DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – Please give your views on John v. 40, and oblige your weak brother,
Eagle Station, Ky., Dec. 14, 1880.
REPLY. – The text on which we are desire to give our views, reads thus: “And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” This chapter, as well as all other parts of the sacred scriptures, testifies of the utter inability of man to approach unto God by any power or ability which they possess in or of themselves. In the next chapter Jesus says positively to the same unbelieving Jews, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him.” Evidently implying that the same power and grace which was required to provide and send the Savior into the world is indispensably requisite to bring a sinner to Jesus for salvation. This declaration is substantially repeated by our Lord in the same connection, John vi. 44 and 65. “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
These scriptures, with many others, prove beyond all contradiction the total inability of all men to come to Jesus, except by the special gift and drawing of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the text on which we are requested to give our views, is equally positive and conclusive in proving that man, in his natural state is equally as destitute of a will or desire to come to him for salvation as they are of power. They have neither the will nor the ability to come to Jesus, that they might have life. It is very true that all who come to him have life, but it is equally true that those unbelieving Jews to whom these words were spoken, thought they had eternal life in the scriptures, which were then extant, the law and the prophets, and being of the works of the law and under the curse, disdained the humiliating thought of coming to Jesus for that life which they thought was already secure to them by their descent from Abraham, and their obedience to the precepts of the law of a carnal commandment. Like the Pharisees of the present time, they ignored the doctrine of salvation by grace, and through our Lord Jesus Christ.
But although “no man,” not one of the all the race of Adam, has either the ability or the will to come to Jesus that they might have life, Jesus has positively declared that, “All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Those whom the Father has given to Christ, are not left to the volition of their own will, nor to the exertion of human power, for it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. – Phil. ii. 13.
All who are drawn by the Father to Jesus and made willing in the day of his power, are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, and they shall never perish nor be cast out, for the eternal truth of God has said, I will raise them up at the last day, while all who are left to live and die under the delusion that they have the power in themselves to come to Jesus, and secure eternal life by their own will or works, die in their sins, and all their works shall perish with them.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 6
March 15, 1881