This question is for Evangelicals who do not hold a Calvinist view

Jesus Christ states that the Father alone draws men to Himself.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:44‬ ‭

  1. What did Jesus mean by this statement?

  2. How is this statement to be understood in the broader context of Scripture such that God remains Sovereign, drawing certain men to Jesus Christ but men still have free will to choose, up until the point of being drawn by the Father to Jesus Christ or thereafter?

  3. The response should be able to address/explain Acts 13 why the Jews were not drawn but the Gentiles were and Acts 16 with Lydia who went from hearing to paying close attention, therefore drawn. Or other NT examples.

Jesus does add a qualifier

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭

  1. How can one hear and learn from the Father if first they have not been drawn to Jesus Christ yet but clearly still able to hear and learn from the Father prior to been drawn to believe in Jesus Christ?

  2. What is the catalyst that allows them to hear and learn that they might be drawn?

  • By your own reasoning, men have the ability "to choose" (and yet they do not come to Christ). They have that ability 'up until the point of being drawn'. (And yet they do not come to Christ.) Then, you say, they are drawn by the Father. (And then, and only then, they come to Christ.) This is your own reasoning. And yet you ask for a non-Calvinistic answer ? ? ? It seems to me that you have just proved that men have no free will to come to Christ.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 2, 2020 at 14:34
  • Calvinism claims no free will period. I reason there is limited free will. Hope you see the distinction.
    – Autodidact
    Jan 2, 2020 at 15:00
  • Example: a recruiting agency puts out an ad for a six figure position with benefits where everyone can apply and all qualify. Jobseekers can only be put in contact via the recruiter, and only those the recruiter draws come to the employer. The jobseeker doesn’t know who the employer is though they can speculate based on the ad. In order for the recruiter to make the introduction and draw the jobseeker, that jobseeker must show interest and believe the recruiting agency’s ad. The recruiter will immediately draw the jobseeker to the employer but the choice to apply resides with the jobseeker.
    – Autodidact
    Jan 2, 2020 at 15:13
  • In the above example the jobseeker has free will to apply or not but has no say on how, when or where the recruiter will make that drawing to the employer. The jobseeker also cannot apply directly to the employer circumventing the recruiter. The decision to connect the jobseeker and the employer resides with the recruiter, it’s symbiotic. It’s limited. It honors the free will of the applicant, doesn’t force anyone who hasn’t applied and the sovereignty of the recruiter to act on his promise is also honored.
    – Autodidact
    Jan 2, 2020 at 15:19
  • 1
    To draw is to encourage, entice, bring, call, not to force, enforce, or to compel. Jesus is simply teaching that if men come to God, it was God that called them, not them who called to God. Jan 2, 2020 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:44‬ ‭

What did Jesus mean by this statement? Most basically what he meant was just what He said. Unless a person undergoes a new birth they cannot either see or enter the Kingdom of God (John 3) and that new birth is not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God (1 John 1:13). Fallen humanity, apart from the drawing power of God, does not seek after Christ nor can they or will they come to Him. Strict Armenians are stonewalled here by this unwavering statement of God's sovereign and necessary involvement in the salvation of men but how to tone down the Calvinists denial of human choice so clearly invited by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-29 among others? "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

If I may I will summarize the remainder of your questions as, How does this drawing work while maintaining both God's sovereignty and human choice?

First I suggest that these are not mutually exclusive. God sovereignly created human choice in the Garden of Eden and protects this faculty within us even when it most often leads to our demise. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live - Dt 30:19 In the next verse choosing life is equated with loving God and obeying Him. It is His desire for a relationship based upon love that has necessitated our possession of a faculty of choice.

Sin has ruined our prospects for making such a choice. It is not that the choice to seek after and love the Lord has been removed by God, else the invitations peppered throughout Scripture to "return unto Me" (Zech 1:3, Mal 3:17, Jer 15:19, John 7:37, etc.) would be a cruel joke. Rather our natural disposition "in Adam" is to reject God's authority to determine good and evil and to take that mantle upon ourselves and thereby "be like God". There in the garden, while Adam and Eve hid, God sought them out and began questioning them. He drew them out of hiding...although they possessed the ability to do so they did not come until he called. "So the Lord God called out to the man, "Where are you?"". Genesis 3:9 The earth then was cursed "for our sake", for our benefit that is, because having rejected God in Paradise we would certainly not seek after Him absent difficulty. God draws us through the difficulty of life in a cursed creation.

Such is the condition of every person, enslaved by sin (Romans 6:16) and fear of death (Hebrews 2:15) they are unable to please God (Romans 8:8) or to desire to do so "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. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:7-8 We could come to Christ apart from the Father's drawing us but we don't want to because we understand that it requires submission. Here it approaches the level of cannot but the prohibition is not from God as the Calvinists suppose. The inability of the natural man is one of volition: He will not.

Here lies the explanation of the unbelieving Jews of Acts 13 and all others who hear and refuse to believe: "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." - John 5:39-40 Natural man wants to obtain life through some measure of intellect or effort and refuses to humbly come and receive.

Jesus said that if/when He was lifted up He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32) and it is then explicitly stated that he said this in reference to the method of his death. It is fair to say, then, that the means by which God the Father draws people to come to Jesus is by sending His Son to be lifted up on the cross. Remembering that Jesus told Nicodemus he must be lifted up just as (in the same way that) Moses lifted up the bronze serpent we see both sovereign drawing, divine provision, and human choice in operation. In Numbers 21 we are told that those who looked upon the bronze snake lived: apparently some did not look.

But how is the Son of God on the cross "just as" a bronze snake on a pole. The venemous snakes were sent as judgement and bitten people were dying. Bronze speaks of judgement (both divine and self) and the bronze image of what was killing them was lifted up so that when they looked at it (with faith) recognizing their culpability and God's justice they could receive His mercy. Jesus is the Word of God made into flesh (John 1:14) and the Word of God on the cross is an image of what is killing us. Adam put God's Word to death in himself as the prime guiding principle for life and it is that death that we carry about in our bodies. The Word of God was lifted up on the cross so that we may recognize our participation in that which is killing us, that we may repent of it, and that we may come to Him in order to have life.

In short, God draws us to Christ by sacrificing Him. Jesus draws us to Himself by that act of obedience. The Spirit has come to persuade: "And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. - John 16:8-11

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of those who will believe. The proclamation of the gospel exposes the hearer to the drawing power of God in the crucified Son and those who choose to believe are exposed to the saving power of God in His resurrected life.

  • The Father declares war, a perennial enmity between Satan and the Woman and between their offspring. Before God can draw us to Christ we must be born again, the question is to whom shall we be born again? The Father had given only two choices, Woman or Serpent. Jesus was born into the Woman. So, the drawing of man by the Father is first to entrust us to the Woman and be born of the Woman a symbol of water or sea (Gen1:2), and not directly to Jesus. Because only a sinless person who has a theandric nature can lift-up Jesus to Eternal Father, corrupted men cannot lift-up Jesus to God's Throne. Jan 5, 2020 at 21:05
  • The seed of the woman is Christ (as in Galatians 3:16). He took our nature so we could take His nature (Hebrews 2:14 and 3:14). Flesh begets flesh and Spirit begets Spirit so to be born again prior to being drawn to Christ would require Spirit being begotten by Spirit prior to exposure to that Spirit (Romans 8:9-11). The new birth is no mere preparatory act. We do not lift Jesus up to God. Jesus has been lifted up to God's throne in His resurrection from the dead and He lifts up those who are in Him (Ephesians 4:8). This is the living hope to which we have been born again (1 Peter 1:3-5) Jan 6, 2020 at 13:34
  • We need to lift Jesus up, it is God Holy Decree for Jesus to draw us to Himself."And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John12:32). It's Jesus who taught St.Faustina this prayer "Eternal Father, I offer thee body,blood, soul & divinity of your dearly beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world". We need to be spiritually born of a Spiritual Mother, water & Spirit means Mary & the Holy Spirit just like in Luke1:35. Jan 6, 2020 at 22:28
  • We have no command in John 12:32 to lift Jesus up but "He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die." - John 12:33. In essence, He was saying that when I am crucified I will draw all men to Myself. Jan 8, 2020 at 0:52
  • yes we have a biblical command, all of us share in the priesthood of Christ. A priest primary role is to offer a sacrifice, will you not lift up Jesus sacrifice to the Eternal Father having given a role of a royal priesthood? (1Peter2:9) Jan 8, 2020 at 1:11

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