A “meme” that has been going around the Internet for a few years can be summed up as “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.” The idea being, presumably, that if we call a particular behavior a sin we are being hypocritical because we ourselves are sinners. After all, Jesus warned against hypocritical judgment when he told us to take the plank out of our eye before we try to take the splinter out of our brother’s eye. Read more
He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. – John 3:36
Here we see belief and obedience together being required. He who believes has eternal life. He who does not obey will not see life. Together these statements support the notion that true faith is equivalent to “trusting obedience”. In other words belief requires obedience or it isn’t truly belief.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:11-13
It isn’t because of anything we do that we are saved. We don’t “decide” to be saved. The Father wills our salvation. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we hear the word of God about Jesus and His work, and he grants us faith to believe. The faith given by God in Jesus the Son of God and his death and resurrection saves us.
Nobody chooses to be born. We are conceived, we grow, and in the fullness of time we are born. It wasn’t up to us to be conceived. We could not help but grow. Our birth was forced upon us.
Nobody chooses to be born again. Nothing we do brings it about. Our salvation is entirely the work of God.
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:37-40
Clearly the Father has chosen some to be given eternal life and has given them to the Son. If the Father has given them to the Son, they will come to Him.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:44
This last statement pretty much declares that unless God draws us we cannot come to Him. This coupled with the earlier statements indicate that the Father chooses who will and will not be saved. We cannot come to Jesus unless the Father draws us, and all whom the Father draws will be saved.
This says nothing about the criteria the Father chooses for whom he will draw to Jesus, but it does appear to indicate that it’s God that chooses, and not us.