JOHN 6:66-69 – After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
THEME OF THE DAY. A LIFE OF TOTAL ABANDONMENT. It is important to set the context of the dialogue between Jesus and Peter in today’s scripture. If possible, take time and read it. It begins in verse sixty. Jesus establishes the very uncomfortable truth that salvation is all of the Lord. Man has no part. It is all of sovereign grace from start to finish. No one “decides” for Jesus alone. No one becomes a Christian of their own volition. Our Lord said to the crowds, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless is granted by the Father” (John 6:65). This smacks hard and deep into the lives of the self-righteous, prideful, and those who think the final determination of salvation is in themselves. Jesus makes it clear. The Father elects and draws the elect to the Son. Earlier in John 6, Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). He would further emphasize the electing work of God in salvation with these words, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him” (John 6:44).
Yes, I understand the ageless, and in my humble opinion, futile debate between God’s sovereign election in salvation and man’s responsibility in salvation. The Bible teaches us both. We are told “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:3-4). What we cannot do is make the scripture say what we want it to say in regards to the doctrine of election. God’s choosing us in Christ is not His foreknowledge of those who would decide for Christ and they become the elect. No, predestination or God’s choosing is a deliberate choice BEFORE the world was created. It is His initial action of election not His reaction to our choosing. And it is this context that brings us to the scripture and theme of the day.
After Jesus states the work of salvation is all of God, the crowds said, “Nope. Not buying it” and they depart leaving only His twelve disciples. It was too exposing to them. They couldn’t accept their total helplessness in coming to Christ and following. Jesus then looks at the twelve saying, “Well? What about you guys? Are you going to follow the crowd?” The response of Peter not only reveals he knew the truth of sovereign election in salvation, but that the life of following Him who is salvation requires total abandonment. He says, “We can’t leave you. You are the way, the truth, and the life. We know who You are and it would be the height of folly, foolishness, and self-deception to follow the crowds.” And that my friends is exactly how a follower of Jesus Christ must live; total abandonment to His Lordship. When a person is drawn to Christ and becomes a believer, his or her life is totally transformed and totally transferred. Personal rights, personal desires, personal dreams, and all other things of “me, my, and mine” are surrendered to Christ and that for all of life. Jesus doesn’t become a part of our lives. He becomes the whole of our lives. The thought of being a follower of Christ and not live in total submission to His Lordship in all of life is a foreign concept in the Bible and church history.
Total abandonment to Christ not only defines the Christian life, but opens up the door for joy in the Christian life. We are most free and most full of joy when living in total abandonment to Him who set us free and is our joy.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see my life is truly not my own and to live out this truth.”
QUOTE: “The surrendered to Christ life is the true Christian life. There is no partial surrender.”