Is anyone and everyone able to come to Christ, solely in the strength of human will? What, if anything, does the Bible have to say about who can (has the ability) come to Christ? For the moment, lay any doctrinal position you already have aside and just focus on the words in the pages of Scripture.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” – John 6:44-45
Those who are drawn by the Father, and who have heard from and learned from the Father are able to come to Christ. We are in fact told that they will come.
“. . .no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” – John 6:65
Those to whom the Father has granted the ability, are able to come to Christ.
“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 who have been appointed (ordained) to eternal life are able to come to Christ, and in at least one instance, all who had been ‘appointed’ believed.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 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 1:1-5
Those chosen before the foundation of the world and predestined (predetermined) to be adopted as sons, are able to come to Christ.
Regardless of anything else in those passages, they describe characteristics of those who are able to come to Christ. The passages from John also tell us, in no uncertain terms, that unless (a universal requisite), God grants the necessary ability, and draws a person to Christ, there is no coming to Christ. We are left with the inescapable conclusion that human ability alone is not sufficient for anyone to embrace Christ, that if we believe the words on the page.
We are now faced with the question “Why are natural human beings unable to come to Christ? For that answer, we can again look to Scripture to see what God tells us about ‘us’.
“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 natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14
“What then? Are we Jews any better off (than Gentile non-believers)? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” – Rom 3:9-11
Regardless of what you currently believe about all the other ‘issues’ normally associated with the above Scripture passages, the words themselves teach us something about those who are able to come to Christ, and something about the nature of fallen men. Neither set of passages is exhaustive for either topic, in fact they are incredibly brief on both matters!
Please do not assume that this blogger is pushing his own opinion or agenda. I might have both of those, but they really don’t matter, because I am wise enough to know that I cannot personally persuade anyone of any spiritual truth – that’s God job.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!