A Sermon by Samuel Miller
John 6:37b. Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
2. The assurance given. It is brief but comprehensive: “I will in no wise cast out”.1. The assurance itself. The first clause of the verse: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to me”, may move to sore misgivings the enquiring soul that has not learned as yet to prize the sovereignty of grace as a theme of grateful rejoicing. As it gropes its anxious way, the stricken heart may be ready to fail for fear when it comes to the passage, and to make this desponding comment on it: I shall come if I am given to Christ, but how can I resolve that if? Has the Father given me to Christ? When I search the Bible, it does not tell me; and every thing in myself has a voice declaring that I am none of His. But see how every word of the text falls dropping, like heaven’s balmiest dew, on a bruised reed like this. O do not tarry, distracted soul, to reason out the matter from this perplexity. Think not to pierce, with curious eye, into the secret counsels of God. You cannot, and it is well that you cannot. Rather put the matter thus: Does any word of the Lord assure you that you are not given by the Father to the Son? Not one. So meantime let that suffice to reinspire your hopes. And now read on, for these are the blessed words that follow directly upon the clause which has given you this disquiet: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. Does your heart not leap for joy at the sound? Will you not believe it? Can you still doubt the Saviour’s word, and so call God a liar?
Observe also, I beseech you, how the short description of the persons, in the first part of the text, sheds a flood of light on the wideness of the range of the promise in the second. “Him that cometh”, is the unrestricted expression. Whosoever and whatever he be, though he may have been the most hardened rebel for ever so long, though he may be the readiest slave of Satan still, though he may have spent his life in studied contempt of God, though most blasphemously of all the sons of men he may have joined himself with devils in fiercely cursing Jesus and though now his palsied head nods over the very brink of the raging lake of fire, still let him come, and he shall find a blessed welcome. The text makes no exception, for the heart of him that utters it makes none. Christ’s blood is all sufficient to cleanse the chiefest sinner, the veriest Manasseh in guilt, and the sounding of the bowels of His yearning love proclaims that He is longing to receive him.
Yea, even the grammatical construction of the text affords sweet encouragement to anxious souls. Sometimes sinners are addressed in the aggregate; as, for instance, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden”. At other times, in order that each soul may know itself to be individually dealt with, the invitation is addressed to that soul in particular: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come”. “Let him that is athirst come.” And then the promise is also given to that individual soul in order that it may lay hold on it as peculiarly given to itself: “Him . . . I will in no wise cast out”. Can you appreciate the force of what I say, or rather can you appreciate the savour of the Redeemer’s manner of speech here employed? Hungry souls can do so, for I find one of them thus discoursing of the text: “Him that cometh; it is in the singular number, speaking favour not only to the body of believers in general, but to every particular soul that applies itself to Christ”. This is no wire-drawn refinement upon words. The words do mean all this, for they are spoken by the Shepherd that leaves the ninety and nine to go after the one sheep which is lost, saying, “I will take you one of a city” as well as “two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion,” for, “likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth”.
“I will in no wise . . . “. There is much to assure the soul even in the simple “I will“. The speaker has received into His own hands all authority in the matter, and none can interfere with Him. He says to the Father, “Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him,” and we have seen that these are they that come to Him; so that we find Him declaring, “I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am”. Know then that it is with Christ alone that you have to do in this matter; and it is blessed to know this, for you need not be afraid to trust His assurance. Consider what manner of man He is. It is He who wept over Jerusalem, saying, “How often would I have gathered thee, and ye would not“. It is He who died saying, “Father, forgive them”. It is that same Jesus who still lives, and even now once more announces to every one of you: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. Surely He is trustworthy. He must be earnest in what He says, for He died to prove it, and He lives to fulfil it.
“In no wise.” How strong the assertion! No plea that can be adduced, no consideration that can be urged, can by any possibility influence Christ to refuse the returning sinner. If the sinner is rejected, it is on this one ground, that he would not come: “Because I have called, and ye refused . . . I will laugh at your calamity”. But the one single circumstance of the sinner’s coming to Him is all that Christ requires in order to take him and hide him in the hollow of His hand. The strongest motives that can be conceived, as fitted to induce the Saviour to put such an one away, He sets aside with this one answer: “He hath come to Me, I will in no wise cast him out”. It is the love of Christ that shines full in this reply, and it is that love which is thy sure refuge, O sinner.
Is this, therefore, the great argument that you think must weigh against you with Christ, that you are so utterly vile a sinner? Be it so; but remember that where sin aboundeth, grace doth much more abound. If you will not trust, at least hearken to this voice, “Come now, and let us reason together . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”. Come thus, as He invites you, to hear, and you will learn the strong assurance that you have to come to Him altogether. For surely your very vileness as a sinner should, instead of making you hesitate about the matter, constrain you instantly to fly to such a Saviour. In no wise keep back, and He will in no wise cast out. Mistrust not His love, for it is stronger than death; mistrust not His power, for it is omnipotent; mistrust not His truth, for it is pledged and unchangeable. Yea, heaven and earth may pass away, but all that word of His, of which the text is so blessed a portion, never can.
The expression which has been translated in no wise has, in the original tongue a peculiar significance. It is a double negative. It has been well rendered by a favourite commentator, “I will not; no, I will not cast out”. What could the Saviour have said more? It is an assurance made doubly sure. Truly they “have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them”. Is it not yet strong enough for you?
2. The grounds of the assurance in the text. Though it had rested on nothing more than the single text we speak from, that would have been ground sufficient. But how many suchlike sure words there are! Their name is Legion. But the promise rests not on passages of Scripture alone.
The purposes of the Father make it sure. I quote again in proof: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me”. And wherefore has the Father given them to the Son? Not surely that He may reject them, but that He may justify and sanctify and save them. This is the divine purpose, and it must be made good. It is Christ’s office as Mediator to bring it to fulfilment for every soul that comes to Him (see verses 38 and 39), and therefore He has said unto the Father, and at the latter day He will say it yet again when the fulness of the elect shall come in: “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost”. That must be well ordered in all things and sure which has its foundation on Jehovah’s eternal decree.
The death of Christ makes it sure. For if He were to refuse so much as one solitary soul that comes to Him, He would so be confessing that He had died in vain, or that the merits of His death were not sufficient to extend to that soul. He paid the price of His precious blood for the redemption of all who come; He cannot cast wantonly away even one lamb of the little flock – the purchase of which cost Him so dear. He could not have gone the length of dying under the curse for souls, and then consent that His anguish on the tree should miss its fruit. O no; whatever man may do, Christ holds not His death and agony in so low esteem. And yet that death is the measure of the value of a soul in His eyes; how then can He even entertain the thought of casting such a pearl away? Were He to do so, it would be to repent Him of having died to announce that now He finds Himself deceived, when He thought a soul so precious as to give His life a ransom for it.
The resurrection of Christ makes it sure. It is the resurrection reward of the Mediator’s pain to receive souls at the Father’s hand, and to give salvation to all that come to Him. Having wrought the work, will He refuse the reward? Souls are the jewels in His mediatorial crown. Can He take that glorious diadem, pluck out from it the “sapphires” that the Father hath given Him and cast them away? He lives in heaven as an interceding High Priest, an advocate for those who come to Him and give Him their cause to plead. Can He refuse one such, as if He were weary of His blessed calling? O no; He saves “them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them”.
The work of the Spirit makes it sure. It is the Spirit that persuades and enables the soul to come to Christ, and He that sends the Spirit on this work is Christ Himself. Can He commission His Spirit to bring a soul to Him to be rejected? Can He, if I may use such language, send the Holy Ghost on an idle errand? It is impossible. Can the persons of the one Godhead so counteract each other’s portion of the work of grace, as that the Spirit shall begin the work by bringing a soul to Christ, and then the Son make all of none avail by refusing to receive it? Perish for ever the thought! For “whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified”. Yes, the Spirit sets His mark on every soul He brings to Jesus, and sprinkles it with the Saviour’s blood; and no destroying angel can ever make that soul a prey.
All God’s attributes make it sure. “God is love”; He loves souls, even when lying in sin, else He had never sent His Son to save them. And when the soul comes – in the very attitude in which He longs to see it – can He then reject it? Loving it even before it comes, can He put it away in hatred when it does come? Nay; for even His very justice ensures its acceptance. While the soul is far from Christ, divine justice cries, “It shall die”; but when that soul does really come to Christ, the same unchanged justice cries, “It shall live”. Why? Have we not seen this coming to be faith? Is not “the righteousness of God unto all, and upon all them that believe?” Can God’s justice reject God’s righteousness? Surely then the soul, which has been made the very righteousness of God in coming unto Jesus, has even the awful justice of Jehovah ranked upon its side. Astounding triumph of the grace of God!
Men and brethren, what say you? What think ye of Christ, whose word it is? “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift”, for the joyful sound, and for this text as one of the silver trumpets that proclaim the gospel jubilee. Can you hear it, and your soul remain unmoved? During life it is divinest melody to the anxious heart, for it tells that space is given to come to Christ while the day of grace continues, and that there is certainty of acceptance in coming. At death, how cheering are its notes! It tells the believer that his foundation in Christ is sure; and though, like the godly James Durham of old, it may be “the only promise to which he can grip”, he has in it an “anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast”. Yea, let the dying blasphemer but hear and accept this faithful saying; even then he shall find, like the thief on the cross, that he shall not be cast out. And after death will the text be forgotten? Forgotten now by many, it will be forgotten then by none. Alas, one shrieking company shall eternally bewail with gnashing teeth: “We are cast out, but it is because we would not come”. But there are endless halleluiahs from a glorified throng:
“True are Thy ways, Thou King of saints!”
Thy call we heard, Thy word we find it true:
Draw nigh to Me, I will draw nigh to you.
Why art thou fearful? Wherefore didst thou doubt?
For him that cometh I will not cast out.”
Wherefore, in addition to all the verifications of the text which have been noticed, seek to verify it in your own experience. Point out a case, one single case, of any who ever came to Christ and was rejected by Him. There is none; there can be none. Have you put the matter to this trial? If you are yet unsaved, is it because Christ refused to save you when you went to Him for salvation? You dare not so accuse the Lord of glory. If not accepted, you have not come. Therefore, by the mercies of God we beseech you to come now. You may never have another opportunity. O delay not! “Behold I come quickly”, is an awful word. Are you ready to answer, “Amen; even so, come Lord Jesus?” Not unless you have first come to Him. O then, what need for instant coming! “Today, if ye will hear His voice.”
Let me transpose the text, and read it thus: “Him that cometh not to Me I will cast out”. This also is true and certain as the oath of God. Beware, for “Cast Him into outer darkness”, is the true meaning of the latter clause when so transposed. If that sentence be once passed, it is an irrevocable decree. While it has not as yet been pronounced, hearken, I implore you, to the call, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come”. As though God did beseech you by us, we once more repeat it: “Whosoever will, let him come,” and take with you, as from Christ’s own lips, the promise, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”.
1. Continued from last month. The first head of the discourse was the Person pointed out in the text: “him that cometh to Me”. At the time of preaching this sermon, Miller (1810-1881) was Free Church minister of Monifieth in Angus.