God’s Sovereignty in Salvation

On Aug 24th, pastor John finished the 2-part series on God’s sovereignty. If you missed it you can listen here. The focus was on God’s sovereignty in salvation from John 6:35-51. Jesus tells the crowd that He is the true Bread we must feed upon for eternal life. But they didn’t believe. Has God’s plan to save His people been thwarted? No: God’s plan to save every sinner He wants will not fail because it’s His work from start to finish: the Father gives people to the Son, who by His power will believe, and they will be raised up last day. The key idea of the text is that the Father gives and draws people to Jesus, the true bread from heaven, whom we must feed upon for eternal life. 3 points to see:


1. The Father gives people to the Son

           a.. In v. 35 Jesus says, "I am the bread of life…” (see Ex. 3:14) Jesus is saying He’s not a mere man, but God in flesh! Whoever believes will never hunger for spiritual life because He is the source and giver of life!  But they didn’t believe despite His miracles! This describes all of us in sin. Every part of us—our mind, emotions, our will—is polluted by sin. (Ps. 51; Jer 17:9; Jn 8:34; Rm 8:7-8; Eph 2:1).  So, they didn’t believe. Has God’s plan failed? Would the wise and sovereign Lord leave the outcome of that plan in the hands of sinners who are in bondage to sin?


           b. Jesus is clear that such is not the case. In v. 37 He says,  “All that the Father gives me will come to me…” Coming to Jesus (believing), is dependent upon being given to Jesus by the Father, and all the Father gives Jesus will, not might, come to Jesus. Does everyone w/o exception come to Jesus? No. Who comes to Jesus? All the Father gives to Jesus, and only them.


                       1) “All” refers to the whole group of people that are the Father’s possession from all eternity and which He is determined to save—“the elect.” (compare v. 39 with Mark 13:27 and Eph 1:4-6). Is election unconditional: based only on God’s grace alone, not what the sinner did? Or is it conditional: Based on what God knew we would do in the future (come to him)?  


                       2) Our text is clear: The giving of Father to Jesus is prior to belief in Jesus.  And in v. 44 Jesus says no one can come to Him. If God looked into the future, He would see a mass of sinful humanity in bondage to sin—unwilling and unable to come to Christ. God chooses a multitude of undesirable, God-hating sinners according to His grace alone, and gives them to the desirable one, Christ. Election isn’t based on what we do, but God’s grace alone. In Rom 9:11-16, everything about Jacob and Esau are equal. But God chooses 2nd born (Jacob) to make the point that election is not dependent on any human factor, but God’s sovereign mercy alone.


                       3)  Believer, rejoice that He set His love on you—a hopeless God-hating rebel—in Christ from all eternity. And in vv. 38-40, we see the Lord will save and preserve you because your salvation is totally dependent upon and accomplished by a sovereign, all-powerful Savior!


2. The Father draws people to the Son

           a. In v. 44, Jesus explains their unbelief: “No one can come to me.” The word “can” means “ability.” Because of sin, no sinner has the moral ability to repent and believe in Him.

Man cannot because he will not, and he will not because he is a slave to sin.


           b. But there is hope: no one can believe in Jesus—unless the Father draws him. This drawing is not a mere “enticement” where the person can finally resist and not be saved.  


                       1) That interpretation is impossible: 1st, in v. 44, note the 1-for-1 correspondence: every one that is drawn will be raised up the last day (saved!).


                       2) 2d, the idea behind the word “draw” is one of irresistible power. It’s the same Greek word (helko) for drawing a fishing net, drawing a sword, or dragging something.  A soldier pulls his sword from its sheath, the sword passive, it must go where he draws it.


                       3) Same here. The Father’s “drawing” is a power worked in the heart of the sinner that ensures the unbelieving sinner becomes the believing saint. See Eph 2:1-5: Were dead in sins…But God (not us and our free will) makes us alive! This is spiritual resurrection!


                       4) Did you come to Jesus because you were smarter or wiser than your unbelieving friends? No! It is God’s grace that makes you differ. At the moment God determined, He overcame your stubborn resistance and raised you from spiritual death to spiritual life!  At that moment, you cried out to Jesus: “I repent and believe!


3.  The Son gives Himself for His people

In vv. 47-51 Jesus says the “bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." This references Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Everything about your life in Christ comes to you by way of the cross and bodily resurrection of Christ—all of the grace, and even your ability to repent and believe!  It is only by eating and drinking His body and blood (turning from your sins and trusting in His finished work alone to save you)—that we enter into eternal life.  Have you done that today? Come and partake of the true bread!



            God’s plan to save sinners does not fail, because it’s not dependent upon man, but the sovereign power and grace of God alone. These truths are not meant for us to agonize over, or put us in a state of confusion.


           1. They are meant first of all to comfort us and fill our hearts with wonder and awe at God’s grace and love towards sinners who don’t deserve it.


           2. They are meant to humble us. These truths rob us of every possible avenue of pride or boasting in our power or ability. If you have come to Christ, you know that it was all owing, 100%, to God’s grace and power alone. And now we make our boast, in the fact that God enabled me to do the impossible: to make a decision for Christ, all by His grace alone, and all to His glory alone. So let us rejoice in the fact that we serve a sovereign God who devised a perfect plan of salvation that cannot fail, that is accomplished by a perfect Savior!