John 6:37 All that the Father Gives Me
Jesus gives an amazing promise in John 6:37~
John 6:37 (NASB) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…
Jesus promises all that the Father gives… Let’s start our search into this passage by looking at the terms “all” and “gives.”
What does “all” mean in this context? Does all mean some? In other words, is Jesus saying that some of what the Father gives Him will come to Him? Not at all. I think we can safely say from the context because the Father’s will is expressed in the passage, that all simply means all without exception within the group of those who are given.
Since “all” is that which is given, what is the meaning of the term gives? The grammar will help us to understand. The term “gives” in the Greek is in the present, active, indicative. The present means that the action is in process without an assessment of the action’s completion. Gives as the present tense means that God is presently giving and is continuing to give. Notice that the grammar is not eternity past, but rather the “now.”
The Greek term for “gives” means to entrust someone to another’s care. Here is a copy of the BDAG lexicon on this entry:
Those who are given to Jesus are entrusted to His care.
From Whom and to Whom?
John 6:37 (NASB) “All that theFather gives Me will come to Me…
Jesus said that it is the Father who is the Giver and Jesus is the Receiver. The Father will most certainly give, and the Son will most certainly receive.
Paying attention to the grammar, we can see that John 6:37 shows that the Father is presently entrusting and continues to entrust people to the care of Jesus.
John 6:37 (NASB) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…
The term “will come” is future, active, indicative. So while we know that the context is the Father giving in the present time and continuing to give, “the coming” that Jesus is talking about is presented as future, as an action that people will do themselves in a future time. Jesus now changes the tense to present.
John 6:37 (NASB) “… and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
Jesus now speaks about those who are presently coming. “Who comes” is present, active, indicative, substantival participle. The present tense means that it is happening when it was written, and it continues to happen with no assessment of the action’s completion. The substantival participle is a participle that is being used as a noun. Thus the one who comes, is the “coming one” who continues to come. It is the one who continues to come who will certainly not be cast out.
Does God give God haters to Jesus?
The question that John 6:37 brings up, is who are those who are given to Jesus? Are those given, people who hate God? Or are the ones given, people who already belong to the Father, who already fear God, and so they are ready to be given to Jesus? The Old Testament gives us the answer to this question.
Malachi 3:16–18 (NASB)
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
17 “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
Who are those who will be God’s possession? They are the one’s who feared the LORD. God said that there will be a distinguishing made between the wicked, those who do not fear God, and the righteous, those who fear the LORD. Only those who fear the LORD will belong to God. “They will be mine,” He said, and “I will spare them.”
Another direct reference is Psalm 25:12-14.
Psalm 25:12–14 (NASB)
12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13 His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
The secret of the LORD
The secret of the LORD is the act or state of intimacy and trust. God reserves this for those who fear Him. Here is the term “secret” in the BDAG lexicon.
The secret of the LORD (His state of intimacy and trust with them) is not for those who hate Him but is reserved for those who fear Him.
He will make them know
The Hebrew term to “know” can be a very strong word that expresses intimacy, and a deep understanding. It can also mean to choose something for a special favor. Below is from Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)
God Himself will make those who fear Him to “know” His covenant. What is God’s covenant that will be made intimately known to those who fear God?
I will give You for a covenant
An amazing prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Isaiah 49:8.
Isaiah 49:8 (NASB) Thus says the LORD, “In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
The LORD said that He will give You (the Messiah) as a covenant for the people. Thus those who fear God will be given the covenant.
John 6:37 as a fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament
God promised in the Old Testament, that those who fear Him will be given an intimate relationship with Him and will be given the covenant (Jesus). In the New Testament, in a fulfilment of the Old Testament, those who feared God were brought to Jesus.
Cornelius, a God-fearer, was given to Jesus.
Acts 10:1–2 (NASB)
1 Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,
2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.
And Lydia was given to Jesus when God opened her heart to respond to the message of the gospel.
Acts 16:14–15 (NASB)
14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
The grace of God was given to God-fearing Jews and proselytes.
Acts 13:42–43 (NASB)
42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.
43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.
The New Testament also tells us that God divides between those who fear Him and those who do not, by hearing the prayers of the God-fearers.
John 9:31 (NASB) “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
The message of salvation is effective in those who fear God.
Acts 13:26 (NASB) “Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent.
There is not a single reference to a person who hated God, who was given to Jesus.
The consistent message of the Scripture
The consistent message of the Scripture is that those who fear God will come to Jesus and they will continue to come to Jesus as the “coming ones.”
Questions for Calvinists to answer
1. Can you show a single Scripture that shows a God-hater is given to Jesus?
2. How can God’s giving of people to Jesus be unconditional when God has said he distinguishes between those who serve God and those who don’t? Does God contradict Himself?
In the next few posts, we will continue verse by verse through John 6.
*NOTE: Dr. James White has been reviewing this post, and he was looking for a summary of my position on why people don’t come to Jesus. I have posted the summary here.