“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. – Rev 22:17 (KJV)
That must be one of the favorite verses of evangelical Christians. We use it a lot, with special emphasis on “whosoever”, as if anyone and everyone can or is able, to actually come to Christ. It’s a great thought, but it is it true according to what we are given in Scripture? Perhaps a separate question would be helpful here. “Just who CAN come Christ?
Who can hear? Who thirsts for Christ? Who desires Christ?
“No one understands; no one seeks for God.” – Rom 3:11 (Those who don’t seek.)
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” – Rom 8:7 (The carnally/fleshly minded.)
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Cor 4:3-4 (The blind man wearing a veil.)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. – Eph 2:1-3 (The dead man – deserving only of God’s wrath.)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:44 (The one not drawn to Christ by the Father.)
“And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” – John 6:65 (The one not granted to come by the Father)
“Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.” – John 10:25-26 (Those who are not His sheep.)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Matt 7:7 (The true seeker.)
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” – John 6:37 (Those the Father gives the Son)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:44 (The one drawn by the Father to the Son)
“And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” – John 6:65 (The one to whom it is granted by the Father.)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 27-28 (His sheep.)
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved—Eph 2:4-5 (Those made alive by God)
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” – Acts 13:48 (Those appointed to eternal life.)
“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” – Act 16:14 (The one whose heart has been opened to hear and receive the gospel.)
“..even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, Eph 1:4-5 (Those chosen and predestined by God for adoption.)
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” – 2Th 2:13 (Those chosen for salvation.)
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” – 1 Pet 1:1-2a (The elect according to the foreknowledge of God.)
Those are but a few of the passages of scripture that address the question “Who CAN come to Christ.?” They say what they say, and ought to be solid food for thought for all of us who name The Name of Christ.. Perhaps we will be more urgent in praying that God will call men and women to Christ, and that He will open hearts; enabling those to whom we witness to Come!
Except where noted, all Scripture passages are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV)