John 6:44 New International Version (NIV)
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
First it is important to understand that unless God draws a person they cannot come to Jesus. It is by invitation only. The Lord God is sovereign over all of creation. Nothing happens unless he allows it and being God the Creator of all things he is absolutely right in whatever he does, allows or prohibits, for everything belongs to God. Unless God intervenes we would all be hopelessly lost. Sin, caused in all mankind a spiritual death which separated us from God. Much like zombie stories, where the dead are animated by a virus, sin continues to control a person and alienates them from God, for God is holy.
Genesis 2 New International Version (NIV)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Notice the Lord said when you eat from it you will die. He didn’t say if for God new what would happen even before he began creating. Nothing catches God by surprise, for he knows all things from beginning to end.
From the beginning God knew that man would disobey him and what it would cost him to redeem mankind.
Because of that sin and the resulting spiritual death Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden so they could no longer eat from the tree of life. Since Adam and Eve were the first of all mankind, through their one act of disobedience sin and its consequences became inherit to all of their offspring.
Psalm 53:3 New International Version (NIV)
3 Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
I remember before I came to the Lord I didn’t understand why I needed to be saved or from what, even though I was living deeply in sin. Although I grew up being taken to church by my grandparents I lacked any conviction concerning my sin and in my spiritual blindness I actually thought I was okay. But once I read the Law of God, no one had to tell me why I needed to be saved. The Law exposed my sin for what it was which lead me to the realization of my need to be saved. The Law shows us why we need to be saved.
I’m not talking about all the multitude of sacrifices required under the Old Covenant or the many human regulations concerning certain foods, religious garb and artifacts or regulations about holy days, months, seasons and years. However a good dose of the Law of God declaring what is sinful is an essential part of the gospel. Because the Law was put in place to lead us to Christ or to see our need for Christ’s salvation.
Another essential part of the gospel is the judgment to come because a right and holy fear of the Lord is needed to lead us repentance. And without a broken and repentant heart we cannot truly come to Jesus.
The Lord Jesus declared to all that unless we repent (turn from sin) we would perish.
Proverbs 9:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Knowledge of God’s wrath and eternal judgment reveals what we need to be saved from.
At this point many turn to some type of religion to make themselves acceptable or to fill the void in them with something other than the one true God. Religion has many names but unless that name is the Lord Jesus Christ and unless our lives are lived his way, through him and by him religion it is just vain effort.
Acts 4:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
False religion as is false gods are worthless. They might make you feel good here and now but they have no eternal value. Nor can they rescue from the wrath of God or God’s judgment of mankind in the hereafter. This is what the Lord says concerning vain religion established out of men choosing their own way and rejecting Gods.
Isaiah 50:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.
Remember our opening passage. Unless the Father draws us no one can come to Jesus. Likewise if God is against you what hope do you have? If you doubt what I am saying is true just consider what the Scripture says in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 concerning the lawless one and those who refuse to love the truth.
However this is where the good news comes in because the Lord Jesus also said concerning his self-sacrifice on a cross for us.
John 12:32 New International Version (NIV)
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Since the Lord was lifted up, suspended between heaven and earth on a cross he has been drawing people from every tribe and nation under heaven to himself for reconciliation to God. Because Jesus Christ, without sin, came down from heaven to live among mankind and bore the punishment for our sins, an invitation to all mankind has gone out.
Romans 5:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Now you’ve got to know that the children of God are those who have been made alive in Christ because they are given new life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in that life is the righteousness of God.
Those who are still dead in their trespasses and sins are not children of God because as Jesus declared God is the God of the living.
Matthew 22:32 New International Version (NIV)
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
John 6:40 New International Version (NIV)
40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 6:57 New International Version (NIV)
57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
Therefore anyone who continues to live in sin (disobedience to God) are not the children of God for those who have life have come into obedience to God through faith in the one who rose from the dead and lives forever.
But again the good news is that the invitation to come to Jesus currently remains open because it is not the Lord God’s will that anyone perish.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 New International Version (NIV)
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Ezekiel 33:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’
2 Peter 3 New International Version (NIV)
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
In Christ’s death he bore the sins of many and in the power of his resurrection from death he gives life to all who turn to him to trust in him, to commit to him and rely on him not only to forgive all our sins but also to deliver us from sins control. In response to the invitation we must turn from sin and turn to Jesus Christ in surrender to his Lordship.
Those who do so are set free from sins control enabling them to walk in obedience to God and the result is abundant life here and now and eternal life beyond.
John 1:11-13 New International Version (NIV)
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
On the day the Holy Spirit came in power upon the new covenant church the Apostle Peter stood up and publically declared the good news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Upon addressing the guilt of the people in crucifying the Lord of Glory the people who heard the call of the Lord to them responded.
Acts 2:37-39 New International Version (NIV)
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
This was water baptism into the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Later the Apostle Paul speaking of this same water baptism explains that through baptism we are buried with Christ in his death. Therefore this is how when by faith we commit our self to Jesus Christ we receive him and gain access to his blood poured out for us 2,000 years ago.
Romans 6:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
This is how and why both Peter and Mark stated that baptism saves us, provided of course that we continue in the obedience to God produced by his grace working in us through faith. When we turn to Jesus in surrender to his Lordship he gives us a true freedom from both enslavement to sin and from the trappings of worthless, vain and false religion. The result is a free and abundant life here and now in relationship with Jesus Christ and at the first resurrection eternal life to come.
John 8:35-37 New International Version (NIV)
35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
At this time God’s call, his invitation to life continues to go out to all who have ears to hear.
Come to Jesus! Come to life!