We are brought to Jesus Christ -the Son of God - through the Word of God and the Spirit of God. We look now at the part which is played by the Scriptures and the Spirit in bringing us to faith in Christ.
The Scriptures (John 5:39-40).
There's a Rabbinical saying which tells us that "he who has acquired the words of the law has acquired eternal life." Jesus takes issue with this statement from the Jewish rabbis. He tells us that having the Scriptures does not mean that we have eternal life. We must go where the Scriptures leads us. We must go to Jesus.
You can have the Scriptures and never read them. You can read the Scriptures and grow in head-knowledge. You can be acquainted with the teaching of the Scriptures. You can be fully aware of the Bible's teaching concerning the way of salvation. Nevertheless, there is still a decision of faith in Christ, a decision which must be taken on the basis of what the Scriptures teach.
John 5:37 speaks of the divine witness, the witness of the Father to Jesus Christ. Scripture also speaks of the witness of the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ. The Spirit takes the Word of God and uses it to speak to us of Jesus Christ, our need of Him and His power to meet that need. An important passage which speaks of this work of the Spirit is John 16:8-15.
John 16:13 - He is the Spirit of truth who guides us into all truth.
John 16:14 - He glorifies Jesus, taking the Gospel of Christ and declaring it to us.
In this work, He convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11).
- He shows us our sin, highlighting the sin of unbelief (John 16:9).
- He reveals Christ to us as "Christ our righteousness" (John 16:10; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
- He emphasizes to us that, without Christ as our righteousness, we remain in our sins and we remain under the judgment of God (John 16:11).
It is possible to be in the powerful presence of the Spirit and yet turn away without coming to Christ - "you refuse to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:40).
Coming to Christ
This is what happens when we receive the testimony of the Scriptures and respond to the witness of the Spirit. Coming to Christ is believing in Christ (Acts 16:31). It is not 'mere' belief (James 2:19). It is trusting Christ. It is obeying the Word of the Gospel. It is possible to miss out because we hear without believing, we hear without obeying - "good news came ... to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers ... those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of obedience ... Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:3, 6-7).