Jesus said we must be first drawn to the gospel of salvation by the will of the Father (John 6:44). We don’t come on our own; we are invited. I once heard a renowned Reformed preacher explain the word “drawn” in that passage as being dragged along against our power and will, even kicking and screaming, if necessary.
Okay, I get it that God must make the first move, and that we are found in a place where we want nothing to do with him. True. However, I don’t think people come into the Life of Christ kicking and screaming. That just doesn’t have the ring of new life to me.
For sure, when the gospel first intrudes upon our well-defended lair of sin and autocracy, we flail and curse and spit and strike out. Yes to all of that!
But then, grace does something to us.
It holds us like a mother holds on for dear life to an unruly, flailing child, and the spirit of compassion causes that rebel heart to melt into submission, then surrender, and, finally, finding rest (Matthew 11:28). Yeah, I’m pretty confident we’re not dragged into the kingdom. We come happily; skipping and leaping, like calves released from their confinement.
“The favored souls [who respond to the gospel of Christ] are not compelled by an unwelcome force to embrace salvation, but are sweetly and lovingly inclined through the soft influences of heavenly grace to choose, delight in, and appreciate the work and service of Emmanuel. They are made willing. Their whole heart goes forth towards the Savior…
“They love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. They embrace him as their only Savior and
his precepts as their only rule,
his promises as their only support,
his cross as their only glory,
his righteousness as their only boast,
his heaven as their only home.
If, then, I belong to this happy number, I must be willing to be saved on God’s terms, to delight in his salvation, to choose his ways.”
– Thomas Reade*, (1776-1841)
* A Reformed guy