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Bible Commentaries

Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible

John 6

Verse 29

Joh 6:29

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent." Joh 6:29

Oh! how many a living saint is there who wants to believe in Jesus, who longs to trust in his holy name; and yet he cannot, so plagued, so pestered is he by the risings of inward unbelief. He knows that he does not yet so believe in him as to obtain deliverance; for he has an inward testimony in his conscience, that if he believed in the Lord Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, it would bring the love of God into his heart, extract the sting of death, and fill him with joy and peace. But as long as he feels condemned by the law and his own guilty conscience, he has an inward testimony that he has not as yet that living faith in Christ which, he is persuaded, would save and deliver him from all his guilty fears and dismal apprehensions. Therefore he labors after this special, this peculiar faith in the Lord Jesus, that he may attain unto it, or rather that God would, of his infinite mercy, bestow it upon him.

Here, then, is the main labor of faith, to believe in Jesus Christ so as to obtain pardon, peace, and deliverance. Many a poor soul is laboring hard at this work, yet with a deep and increasing conviction that it is a work which he cannot perform except by the immediate power of God. So powerful an antagonist is unbelief, that, with all his attempts, he feels that he cannot subdue it, nor raise up one grain of that true faith whereby Christ is experimentally brought into the heart. But this very struggle plainly shows that there is life within, a work of God on his soul; for, from the movements of his grace, and the opposition of his carnal mind to them, all this conflict proceeds. When, then, in due time, the blessed Spirit brings Christ near to his eyes and heart, reveals him within, takes of his atoning blood, and sprinkles it on his conscience, brings forth his righteousness and puts it upon him, and sheds abroad the love of God, then he raises up that special faith in the Lord Jesus, whereby the soul hangs, and if I may use the expression, hooks itself upon his Person, as God-man, upon his blood as cleansing from all sin, upon his righteousness as perfectly justifying, upon his grace as super-abounding over all the aboundings of evil, and upon his dying love as a balmy cordial against all the woes and sorrows by which it is distressed. This is believing in the Son of God; believing in Jesus Christ to the salvation of the soul.

Verse 37

Joh 6:37

"All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will never out." Joh 6:37

Now, poor sinner, upon whose head the beams of a fiery law are darting; now, poor sinner, distressed in your mind, guilty in your conscience, plagued with a thousand temptations, beset by innumerable doubts and fears, can you not look up a little out of your gloom and sadness, and see that the eternal God is your refuge? Do you not cleave to him with the utmost of your power, as being beaten out of every other refuge? Have you not taken hold of his strength that you may make peace with him? Are you not looking to him? And does he not say, "Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth?" He bids you look at him as Moses bade the Israelites look to the bronze serpent. Poor sinner, groaning under the weight of your transgression, he bids you look to him. Has the blessed Lord, he into whose lips grace was poured, not said, "Him that comes to me I will never cast out?" Why should you not look? Why should you not come to him? Will he cast you out? Do you not feel the secret drawings of his grace, movements upon your heart which make you come often with strong crying and tears, with groans and sighs, earnest, vehement, and continual supplications? What are these but the inward teachings of God, as our Lord said, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me."

And do you not know that the Lord himself said, that no man can come to him except the Father who has sent him draws him? These comings, therefore, of your soul in earnest and vehement desire are, according to his own testimony, from the special teachings and gracious drawings of God in you. Having made his dear Son to be the refuge of your soul, he is now drawing you unto him that you may find pardon and peace in him.

But perhaps you will say, "I am so sinful, so guilty, I have been such a sinner, much worse than you can form any conception of; and it is this which sinks me so low." Are you lower than brother Jonah when he was in the whale’s belly, and, in his own feelings, in the belly of hell? And yet what said he? "Yet will I look again toward your holy temple." Can you not look again toward the holy temple? Is his mercy clean gone forever? So David felt and feared, but it was not so, for "his mercy endures forever;" and that is a long and strong word. Look and live, look and live!

Verse 63

Joh 6:63

"It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing—the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." —Joh 6:63

It is through the word that the soul in the first instance is cleansed. It is by the word that the soul is begotten again unto eternal life. It is, also, by the word applied to the heart that the blessed Spirit from time to time keeps alive communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not so in vital experience? Some passage of Scripture drops into the soul, some promise comes warm into the heart, and as it comes it makes way for itself. It enters the heart, breaks down the feelings, melts the soul, and draws forth living faith to flow unto and center alone in the "altogether lovely One."

There are many times and seasons when the word of God is to us a dead letter; we see and feel no sweetness in it. But there are other times, through mercy, when the word of God is made sweet and precious to us; when we can say, with the prophet of old, "Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer 15:16). It was so in the case of David. He says, they are "more to be desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Ps 19:10). When this is felt, the sure effect is to bring the soul into communion with the Lord Jesus, who is the true word of God, and makes use of the written word to draw us near unto himself.

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Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on John 6". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible.