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“We must come to Jesus”

“We must come to Jesus”

This is an extract from chapter 2 of the book Whosoever Will, by Herman Hoeksema, pages 13-17, published by the RFPA.

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The Lord Jesus teaches us, that He is the way to the Father's house, and that no one cometh unto the Father, but by Him (John 14:6). And Christ is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him (Heb. 7:25).

O, indeed, we must come to God. Whosoever will may come, means "whosoever will come to GOD may come to Him." We must come to God, not merely in order to obtain salvation, but to come to Him is salvation. It is not merely a means to an end, it is the end itself. We must come to God who is GOD, that is, not to a god of our own imagination, which is always an idol, but to the true and living God, as He reveals Himself to us in His Word. To God we must come, who dwelleth in the light that no man can approach unto; who is a light, and there is no darkness in Him at all; who is good, that is, the fullness of all infinite perfections, righteousness, holiness, truth, and grace, and in whose presence there is fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore! To God we must come, who is too pure of eyes to behold iniquity, who loveth the righteous, but who is angry with the wicked every day, and who is a consuming fire, the great, the glorious, the terrible God! We must come to Him, that is, we must enter into His blessed fellowship, into the secrets of his friendship, into his most intimate communion, so that we dwell in his house as friends with their Friend, taste that He is good, know Him as we are known, see Him face to face, walk with Him and talk with Him, love Him as we are loved, have our delight in His will, and glorify His name forevermore. Oh yes, to be saved is to be delivered from hell, provided you understand that the torture of hell is exactly that there one feels the wrath of God, and his being utterly forsaken by Him! To be saved, to be sure, is to go to heaven, and heaven is a beautiful place, a glorious house with many mansions, a new creation, and a new Jerusalem, with streets of gold and pearly gates, provided you understand that the heart of it all, and the very essence of it all is that God is there, the Father, and that there we shall forever walk in the light of the glory of God that fills the city! For to know God is life eternal (John 17:3). To come to God: that is our salvation!

"To live apart from God is death;
'Tis good His face to seek."[1]

And this stands to reason.

Man was originally so created that this true knowledge of and perfect fellowship with the ever living God is his very life, and that apart from this blessed fellowship there is no life, but only death and hell for him. In his very being he was so constituted that his nature was adapted to bear the image of God, to be, in a creaturely sense and measure, like God. And not only so, but with the likeness of God he was endowed. After the image of God, in true knowledge of God, in perfect righteousness, in spotless holiness, he was created. And thus he was capable of knowing God, of dwelling in His blessed fellowship of friendship, of loving Him and being loved, and of serving Him in freedom with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. That was man's life and bliss.

But man did not regard his bliss. He departed from the living God. He disregarded His Word, to heed the word of the devil. He violated God's covenant and transgressed His commandment. He proposed to seek his life and bliss far from the living God. And he became guilty, the object of God's just wrath, damnable and liable to death. The death sentence was executed upon him. He became darkness, corrupt in heart and mind, a slave of sin and of the devil, an enemy of God. That is man's misery. And, therefore, to God, to the living God, he must return, and to come again to Him is his salvation. Whosoever will may come, indeed, provided you understand that this means nothing less than to come to the living God!

But how shall we come to God? We may not come to Him, for we are guilty because of our sins, we can only increase our guilt daily, and we have lost every right to dwell in the Father's house. We are exiles from the home of Father, neither have we the right to return. We dare not come to God, for He is holy and righteous, and He is terribly displeased with sin and with the workers of iniquity. How dare we come to Him who is a consuming fire? We cannot come to God, for we are corrupt by nature, and the natural man is enmity against God. With God is the eternal light, and we love the darkness rather than the light. And because of our foolishness and hatred of God, we will not come to Him, but seek our happiness far from Him in the way of iniquity. How, then, shall we come to the living God and be saved?

The answer to this question is: God has revealed Himself as the God of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! Hence, the answer to the question: to whom must we come? has not changed; it still is: we must come to God, to the living God; but it has assumed a new form: we must come to God through Jesus Christ, for He is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by Him! To Jesus we must come, in order to come to God! For Jesus is the revelation of the God of our salvation!

And let it be emphasized that it is to Jesus Christ of the Scriptures that we must come, and not to any Christ of our own imagination. Many, indeed, are the modern Jesuses, all of whom are characterized by this: that in order to come to them, the sinner does not have to renounce the pride of his sinful heart. Jesus is the great teacher, whose instruction we are good enough to receive, especially as it is embodied in the Sermon on the Mount, and whose precepts we must keep. Or he is the good example, who himself walked in the light that we might follow in his steps. And so we must ever walk and live with the question before our minds, “What would Jesus do?” Or he is the one who was deeply God-conscious, who was conscious of the truth that man is the son of God, and who revealed to us that we, too, are sons of God. We must, therefore, believe in the fatherhood of God and establish the brotherhood of man in the world. We must build Christian character. We must establish the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus has shown us how good we really are, and what a power for good we have, and we can work ourselves into the favor and love of God. All this modern trash that flatters the pride of sinful men, however, has nothing to do with the Christ of the Scriptures.

We must come to Jesus. And Jesus leaves us nothing but the confession that we are sinners, damnable and corrupt, sinners who must be and only can be saved by pure and sovereign grace. The Christ of the Scriptures is He who came into the world, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, as a helpless babe in the manger of Bethlehem, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone, from the virgin Mary. He is the One who tabernacled among us and by His Word and work revealed unto us the Father, the God of our salvation. The Christ of the Scriptures is He who died on the cross of Calvary, not for His principle, not as a noble example for us to follow, but because He was delivered for our transgressions and in our stead brought to God the perfect sacrifice for sins, fully satisfying the justice of God with respect to all our transgressions. He is the One who was raised on the third day for our justification, raised to glorious, transcendent, victorious life; death hath no more dominion over Him. He is the Christ who ascended up on high, was exalted at the right hand of God, received all power in heaven and on earth, and received the promise of the Spirit. He is the quickening Spirit, the Savior, the mighty Lord who has the prerogative and the power to save sinners, that is, to bring them back to the living God, to lead them into Father’s house, that they may have life and have it more abundantly than ever before. In Him we behold the Reconciler, the Justifier of the ungodly, who does not impute transgressions unto us. He is the Bread of Life, which we must eat; the Fount of Living Water, from which we must drink. He is the way to the Father, and to come to Him is to come unto God by Him!

But who wants to come to God?

Does the natural man, of whom the Scriptures say that he is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1); that he is darkness, that he loves darkness rather than light, and that he hates the light, neither cometh to the light (Eph. 5:8; John 3:19, 20); that he does not seek after God, that there is no fear of God before his eyes, and that his mind is enmity against God (Rom. 3:11, 18; 8:7)—does that man, I say, have the will to come to God by Jesus Christ? To ask this question is to answer it: he will never come to the living God of himself.

But all the more sure it is that whosoever will may come. For he who thirsts after the living God has already been drawn by the Father. And if anyone will come to God through Christ, his mind has already been enlightened, and his will has been marvelously changed by the almighty grace of God, who calls the things that are not as if they were, and who quickens the dead. Let him not doubt that he will be received, for Christ Himself assures him: “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).

[1] First part of fifth stanza of psalter number 203 in The Psalter with Doctrinal Standards, Liturgy, Church Order, and Added Chorale Section. Rev. ed., PRC (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988).

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