 17 times in this prayer. Giving is a concept of grace. It is a giving for the express purpose of conferring eternal life (Jn 3:35-36; 10:28). Jesus did not confer eternal life indiscriminately but only to those who believe (key word in the Gospel).

Those “given” are the “whosoever will may come” group. If that invitation is legitimate then there is a free choice involved in salvation. Everyone is culpable for that choice.

In John 6:37 the Father gives Jesus those who “comes to” Him. The Father draws all people to Himself but only some accept His drawing (Jn 16:8f). His love extends to the entire “world” (Jn 3:16). Those who reject His offer of salvation stand forever under His wrath (Jn 3:36).

Those “given” by the Father are those to this point who have believed in Jesus during the course of His ministry. “As many as” is neuter singular which refers to the corporate group that has believed to this point. The Father gave all believers who have believed to this point to Jesus as a united whole. Thus, this is a reference to a group, not individuals.

Judas was spoken by Jesus as one of those given to Christ (Jn 17:12). If this is true then all those given by the Father could not be believers. Note the nature of “given” in these verses: Jn 17:2, 6, 9, 11. If Judas would have been “kept” as the others were, he could not have been the “son of perdition.” He would not have been part of the “given” and “kept.”

The phrase “not of them is lost but” denotes exception (εἰ μή.) Jesus said that He “chose” Judas (John 6:70, 71). He picked Judas as one of the twelve. He was chosen to an office but not to salvation. In other words, Judas as not chosen in a personal sense but in an official sense (Jn 13:10, 11, 16).

PRINCIPLE:

Salvation is offered to all but received by a few.

APPLICATION:

A major focus in theology is the question “for whom did Christ die”? Did He die only for the elect or did He die for everyone. It is clear from the predominance of Scripture that He died for everyone (2 Pe 3:9; Ro 10:9-17; Jn 1:29; 3:16-17; 2 Co 5:14-15, 19; 1 Ti 2:6; 4:10; He 2:9; 1 Jn 2:1-2; 4:14; Christ died for false teachers, 2 Pe 2:1)

Salvation is offered to all but received by few. God’s sovereign action to convict all is put in tension man’s freedom to accept or reject His offer. God does not determine salvation wholly by His will apart from human will.

This passage does not argue that Jesus offered salvation to a predetermined few. God offers salvation to all, to “whosoever” (Jn 3:16). There is no restriction whatever in “whosoever.”

The fact that not all would believe was no surprise to God; He knew that from eternity, from an eternal viewpoint. From that perspective He indicated Himself in the entire process of salvation. We call this the doctrine of concursus. God put a plan of salvation into place and He has drawn every person on earth to believe it by the convicting work of the Spirit. Only those who respond to this appointed work of concursus are believers, “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Ac 13:48). His ordaining has to do with His concursive process. (For a deeper study on concursus, go here: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/concursus/gods-decree-and-free-will/ )

If God commands people to believe and yet only allows a select group to believe, then He is inconsistent. God never commands anything that impossible to do. He draws “all” people, not some (Jn 12:32; 16:8-11).

Share