Monday, November 5, 2012

Coming to Christ: KJV versus JST

No man can come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me draw him:
and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
No man can come unto me,
except he doeth the will of my Father who hath sent me.
And this is the will of him who hath sent me, that ye receive the Son;
for the Father beareth record of him;
and he who receiveth the testimony,
and doeth the will of him who sent me,
I will raise up in the resurrection of the just. (JST John 6:44)
There are a lot of changes in this verse to appreciate.

Difference #1: The KJV makes it seem like it is all dependent on the Father to draw a person to Christ and the person has no choice in the matter.  The JST clarifies that every person has to receive the testimony and receive the Son and do the will of the Father to come to Christ.

Difference #2: The KJV tells us that the Father draws people, but it is not specific about how.  The JST shows us that the Father bears record of the Son, so we learn it is testimony of Christ that draws people to Christ.

Difference #3: The KJV makes us think that everyone will be saved.  We think, “Surely the Father will draw all men, so we don’t have to worry.”  The JST shows us that the responsibility of accepting and receiving Christ is all on us and we know that some will refuse.

Difference #4: The KJV makes us think that only those who have come to Christ will be raised up (resurrected) at the last day, but the JST clarifies that those who come to Christ will be resurrected with the just.  That implies there is also a time of resurrection for the unjust.

Also, I notice in the JST that Jesus mentions three times that the Father sent him.  I think this is meant to show how Christ gives the credit and glory to God as well as how He emphasizes His authority that comes from His Father.  Jesus wants to press home the point that He has been sent by God.

I also like that Christ says, “I will raise up” those who receive the testimony and do the will of the Father.  It informs us that Christ has the power to resurrect others.

I think it is interesting that receiving the Son and coming to Christ are shown to be two separate things, and receiving the Son is done before coming to Christ.  That means that receiving the Son is accepting the testimony of Christ into our hearts such that we begin to act to do the Father’s will and keep the commandments, repent, and progress in the first principles of the gospel.

I’m glad we have this because of the important information it gives us about the very preliminary steps of responding to testimony of Christ.  It draws a line between the God’s responsibility and our responsibility and points out how we begin to make choices to believe at the very beginning.