Jesus said to them (the Jewish audience), “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40 ESV)
We have nestled in the above passage from John, Chapter 6 two declarations by Jesus concerning a group of people ‘given’ to the Son by the Father; those given to the Son by the Father will come, and having come, they will never be cast out.
Note that the passage does not say “When those the Father gives me come to me, I will receive them,” it merely says that “all those the Father gives me will come.” The certainty of that coming is amplified by Jesus saying in v. 40 that those who believe (come) will be raised up on the last day.
In researching a lot of different study Bibles and commentaries, I discovered that there seems to be very strong consensus by theologians through the centuries that there is indeed a group of people given to the Son by the Father, who will be saved. I won’t cite all of those references here, but leave it up to the reader to discover them. All that research really only means that the passages mean exactly what they say.
What that passage presents the reader are some very interesting and important questions:
Who make up this group of people the Father gives the Son? If all of them come to Christ and are saved, it can’t mean that God gives everyone to the Son (universal salvation) because we know from the scriptures that some folks don’t receive eternal life, but they receive everlasting punishment (Matt 25:46).
Are there any who receive eternal life who are not given by the Father to the Son, that some come all on their own? If that’s the case, why would the Father ‘give’ anyone to the Son?
If only those that the Father ‘gives’ the Son are saved, what about those not given?
What all is involved in the ‘giving’ by God and the ‘coming’ of those given?
What does it mean that those who come will never be cast out?
I’m not offering answers in this post, just the questions. Do I have answers? Yes, and some might even be the right answers, but that’s not the point. I think we need to wrestle with the questions on our own and let the Bible speak.
They are not simple ‘fill in the blank’ questions, but some of the answers can ‘rock your theology’.