Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:35-40, NASB).
This passage and others like it are frequently ignored in Bible studies, because such passages bring up many questions that we often find easier to ignore than to address. The truths found here tend to be ignored, marginalized, or explained away today. It is important to recognize the balance found in the Scriptures. On the one hand, we know that the Bible teaches us about human responsibility. On the other hand, we see the sovereignty of God. Today things are out of balance. There is far too much emphasis on the human side and far too little emphasis on the Divine side.
Jesus claimed to be “the bread of life.” This tells us that He is the very source of and sustainer of life. Without physical food, we die physically. Without Him, there can be no life. Salvation is totally of the Lord, and it is by His grace.
Those who come to Christ and believe in Him will “never hunger” and “never thirst.” The use of the word “never” teaches us that salvation is eternal. We can NEVER lose our salvation. Many really resist this truth, because it takes away all pretense of human ego. Not only can we not save ourselves, but we cannot keep ourselves saved. Salvation is all of grace and not even partially of works, “...so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:9, NASB).
Some of those who saw Christ and witnessed His miracles did not believe in Him. How often do we hear it said that if we could just see miracles, it would be so much easier to believe? Yet, many saw those miracles, but only some believed. The same is true today. Many know about Jesus Christ and what He did, yet they do not believe, because it is the nature of sinful man to reject the truth.
All those given to the Son by the Father will come to the Son. This certainly tells us that there are those who are not given to the Son, because if all are given to the Son, then all will come to the Son. That is not going to happen. The Scriptures make it clear that many will reject salvation and be eternally condemned. Those who have not believed are condemned already. Those who are given to the Son will come to Him and be saved. When the Gospel is preached, it is preached for this purpose. What an encouragement it is to servants of the Lord to know that it is never a waste of effort to proclaim the Gospel, because His Word will accomplish its purpose and there will be results! “…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, ESV).
No one who comes to Christ will ever be “cast out.” Here again, we have biblical support for the doctrine of “perseverance of the saints,” which means that true believers will endure, because they have been “born again” or “born from above.” There is a reason the Lord used “birth” as an illustration of salvation. People understand that no one can ever be “unborn.” Once we come into this world, our parents will always be our parents, no matter what may happen. Birth cannot be reversed and made as if it had never happened. In the same way, once someone is born again, they cannot become “unborn.” Since birth is a permanent arrangement, those who have been born again cannot be other than a child of our Heavenly Father for all eternity.
The one who came from heaven, God the Son, came to do His Father’s will, and that perfect will is that all those the Father gives the Son will come to the Son, that the Son will lose none of them, and that the Son will raise ALL of them up at the last day. Here again we find the doctrine of “perseverance of the saints.” This doctrine is a great comfort to believers.
The same truth is once again repeated. When God says something once, it is very important. When He repeats it a second time or even a third or fourth time, it is EXTREMELY important, and He wants us to hear it. Sometimes we are slow learners, and we need to hear something several times. This passage concludes with another reference to our resurrection and a mention of the fact that we have “eternal life.” Somehow, the definition of eternal life gets twisted around to mean just about everything but what it actually means. It is not a difficult concept. Eternal life is life, the source of which is Christ, which is eternal (never ending, not even when we sin). What could be clearer? Eternal life is a present possession, and if it could ever end, then it would not be “eternal” and God would be less than truthful, which means He would not really be God. He cannot go back on His promises. That is why I frequently say, “My salvation is as secure as the integrity of God.” That is as secure as anything gets.
God gets to be God, whether we like it or not. Does this fact eliminate human responsibility? Absolutely not. Do I completely understand that? Not really. I can only humbly believe what God has said. He does not contradict Himself. Scripture complements itself; it does not contradict itself. Whether we understand it or not and whether we like it or not, when someone comes to Christ for salvation, God gets all the glory, and when someone is condemned, he gets all the credit for his own condemnation. It is interesting that even many who believe salvation is a matter of the will of man will pray to God for the salvation of their friends and loved ones. I am not really sure why they do that, unless they somehow suspect that God is really more in control of things than they are willing to admit. The fact that we go to God in prayer indicates tacit agreement with the fact that God really does get to be God, and He is in charge.
God is sovereign. Man is responsible. An unbeliever cannot blame God for his lost condition. A redeemed man cannot take credit for his salvation. That is what the Bible teaches. God does not ask us, in our limited ability, to understand every detail. He only asks us, in simple childlike faith, to believe what He has said.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18, NKJV).
"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36, NKJV).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28, KJV).