It's really amazing how Jesus spoke to unbelieving Pharisees about God's electing freedom. He speaks in such a way to prevent them from boasting that they can overrule the ultimate purposes of God. For example, in John 10:25-26 Jesus responded to the skeptics who demanded more and more proof by saying, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep." Think about this for a moment. Think about what it means, and think about the fact that Jesus would dare to say it to unbelievers.

Believing is dependent on being a sheep. Belonging to the sheep enables a person to believe, not the other way around. So Jesus says, "The reason you don't believe is that you don't belong to my sheep." What Jesus means by "my sheep" is that the Father has given the sheep to him. That is what makes them his. We see this in John 10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

I hope that helps you see how God works in those He chooses not the other way around. The work of regeneration preceeds faith. For it is God who is at work within us both to will and to do His pleasure.


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts