Let him take, drink, receive, believe, appropriate, and live forever!
The waters of life! Christ Himself crucified and raised from the dead! The Spirit of Christ, through whom all the blessings of redemption are bestowed! Those blessings themselves of knowledge and wisdom, life and glory, righteousness and holiness, as administered in and through the living Word of God!
Freely! Without charge! Without money, good works, virtues of your own! Salvation is free, or there can be no salvation at all.
The Arminian says: that’s a general invitation meant for all men.
You know their line of reasoning. God alone must give the power to will. All of salvation, redemption in Christ, faith – all is of grace alone. The Arminian, too, knows that it is written: “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God,” Listen to his own confession: “Man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, in as much as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is ); but that it is needful that he be born again in Christ through His Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John 15:5; “Without me ye can do nothing” Again: “This grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good. . . .so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to that grace of God in Christ.” Quite sound, don’t you think? The Arminian of 1610 would be deeply ashamed of his present-day brother. All is of God alone!
However, God gives that grace, that power to believe, etc. to all men; at least to many who are never saved. You see, it’s up to you to use it. We have the power to will: but we can also not will. The grace of God is abundant, universal. There is great plenty for all. The divine welcome mat is out. The great decision, however, is yours.
Just what men mean is clearly indicated by these words of MacClaren on this very passage: “Whosoever will, that is all. If you choose you may. Not other conditions are laid down. If there had been any which were beyond the power of every soul of man on earth, than Christianity would have dwindled to a narrow, provincial, sectional thing. But, since it only demands the need, which is universal; the sense of need, which every man may feel; and willingness, which every man ought to and can, exercise, it is the Gospel for the world, and it is the Gospel for me, and it is the Gospel for each of ;you. See that ye refuse not the offered salvation.” However, the latter is entirely possible. It can be resisted rejected. Notice: “You know the old proverb: One man can take a horse to water, ten cannot make him drink. We can bring you to the water, or the water to you, but neither Christ nor His servants can put the refreshing, life-giving liquid into your mouth if you lock your lips so tight that a bristle could not go in between them. You can thwart Christ, and when He says, “Take, drink!” you can shake your head and mumble, “I will not!”
Isn’t it terrible?
Then there is no sovereign God no sovereign redemption; no unconditional predestination and no limited atonement; no total depravity and no irresistible grace.
All depends on the human will. If man accepts, it’s simply his choice. If he doesn’t it is not due to any incapacity of the will or darkness of the mind, but simply to the abuse of his free will. He can will as he pleases, and pleases as he wills. He can will to accept, and will to reject. God stands with abundant grace in His hands, but millions simply refuse to be “graced.”
What comfort is there in that? Then, if you do will, you’re only doing something any natural man can do; something millions who are in hell today have done at one time or another. Then, too, you’re willing today is no guarantee that you will still be willing tomorrow. The great decision is yours, not only at the beginning, but throughout life. You must continue to accept Christ to the end of your life – or still perish in your sins. Destroy sovereign grace and you destroy the perseverance of the saints. That’s the curse of Arminianism.
Whosoever will! The call is most particular, most exclusive.
To will means: to desire, to need, to thirst; to feel deeply that we cannot do without those waters, that Christ, that Spirit, that salvation. It implies three things; the profound awareness of our sin and are found lost; sorrow for that sin and an earnest longing for forgiveness and deliverance; recognition of Christ as the only Fount of living water, the fullness of all righteousness and life.
Who is able so to will?
No man, by nature! Let there be no mistake about that. We are dead in sin, children of the devil. There is nothing we care about less than God and His covenant. All that is spiritual and truly good is repulsive to us. By nature man does not and cannot will! Hence, no man is here invited to the banquet of the Lord. Our text is not all-inclusive; it could not be more exclusive. “Whosoever will” means with equal force; if you don’t will you keep your hands off! This is not an invitation to all, or even a few. It bars hopelessly and irrevocably, all natural men
Only the born-again can will. God must renew the heart, rise from spiritual death, and call by almighty grace! Then we see our sins and see that we are lost, feel sorry for sin and yearn for deliverance, turn to Christ as the Fount of all life. “To hunger and thirst after deliverance from misery, and after life… is peculiar to the regenerate and those that are called blessed.” Canons, Head III, IV. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. “It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. That’s truly comforting, for then our willing is proof positive of regeneration and eternal life. Human conditionally destroys all hope! Only sovereign grace guarantees salvation to lost sinners!
And only the chosen are born again. That stands to reason. Sovereign grace must rest on equally sovereign pre-determination. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Again: “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God Who sheweth mercy.”
WHOSOEVER will! Yes. Man or women, old or young, rich or poor, bond or free-it makes no difference.
Whosoever WILL! Of course! We must will, desire, need, take, drink, and believe! God saves us as living, moral, spiritual responsible beings.
Yet, it is not OF him that willeth! It is a gift of God!