John 5:40

John 5:39-40 (see also Matthew 13:58; Matthew 23:37; Luke 6:46; Ephesians 4:18)
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

John 5:34 states:But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.

So that you might have life, so that you might be saved, demonstrates what? God’s salvific will. God was prepared to save them. They were savable. John Calvin appears to agree:

John Calvin comments: “‘Yet you refuse to come to me.’ Christ reproaches them again that nothing but their malice stops them from sharing in the ‘life’ which is offered in ‘the Scriptures.’ When Christ says that they ‘refuse’ to come to him, he imputes the reason for their ignorance and blindness to wickedness and obstinacy. They must have been deliberately blind, because Christ offered Himself to them so graciously. When they intentionally turned away from the ‘light,’ and even tried to put it out with their dark unbelief, Christ properly reproved them more severely.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.140, emphasis mine)

Nothing but their malice stops them from sharing in eternal life? What about the immutable decrees of Determinism:

Thats why Arminians get the impression that Calvinists are not always being honest.

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, writes: “‘Ye will not come to me that ye might have life?’ Where is free-will after such a text as that? When Christ affirms that they will not, who dare say they will? ‘Ah, but,’ you say, ‘they could if they would.’ Dear sir, I am not talking about that; I am talking about if they would, the question is ‘will they?’ and we say ‘no,’ they never will by nature. Man is so depraved, so set on mischief, and the way of salvation is so obnoxious to his pride, so hateful to his lusts, that he cannot like it, and will not like it, unless he who ordained the plan shall change his nature, and subdue his will. Mark, this stubborn will of man is his sin; he is not to be excused for it; he is guilty because he will not come; he is condemned because he will not come; because he will not believe in Christ, therefore is condemnation resting upon him, but still the fact does not alter for all that, that he will not come by nature if left to himself. Well, then, if man will not, how shall he be saved unless God shall make him will?—unless, in some mysterious way, he who made heart shall touch its mainspring so that it shall move in a direction opposite to that which it naturally follows.” (God’s Will and Man’s Will, emphasis mine)


This passage reveals that the chosen” rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. So, we are given the decision whether to receive Him or not.

Jesus clearly shows that faith precedes life.” But to a Calvinist, it should instead say, You do not come to Me because you do not have life.

According to Calvinism, it is God (first and foremost) who is UNWILLING to give them life” so that they would effectually come to Him.

In John 5:33-40, if the Father was unwilling, and the Son was willing, then theres a conflict of interest and Christ was in sin. The Calvinist can't use that argument because Christ clearly spoke as if He wanted them to be saved, but they would not come unto Him. Dave Hunt was right. If God implores people to come, and they do not come, then the offer was genuine. And if God calls man as if hes not in a fallen state, then such a man would not need to come because such a man would not be fallen. If God does not acknowledge mans fallen condition, and speaks to man as if he is not fallen, then what does that say about God?

Calvin writes: “…the reason why God elects some and rejects others is to be found in His purpose alone. … before men are born their lot is assigned to each of them by the secret will of God. … the salvation or the destruction of men depends on His free election.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.203, emphasis mine)

Calvin on God’s eternal Decree: “We also note that we should consider the creation of the world so that we may realize that everything is subject to God and ruled by his will and that when the world has done what it may, nothing happens other than what God decrees.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.66, emphasis mine)

Calvin writes: “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)

Calvin explains: “God had no doubt decreed before the foundation of the world what He would do with every one of us and had assigned to everyone by His secret counsel his part in life.”  (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.20, emphasis mine)
Question:  Indeed, man is unwilling. But who would get the impression that what this really means, is that God is the One who is secretly unwilling, having passed by them, as per the doctrine of Preterition?

Dave Hunt: “...Christ’s statement would be meaningless unless they could of their own will repent and come to Him.”  (What Love is This?, p.221)
Question:  According to John 5:40, who is unwilling?

Answer:  According to Calvinism, both two sides are unwilling. Man is unwilling because of his total depravity, and God is unwilling because of His limited election. Yet, Matthew 23:37 tells us that only one side is unwilling: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Calvinists cannot have God willing to get what He doesn’t receive because it violates their human perspective of God’s sovereignty.
For a Calvinist to say that God is willing, is the mirage of Determinism.
For a Calvinist to say that God is not willing, is to hold out life” as a carrot stick.