MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (February 22, 2021)

Today, I want to begin sharing an article written by Elder Buddy Abernathy regarding the question “Am I a Child of God?”. I will be posting this in multiple parts, so be sure and stay tuned until the end!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Am I a Child of God? (Part 1)

 By Elder Buddy Abernathy

Will I go to heaven or hell when I die? For anyone who believes in the reality of the two, the answer to this question reveals all that ultimately matters about their future. When contrasting an average earthly life span of seventy to eighty years with the eternity of heaven and hell, every other future event should seem insignificant. Many Christian and non-Christian religions teach that the answer to this question is easily determined, while others rely on factors which are more difficult to quantify. For example, some Christian religions teach that you must simply accept Christ and/or be baptized while others stress the importance of a godly life or perseverance in faith. Whatever the case, most religions teach that man controls his destiny as determined by his compliance with various requirements.

Primitive Baptists, however, approach the question from an entirely different viewpoint. They believe that, before the foundation of the world, God chose or elected a particular people and predestinated them, “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:5). They believe that Jesus came into the world and saved them (Mat. 1:21, 2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 10:14, 2 Tim. 1:8-11). They believe the Holy Ghost gives them spiritual life. (John 5:25, Eph. 2:1, 2 Tim. 1:8-11). They believe God did the choosing, Jesus did the saving, and the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life. So in effect, the question becomes, “Did God choose me?”

When a child of God is born of the Spirit, he begins to feel a sense of sin. He no longer enjoys the worldly pleasures that were once a regular part of his life. (1 Pet. 4:3-4). He needs to understand what has happened to him and what he can do to feel better. He needs to be taught that Jesus saved him from his sins. He then ought to profess his faith in Christ through baptism, “…the answer of a good conscience toward God…” (1 Pet. 3:21).

In the sixth chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus uses the expression, “come to me” when teaching about the new birth, i.e. the giving of spiritual life. He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…” (John 6:37). In other words, all of those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will be born of the Spirit. In Matthew’s account of the gospel, Jesus uses the expression, “come unto me”, as an invitation for his children to come and find rest, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 11:28). Combining the passages, we conclude that all of God’s elect people will come to Jesus in the sense of being born of the Spirit and, having received spiritual life, they are encouraged to come unto Jesus and find rest for their souls. Since we generally think of the expression, “come to me”, as an invitation, let’s attempt to establish why this is not Jesus’ intended meaning in the sixth chapter of John.

“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went…..When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” (John 6:14-21, 24-26)

The people wanted to make Jesus a king because they saw the miracle he performed when feeding the five thousand. Later on, as the disciples were crossing the sea to Capernaum, Jesus appeared to them, walking on the water. After receiving him on the ship, he continued with them to the other side. When the people crossed over and found Jesus, they asked him, When camest thou hither? (v. 25) Jesus then told them that they were looking for him because they had been well fed. The people were not following Jesus for spiritual reasons. They wanted to get free food.

Jesus then instructs them,

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, what sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:27-31)

After Jesus introduces the subject of spiritual food, they ask, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus then informed them that believing on him is the work of God. In response they ask Jesus to show them a sign so that they may see and believe. Notice that they are only interested in those things which intrigue their carnal mind and refuse to believe on Jesus unless he provides more visible evidence of his supernatural power. Then they recall how God miraculously provided for their fathers by furnishing them “bread from heaven” (natural food). They expressed no interest in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life”.

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” (John 6:32-36).

Jesus is not talking about the same bread they are talking about. Jesus is speaking of spiritual food and identifies himself as the “true bread”. Although they respond by saying, “evermore give us this bread”, it is evident that they are still thinking only in terms of the “meat which perisheth” because Jesus says again, “I am the bread of life”. He satisfies the appetite of those who “…hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Mat. 5:6). Spiritual nourishment is provided to those who come to him and to those who believe on him. (Isaiah 55:1). However, it is clear that they do not comprehend what Jesus is talking about because he says, “ye also have seen me, and believe not.”

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)

The people conversing with Jesus do not understand that he is “the bread of life”; therefore, he begins to speak of a particular group of people. Jesus emphasizes that all of his people (all that the father giveth me, i.e. the elect) will come to him and will never be lost (“cast out”). A correct understanding of the expression, “come to me”, is crucial to the interpretation of this portion of the dialog.