How are people drawn to salvation? What does it mean for God to draw us to Himself?
Jesus said in John 6:44 that "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." What does it mean that God must draw someone to salvation?
First, Romans 3:10 is clear, "None is righteous, no, not one." Every person has a sin nature and would not desire to come to faith in Jesus unless God first placed the desire in the person's heart.
Second, in one sense God has called all people to salvation. For example, Romans 1:20 teaches, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." God has revealed Himself through His creation, providing ample evidence of His existence and the expectation of people to worship Him. Psalm 19:1-3 also echoes this idea when it states, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard."
Third, there is a sense in which God calls those who turn to Him for salvation. In addition to the general revelation of God to all people, the Bible teaches that He convicts people of sin (John 16:8). God also provides the Gospel message that gives us a desire to believe in Jesus as Lord. For example, when Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, we read, "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'" (Acts 2:37). These people were drawn to salvation through the hearing of the Gospel message and the Spirit of God. As a result, many believed and were saved on that day (Acts 2:41).
Many struggle with the relationship between God's "drawing" of a person to salvation and the human choice required to believe in Jesus as Lord. The Bible presents both aspects as essential to salvation. However, it is clear that it is God who initiates the process, provides the way of salvation through Jesus, and provides the faith necessary for a person to believe in His name. Every part of the process is due to God's grace, though a human response is involved in placing one's faith in Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 serves as a wonderful summary of this dynamic, stating, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Salvation is God's gift provided by His grace. We receive it by faith, experiencing the salvation only God can provide.
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