By Submitted Article on April 4, 2020.
Third of four parts
Jacob M. Van Zyl
“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself” (John 12:32). John adds that by these words Jesus showed what kind of death he would suffer.
Jesus spoke about drawing all believers to himself shortly after the visit of the Greeks and his announcement that the devil’s power was broken. When Christ was lifted up on the cross, Satan was defeated, and people from all nations would be drawn to the Saviour.
All three Persons of the Trinity are involved in the drawing of people to salvation. Nobody can come to the Father unless the Father draws them (John 6:44), and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
Jesus said to Nicodemus that unless one is born again (in Greek: born from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God. He added that one is born again by the Spirit (John 3:3-5).
Historically, it works this way: the Father elects believers, draws them by his Spirit, and saves them on account of the redemption earned by Christ, his Son.
Does God drag people by their necks into his kingdom? No. He draws, he calls. The regeneration worked in the heart by the Spirit enables people (who were spiritually dead – Eph. 2:4-5) to become aware of God’s calling, and to respond positively.
That is why the Bible repeatedly calls people to come (Is. 1:18, 55 :1-6, Matt. 11:28, John 6:37, 7:37-39, Rev. 22:17). The Spirit works in their hearts, enabling them to come to God through Christ.
How do people come to Jesus and receive assurance that they are saved indeed? By trusting his word of honour.
Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). It is his infallible word of honour. When you come to him, you know for sure he accepted you, because He said so.
By accepting Jesus’ promise and acting on it, the Bible and the Spirit gives assurance of faith (Rom. 8:16, 10:8-9, 17).
People are not saved by doctrine but by Jesus. Doctrine helps them to understand the salvation they have received by grace.
How would you respond if a wealthy person gives you a brand-new car? I’m sure you will be thrilled, laugh, shout and make some movements to express your feelings. And you will tell everybody you know about it.
Joyful gratitude is also the best response when you have received the greatest gift a human can get – salvation, forgiveness, a new life, eternal life, and daily contact with Jesus through his word.
Because Jesus was lifted up, we can rejoice in salvation, lifting him up with our lifestyle and testimony.
Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.