“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 by no means 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 the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:36-40
These words of Jesus tell us the will of God the Father: “that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
God’s desire for you and for me is that we see Jesus through the teaching of Scripture and come to Him in faith, trusting that in Him we have a savior from sin and its consequences — believing that He has fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s holy commandments in our stead and that He has suffered the just punishment for our sins and the sins of all by His innocent sufferings and death on the cross.
And it is God’s gracious will that all who come to faith in Jesus as their Savior continue in that faith and are raised up on the last day to life everlasting! His desire is that no one rejects Jesus or turns away from Jesus in unbelief or sin, but that all repent of their sins and trust in Jesus until death and be raised up by Jesus unto eternal life.
Yet, many see and hear of Jesus but do not believe. Why? Because no one, by his own reason or strength, can believe. No one can come to faith by his own will or decision; it is by God’s gracious working through His Word — convincing them of their sin and guilt and comforting them with the promises of pardon, forgiveness, and eternal life through faith in Jesus and His cross (cf. John 1:10-13; 6:43-44).
This remains somewhat of a mystery for us. No one can come to faith in Jesus apart from the gracious working of God’s Holy Spirit through the Word of God, and God truly desires all to be saved through faith in His Son. Yet, some — indeed, many — hear of Jesus and what He has done for them and yet reject Him as Messiah and Savior.
All we can say is what Scripture teaches. If we believe in Jesus and continue in that faith, we give all glory to God for bringing us to repentance and faith in Jesus and preserving us in that faith through His Word and Sacraments. However, if we do not repent of our sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith for pardon and forgiveness, we can only blame ourselves for turning away from the salvation God has so graciously provided for us in His Son.
It is as the Scriptures say: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9); “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6); and “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).
O gracious and merciful God, forgive me for resisting the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart and neglecting to hear and heed Your Word calling me to repent of my sins and to look in faith to Jesus’ holy life and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for my salvation. Graciously awaken my heart to my own sinfulness and move me to repent and trust in the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus for pardon and forgiveness. Through Your Word, preserve me in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]