We shall try to gather up hastily the story of a saved soul, as we have it in this Scripture (John vi. 37-45) set before us. It begins first with God. The process begins by the Father's giving the soul that is to be saved to the Son, in order that the Son may save it (see verse 37). But this transaction is secret between the Father and the Son. Note, as the second stage, that the Father goes on to TEACH the soul whom He has given to His Son (see verse 45). For, though the man may have been perfectly familiar with the outward letter of Gospel truth, he has been sitting inwardly in darkness and the shadow of death. Dr. Chalmers had been a minister for years before he was taught of God, and there are many preachers who live and die untaught. The lessons which God, at first, teaches the soul are mainly these two: Its own awful wickedness and utter helplessness to make itself any better; along with this, He reveals to its wondering vision the love and the loveliness of the Lord Jesus; and how able, how ready, how delighted He is to save TO THE UTTERMOST every coming sinner.

The third stage is, that, by means of this teaching, the Father DRAWS the soul toward Christ (see verse 44). The man, seeing clearly and feelingly what a ruined and sinful creature he is, and seeing as clearly the fitness of Christ as a Saviour for such a lost sinner, is sweetly drawn to desire, with growing vehemence, a share in this salvation which Christ has come to bring. And the more he looks at self in all its horror and loathsomeness, and at Christ in all His attractive grace and glory—the more he feels it impossible to—remain any longer where he still is—a wretched sinner, who is justly CONDEMNED ALREADY, and this to eternal death (John iii. 18).

Now comes the fourth stage. The man thus drawn Christwards through the Father's teaching, now yields to the powerful drawing which he feels in his heart, and so he actually comes to Christ AS A SINNER, in order that Christ AS THE SAVIOUR may save him (see verse 37). The drawing is very powerful, but it never does any violence to the perfect freedom of the man's own choice. He comes MOST WILLINGLY, and yet, knowing what the Father has taught him, HE CANNOT BUT COME.

Then instantly follows the fifth stage (verse 37). The sinner thus coming to Christ is ALWAYS and MOST HEARTILY WELCOMED BY HIM. He in no wise shall cast out ANY coming one. It is utterly IMPOSSIBLE that He should. He receives the sinner with a joy that is inconceivable. Read how He speaks of this joy in Luke xv. 5, 6, 7, 10, 20-24. He sees in the sinner's actual coming to Him the fact that the Father has been teaching and drawing the soul, and that it is the Father's WILL that He should save THAT SOUL. And so He welcomes the coming sinner with greatest delight of love, for He came simply to DO THE FATHER'S WILL; and He sees and knows that it is the FATHER'S WILL THAT He should save it, and should raise it up in final glory at the last day (see verse 39.) And He saves the soul, not merely because of His own great love to sinful men, but also as an act of obedience to His Father's will.

We shall not follow out the process any further, but shall sum up all that follows the welcoming of the sinner into one stage, which we may count the sixth Jesus takes such a strong and loving hold of the soul which the Father has given Him to save, that He shall never, NEVER relax His grip; but in the words of Jude 24, "Shall present it faultless before the face of the Father's glory, with exceeding joy." Of all whom He has thus undertaken to His Father to save, He has lost none; NO, NOT A SINGLE ONE (verse 39). Oh, let us see that we trust Him UTTERLY.

Of course God never brings any two souls to glory in exactly the same way; there are always differences, greater or less. But there are the same broad and general features in all cases, and I venture to think that these are in a cursory way stated in our little sketch. Let it never be forgotten, however, that no certain amount of conviction is needed before Christ will accept a coming sinner. The degree of conviction is needed, not to induce Christ to welcome us, but to constrain us TO COME to Him. Some gentle souls are drawn by a very little of it; others who are harder need almost the flashings of God's thunderbolts. But the welcome is all the same, IF ONLY THE SINNER COMES. And if a man has had conviction enough to constrain him to flee to the Saviour, he has quite enough for his present need.

It would he]p many a Christian from being needlessly dejected to recognize the fact that, in one sense, salvation is a PROCESS; as such it is carried onward towards completion through many stages. Regeneration, which gives life to the soul dead in sins, is always instantaneous, though it may have needed much preparation ere the soul was fitted to receive it. But then, REGENERATION by itself is not SALVATION in its FULL and COMPLETE sense, but only the first part of it. Salvation includes sanctification, and that is a life-long process. Therefore Paul calls on those already entered on the path of salvation to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. ii 12, 13). And as for himself, the apostle took his own advice, for he felt that he had not yet attained that for the attainment of which Christ had laid hold on him, and so, forgetting the past, he pressed on, and on, and on, with ever-growing eagerness, to reach heights which hitherto he had never reached.

Now, all this is both a joyful and often a sorrowful experience. It is sorrowful because in the course of it the holy soul gets opened up before its eyes depths of its own sinfulness, which it had not suspected, in order that it may be still further driven out from all trust in self, and may cling with more entire singleness of heart to Jesus only; and these discoveries are very painful, as well as very humbling, to the child of God; but they always lead to increase of joy. He is thereby sent, day after day, to Christ afresh, who becomes to him more and more all his salvation and all his desire. Thus are we trained to walk by FAITH, and to find our EVERYTHING in Christ.