The Will of the Father John 6:38-40

The Will of the Father John 6:38-40

The Father's will John 6:37 on The Giving blog by Cheryl Schatz

What is the Will of the Father?

In our verse by verse discussion of John 6, we come to verse 38, a verse that highlights the will of the Father.

John 6:38 (NASB) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

The will that Jesus reveals about salvation is founded not on human will in time, but on the transcendent will of God. It is the will of the Father who sent the eternal Word from Heaven. What is the Father’s revealed will? Jesus reveals the Father’s will in two different ways, by what He says in verses 39 and 40.

 John 6:39  (NASB)“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

Who are the all that He (the Father) has given Me (the Son) in verse 39? The grammar will help us to understand. “Have given” is the perfect verb tense which means that the action done by the Father (the Giving) is a completed action that occurred in the past, but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (the time it was spoken). Who is Jesus talking about who were presently existing as ones who have been given to the Father? Let’s look at Jesus’ words in the context of John.

John 17:6-12 (NASB) 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The ones who were presently existing as those who had been given to Jesus were the disciples.

The Greek term for “given” in John 6:39 is an important word that means to entrust to the care of another. The BDAG Lexicon shows the clear meaning:

John 6:39 "gives" on The Giving blog by Cheryl Schatz

Jesus has been entrusted with those who have been given to Him and He “keeps watch over” them. (John 17:12)

But not all are protected

The ones who were given to Jesus in the past and are still being watched over and preserved by Jesus at the time that Jesus spoke the words, were the disciples. However, not all of the disciples were included in those who were “given” to Jesus.

John 13:16-21 (NASB)  16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19 “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” 21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”

Jesus said that not all of his disciples were included in the giving to Jesus from the Father. Judas was one that Jesus chose to be His disciple, but Judas was not one of those given to Jesus by the Father. Why was Judas not given to Jesus? It was because Judas was not one who belonged to the Father. Judas was not one of those who kept the Father’s word (John 17:6), and Judas was a practiced thief (John 12:6). Judas was not one who received Jesus’ words (John 17:8) nor was he being kept in the name that the Father gave Jesus (John 17:12).

  • Judas did not keep the Father’s word.
  • Judas did not belong to the Father.
  • Judas was not given to Jesus.
  • Judas was not kept by Jesus from the enemy.

The other 11 disciples:

  • Kept the Father’s word.
  • Belonged to the Father.
  • Were given to Jesus.
  • Were all guarded and kept by Jesus from the enemy.

It is also important to note that of all who have kept the Father’s word, who belonged to the Father, who were given to Jesus and who were all watched over and kept by Jesus from the enemy, will remain in faith and none of those would be lost. They were the eleven disciples, and Jesus kept them perfectly safe.

John 6:39 (NASB) “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

Jesus Himself confirms that the 11 disciples were the ones He kept and His keeping them from the enemy fulfilled Scripture. Just before Jesus’ death when He was still in the garden and the mob was coming after Jesus, He said:

John 18:7-9 (NASB)  7 Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He, let these go their way,” 9 to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”

The eleven were kept safe. One did not belong to the Father, and one did not obey the Father. Judas was never given to Jesus because Judas never belonged to the Father.

The Will of the Father for all Believers

Jesus’ words in John 6 now takes us beyond the disciples to all believers. Jesus repeats that this is the will of “My Father.”

John 6:40 (NASB) For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

“Everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him”. The verbs “beholds” and “believes” are substantival participles which use the participle like a noun. Thus it is the beholding ones and the believing ones. Both verbs are in the present tense so it is the beholding and believing ones who continue to behold and believe. What does Jesus say is the Father’s will for those who will believe and who continue to believe?

John 6:40 (NASB) For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Who will have eternal life? Those who continue to behold the Son and who continue to believe in Him!

Who will be raised up? Jesus said it is the ones who continue to behold and believe on him who will be raised up on the last day.

Jesus has been entrusted with the 11 disciples, and He has been entrusted with all who will continue to look to Him for life.

If you are a Calvinist who believes that God unconditionally gives people to Jesus, would you consider answering these questions?

1.  In the context of John 6:39, does the Father give unbelievers to Jesus to raise up on the last day?

2.  In the context of John 6:40, is the “him” who is raised up in this verse, one who continues to believe in Jesus or is the “him” an unbeliever?

3.  In the context of John 6:39, are the ones who are given to Jesus, believers in the Father or unbelievers in God?

9 thoughts on “The Will of the Father John 6:38-40

  1. Thanks, Cheryl! I have Dave Hunt’s What Love Is THIS? The big issue with Calvinists is the issue of CHOICE. They seem to confuse a person’s right to accept or deny the INVITATION GOD gave with the idea that the choice puts the chooser in charge. They also don’t seem to understand that GOD KNOWS the heart. He is also omniscient. He can know something without having to instigate it.

    The god of Calvinism is NOT the God of the Bible! He seems to be quite cavalier about condemning millions to hell. They aren’t the ‘elect’. I’ve asked Calvinists how they feel about some “non-elect’ best friend or family member being predestined to eternal judgement and got no answer. I have to wonder if they understand the LOVE part of John 3:16.

  2. Thanks for your comment Gillian. You are right in that Calvinists believe that if one could choose God by accepting God’s invitation, then that person is in charge. Calvinists also believe that God cannot know the future unless He predestines everything in the future. Without predestination, Calvinists would be open theists, believing that God does not know the future. A good question for Calvinists would be, does God have the power to know the future completely without first having predestined the future completely? They cannot answer that God has this power thus He has to make the choice for everyone by electing them or creating them with the knowledge that He will bypass them and leave them in their sin. It is so sad that Calvinists see God without the power to see what He does not predestine and without saving love for so many.

  3. Yaay! Thank goodness. I’m working with Bible knowledge as well as simple logic. Good question! Hmmm… would it be fair to say that the god of Calvinism is NOT the God of the Bible because;

    1) The god of Calvinism is NOT omniscient (The God of the Bible knows the end from the beginning. )

    2) The god of Calvinism is NOT Just or Righteous. (The God of the Bible IS. He is also without partiality.) See, he had to institute sin in order to know that Adam and Eve would fall. It’s weird. On one hand, He said, “Do NOT eat of the tree that is in the middle of the garden….” On the other hand, he Made them do what he told them NOT to do, in order that he would know What they would do. (OUCH! I just gave my brain whiplash!) I liken this to a judge, who sits in judgement of a man he set up. Fair? I think NOT.

    The god of calvinism provokes man to sin and then condemns humanity for the fall that he instigated??? This CAN’T be the God of the Bible, who desires that ALL men (humanity) be saved. (1 Tim 2:4)

    God issues the invite and we choose whether or not to accept the invite. You can invite me to a party at your home for thus and so day and I have the choice to RSVP yes or no. I don’t just show up at your house and insist on being fed and entertained. But that’s what Calvinists believe happens when we accept the offer. Odd.

    Interestingly, I know a couple of ex-JWs who ended up as Calvinists. From the frying pan into the fire.

  4. Gillian,
    Calvinists do believe that God is omniscient. They just disagree HOW He is omniscient. They define omniscience by God’s Sovereignty, so that the knowledge of the future comes from God’s Sovereign choice. Thus God sovereignly chooses every event and every act and by sovereignly choosing, He has omniscience.

    In contrast, those who are not Calvinists may not fully understand how God is who He is, but they believe what He says. So I may not understand how God can be everywhere at the same time (omnipresence), but I can believe His word that He is. That allows me not to worry about how God can be God, but I can put my full trust in His ability to be what He claims to be. In the area of omniscient, I don’t have to know how God in His nature can know the future fully before it happens, but I can believe that He does know. I can also believe that He knows the future without decreeing the evil of the future. This is consistent with His holy nature and the fact that He has said in the OT that the evil of sacrificing one’s child to burn it in the fire to an idol did not enter His mind as an origin of this evil. So I believe that Calvinists can believe that God is omniscient while going off the rails on how He is omniscient.

    As far as whether Calvinists believe that God is just and righteous. This is an area that Calvinism has a difficult time. Calvinists can affirm their belief in God righteous standing and His Just judgments, but it is difficult for them to explain how determinism is just. It becomes a mystery.

    Those of us who do not accept Calvinism and who believe the Bible as it is written, want to accept God’s justice as it is written in the Scripture, rather than a mysterious and contradictory view of justice. It is true that if a human judge acted as the Calvinists believe God acts, we would consider him an unjust judge. That is also very hard for a Calvinist to explain.

    I also know some ex-JW’s who have become Calvinists after their conversion to Christ. I do want to be gentle with them helping them to see the holes in their doctrine so they don’t lose faith in God as they see the patient Savior from the pages of the Bible who is fully Sovereign, but who is not bound by His Sovereignty to act as man thinks a Sovereign God should act. I try hard to think how I would want to be approached if I was the one who was deceived. If I want a gentle, loving and caring individual to help me to see the truth for myself, then I must also endeavour to me that same loving and caring individual who gently guides a person into truth. I don’t want to be like many Calvinists who come across as prideful, nasty and close-minded. I have come across a few gentle Calvinists who have let me ask them questions about the contradictions in Calvinism, but most Calvinists whom I have come in contact with have been willing to attack the person when they can’t answer the questions. I pray for unity in the body of Christ so that we can all properly represent God both with our doctrine and our attitude. I believe that God is able to bring about this kind of unity, although it may seem difficult to believe in the natural.

    Gillian, thanks so much for your comments! I am glad that you are willing to think these things through and to push for understanding and truth.

  5. Hi Cheryl; Thank you for making this issue more understandable…as understandable as Calvinism can be. You’re the first person I’ve talked to, on this issue, who DIDN’T raise my blood pressure. 😀

  6. Hi Gillian,
    I will answer your second question first. I would say that within Calvinism there is false doctrine. This false doctrine can have serious consequences and this is the reason why I care so much about defending the truth. Paul helps us in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 to understand the difference between false doctrine and a precious soul who is worth fighting for to help that one to see truth. We can hate the false doctrine, but we should love those who hold to that false doctrine. Loving them will help me grow in patience. Who really are the ones in opposition? Who need to have repentance to escape the snare of the enemy? If I believe that Calvinists who are attacking the gospel that says Jesus died for all, are themselves misled and are snared by their false doctrine, then I must be gentle to them when I correct them so that they will not harden themselves from listening to what I have to say. My goal is to win them through a careful exposition of Scripture as I am gentle and kind to them. It is not my purpose to laugh at them as if I alone have the truth and they are beneath me as I have heard Calvinist apologists do to Christians who do not believe as they do, for I am out to win them not push them away. I have had a lot of experience in having my patience tested by JW’s and former JW’s whom I have reached out to with the gospel. If I lose my cool and my patience, I am not an example of Jesus and they go away made stronger in their belief. But if I learn where the back doors are to the false doctrine and I engage them in areas that they may have never considered before, and I do it with a soft voice and in a gentle manner, I have been able to reach them. It appears to me that this is the way of the Master. Paul was a great example of this and Paul teaches us not to be quarrelsome when we engage those who are steeped in false doctrine. Our goal should be to teach them insights from the Scripture and our gentleness gains us a hearing. If my approach causes their blood to boil, then I have more work to do to gain a hearing. Sometimes all I can do is to ask thought-provoking questions. That may just put a stone in their shoe that will get their attention and cause them to think about the questions when they have left. If that is all I can do, I have planted and I will trust God to send someone to water the seed. That is how I would want someone to treat me if I were the one who were in error.

    I really appreciate the way you responded. It was gentle and kind and you were very good at getting your point across. It was an excellent question to ask!

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