May 2, 2010

John 5:40 - John Gill

John 5:40.
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

These words are usually cited together with the former, and are urged for the same purposes; particularly to show that Christ seriously intended the salvation of such who would not come to him for it; and that man does not lie under any disability of coming to Christ for life; did he, his not coming to Christ would not be criminal in him; nor would he be blame-worthy for what he could not help.[1] To which I answer,

1. That what Christ intends, he intends seriously; but it does not appear from these words, that he did intend the salvation of these persons who would not come to him, but rather the contrary; since they look more like a charge exhibited against them, for their neglect of him, as the way of life and salvation, and trusting to the law of Moses, and their obedience to it, and therefore did not receive him, or believe in him; and though Christ declined bringing in an accusation directly and in form against them, yet he acquaints them that there was one that accused them, even Moses, in whom they trusted; and therefore their future condemnation would be justifiable upon their own principles, and by the very writings they had such an opinion of; since these testified of him, and of eternal life by him, which they rejected.

2. These words are so far from being expressive of the power and liberty of the will of man to come to Christ, that they rather declare the perverseness and stubbornness of it; that man has no desire, inclination, or will, to go Christ for life; but had rather go any where else, or trust to any thing else, than to him. Man is stout-hearted, and far from the righteousness of Christ, and submission to it; is not subject to the law of God, nor the Gospel of Christ; nor can he be, till God works in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure; or until he is made willing in the day of his power. No one can come to Christ, except the Father draw him; nor has he a will to it, unless it be wrought in him.

3. Though man lies under such a disability, and has neither power nor will of himself to come to Christ for life; yet his not coming to Christ, when revealed in the external ministry of the Gospel, as God’s way of salvation, is criminal and blame-worthy; since the disability and perverseness of his will are not owing to any decree of God, but to the corruption and vitiosity of his nature, through sin; and therefore, since this vitiosity of nature is blame-worthy; for God made man upright, though they have sought out many inventions, which have corrupted their nature; that which follows upon it, and is the effect of it, must be so too.

[1] Whitby, p. 52, 73, 358; ed. 2. 51, 72, 349.

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