John 6:37, 44, 65
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day…And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted by My Father.
We dealt briefly with the context of this passage above when discussing John 10:27-29. Jesus is speaking to Jews whose hearts are not right with God. They are not faithful Jews and do not know the Father. Because they are not in right covenant relationship with the Father, they cannot recognize the perfect expression of the Father in the Son. Since they are not willing to do the Father’s will they cannot properly discern the truth of Christ’s words (John 7:17). Those who know the Father will recognize the truth of Christ’s words and be “drawn” to Him (6:44, 45, cf. John 3:21). They will be given to the Son and come to faith in Him as a result (6:37). To them alone has the Father granted access to the Son (6:65).
The passage has to do with the Father giving the faithful Jews to their long awaited Messiah. It has nothing to do with a pre-temporal unconditional election of certain sinners to come to faith in Christ. This is a conclusion that many have read into this passage according to a prior commitment to a theological system without any contextual warrant.
Jesus assures anyone who would come to Christ in faith that they will not be rejected. They will be accepted in the Beloved One of God (6:37). The Father will not fail to give all the faithful Jews to Christ and Christ will not fail to receive them to Himself. Christ will “raise them up at the last day.” These Jews can be sure that their destiny is secure in Christ. However, the promise is only for those who are presently and continually “eating”, “drinking”, “believing”, “coming”, “listening”, “following”, and “beholding.” Only those who persevere in saving faith will be raised up at the last day (6:40). There is no promise here for those who stop believing and no guarantee that those who begin to believe will inevitably endure in that faith. The “all that” in verse 39 is the sum total of believers. It is the corporate body of Christ and that body will certainly be “raised up at the last day” because that body is comprised of those who are presently and continually “believing” in the Son (vs. 40).