Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Jesus Pleading With the Jews To Be Saved

John 10:26 is a key passage for Calvinism and its doctrine of unconditional election and irresistible grace.  The verse reads:

“But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.”

It is taught from John 10:26 that Jesus was telling the unbelieving Jews that they did not believe (John 10:26) simply because they were not His sheep.  If they (these unbelieving Jews) were really His sheep, they would believe in Him but since they do not believe, they are not His sheep.

There are many problems with such a view.  First, Jesus is not teaching the unbelieving Jews here some deep theological teaching about divine election and saying, in essence, “You are not part of the elect otherwise you would believe in Me.”  In fact, He makes it clear through His works that He wants them to believe (John 10:26, 37-38).

Further, bear in mind that Jesus is speaking to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).  Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  Jesus teaches in Luke 15 all about lost sheep and lost coins and lost sons.  He wants these sinners, these unbelieving Jews to repent and believe the gospel.

Lastly, John 10:37-38 is important here.  The passages reads:

37 “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

Jesus tells these Jews that the works He did testify to Him being the true Messiah.  His test to the Jews here in verse 37 is that if His miracles were not from the Father, don’t believe in Him.  But in verse 38 Jesus is clear that if in fact His works come from the Father then believe in Him.  He is calling them to believe!

Paul, in Romans 11, is clear that unbelieving Jews is able to be grafted back into the household of God by faith (Romans 11:23).

On a final note.  I am not arguing here that mankind can just believe when they want.  Obviously true faith arises from the work of the Spirit.  Yet the Spirit works through the preaching of the gospel to draw sinners to the Savior (John 6:44), He convicts the sinner of sin (John 16:8-11) and He saves the sinner who believes the gospel (John 3:3-7; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  But notice that the Spirit does not believe for us (a point even Calvinists admit to by the way).  The key point here is not whether the Spirit draws the sinner or whether He regenerates the sinner but rather can the sinner resist the Spirit.  Calvinists believe that the Spirit cannot be resisted by the elect.  The Arminian differs with this view arguing that when can resist the Spirit.  We believe this because we see this in Scripture even with the ministry of our Lord Jesus both here and in other passages such as Acts 7:51.

Even in the Old Testament we find the Jews rejecting the word of God.  Jeremiah 6:10 reads:

To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
they cannot listen;
behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.

God goes on in Jeremiah 7:23-26 to say why He sent them prophets:

23 But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. 26 Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

And bear in mind who the Lord God is speaking to and about.  If this was the case with the Jews in Jeremiah 6:10; 7:23-26, how much more through the Lord Jesus in John 10 for “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11) but “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 1:12-13).

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