Come and Welcome
Written By J O H N.B U N Y A N,
Author of "THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS."
"And they shall come which were ready to perish." –Isaiah 27:13.
L O N D O N,
Published seven years before John Bunyan's death.
[THE PROMISE TO THOSE COMING TO CHRIST.]
"AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I will in no wise cast out."
y these words our Lord Jesus doth set forth yet more amply the great goodness of his nature towards the coming sinner. Before, he said, They shall come; and here he declareth, That with heart and affections he will receive them. But, by the way, let me speak one word or two to the seeming conditionality of this promise with which now I have to do. "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Where it is evident, may some say, that Christ's receiving us to mercy depends upon our coming, and so our salvation by Christ is conditional. If we come, we shall be received; if not, we shall not; for that is fully intimated by the words. The promise of reception is only to him that cometh. "And him that cometh." I answer, that the coming in these words mentioned, as a condition of being received to life, is that which is promised, yea, concluded to be effected in us by the promise going before. In those latter words, coming to Christ is implicitly required of us; and in the words before, that grace that can make us come is positively promised to us. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" thence. We come to Christ, because it is said, We shall come; because it is given to us to come. So that the condition which is expressed by Christ in these latter words is absolutely promised in the words before. And, indeed, the coming here intended is nothing else but the effect of "shall come to me. They shall come, and I will not cast them out."
"AND HIM THAT COMETH."
He saith not, and him that is come, but him that cometh. To speak to these words, First, In general. Second, More particularly.
[First.] In general. They suggest unto us these four things: —
1. That Jesus Christ doth build upon it, that since the Father gave his people to him, they shall be enabled to come unto him. "And him that cometh." As who should say, I know that since they are given to me, they shall be enabled to come unto me. He saith not, if they come, or I suppose they will come; but, "and him that cometh." By these words, therefore, he shows us that he addresseth himself to the receiving of them whom the Father gave to him to save them. I say, he addresseth himself, or prepareth himself to receive them. By which, as I said, he concludeth or buildeth upon it, that they shall indeed come to him. He looketh that the Father should bring them into his bosom, and so stands ready to embrace them.
2. Christ also suggesteth by these words, that he very well knoweth who are given to him; not by their coming to him, but by their being given to him. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh," &c. This him he knoweth to be one of them that the Father hath given him; and, therefore, he received him, even because the Father hath given him to him (John 10). "I know my sheep," saith he. Not only those that already have knowledge of him, but those, too, that yet are ignorant of him. "Other sheep I have," said he, "which are not of this fold," (John 10:16); not of the Jewish church, but those that lie in their sins, even the rude and barbarous Gentiles. Therefore, when Paul was afraid to stay at Corinth, from a supposition that some mischief might befall him there; "Be not afraid," said the Lord Jesus to him, "but speak, and hold not thy peace - for I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:9,10). The people that the Lord here speaks of were not at this time accounted his, by reason of a work of conversion that already had passed upon them, but by virtue of the gift of the Father; for he had given them unto him. Therefore was Paul to stay here, to speak the word of the Lord to them, that, by his speaking, the Holy Ghost might effectually work over their souls, to the causing them to come to him, who was also ready, with heart and soul, to receive them.
3. Christ, by these words, also suggesteth, that no more come unto him than, indeed, are given him of the Father. For the him in this place is one of the all that by Christ was mentioned before. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;" and every him of that all, "I will in no wise cast out." This the apostle insinuateth, where he saith, "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:11-13).
Mark, as in the text, so here he speaketh of all. "Until we all come." We all! all who? Doubtless, "All that the Father giveth to Christ." This is further insinuated, because he called this ALL the body of Christ; the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. By which he means the universal number given; to wit, the true elect church, which is said to be his body and fullness (Eph 1:22,23).
4. Christ Jesus, by these words, further suggesteth, that he is well content with this gift of the Father to him. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." I will heartily, willingly, and with great content of mind, receive him.
They show us, also, that Christ's love in receiving is as large as his Father's love in giving, and no larger. Hence, he thanks him for his gift, and also thanks him for hiding of him and his things from the rest of the wicked (Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21). But,
Secondly, and more particularly, "And HIM that cometh."
[Import of the word HIM.]
"And him." This word him; by it Christ looketh back to the gift of the Father; not only in the lump and whole of the gift, but to the every him of that lump. As who should say, I do not only accept of the gift of my Father in the general, but have a special regard to every of them in particular; and will secure not only some, or the greatest part, but every him, every dust. Not a hoof of all shall be lost or left behind. And, indeed, in this he consenteth to his Father's will, which is that of all that he hath given him, he should lose nothing (John 6:39).
"And him." Christ Jesus, also, by his thus dividing the gift of his Father into hims, and by his speaking of them in the singular number, shows what a particular work shall be wrought in each one, at the time appointed of the Father. "And it shall come to pass in that day," saith the prophet, "that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel." Here are the hims, one by one, to be gathered to him by the Father (Isa 27:12).
He shows also hereby that no lineage, kindred, or relation, can at all be profited by any outward or carnal union with the person that the Father hath given to Christ. It is only him, the given HIM, the coming him, that he intends absolutely to secure. Men make a great ado with the children of believers; and oh the children of believers!  But if the child of the believer is not the him concerned in this absolute promise, it is not these men's great cry, nor yet what the parent or child can do, that can interest him in this promise of the Lord Christ, this absolute promise.
AND HIM. There are divers sorts of persons that the Father hath given to Jesus Christ; they are not all of one rank, of one quality; some are high, some are low; some are wise, some fools; some are more civil, and complying with the law; some more profane, and averse to him and his gospel. Now, since those that are given to him are, in some sense, so diverse; and again, since he yet saith, "And him that cometh," &c., he, by that, doth give us to understand that he is not, as men, for picking and choosing, to take a best and leave a worst, but he is for him that the Father hath given him, and that cometh to him. "He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good," (Lev 27:10); but will take him as he is, and will save his soul.
There is many a sad wretch given by the Father to Jesus Christ; but not one of them all is despised or slighted by him. It is said of those that the Father hath given to Christ that they have done worse than the heathen; that they were murderers, thieves, drunkards, unclean persons, and what not; but he has received them, washed them, and saved them. A fit emblem of this sort is that wretched instance mentioned in the 16th of Ezekiel, that was cast out in a stinking condition, to the loathing of its person, in the days that it was born; a creature in such a wretched condition, that no eye pitied, to do any of the things there mentioned unto it, or to have compassion upon it; no eye but his that speaketh in the text.
AND HIM. Let him be as red as blood, let him be as red as crimson. Some men are blood-red sinners, crimson-sinners, sinners of a double die; dipped and dipped again, before they come to Jesus Christ. Art thou that readest these lines such an one? Speak out, man! Art thou such an one? and art thou now coming to Jesus Christ for the mercy of justification, that thou mightest be made white in his blood, and be covered with his righteousness? Fear not; forasmuch as this thy coming betokeneth that thou art of the number of them that the Father hath given to Christ; for he will in no wise cast thee out. "Come now," saith Christ, "and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa 1:18).
AND HIM. There was many a strange HIM came to Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh; but he received them all, without turning any away; speaking unto them "of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing" (Luke 9:11; 4:40). These words, AND HIM, are therefore words to be wondered at. That not one of them who, by virtue of the Father's gift, and drawing, are coming to Jesus Christ, I say, that not one of them, whatever they have been, whatever they have done, should be rejected or set by, but admitted to a share in his saving grace. It is said in Luke, that the people "wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth" (4:22). Now this is one of his gracious words; these words are like drops of honey, as it is said, "Pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Prov 16:24). These are gracious words indeed, even as full as a faithful and merciful High-priest could speak them. Luther saith, "When Christ speaketh, he hath a mouth as wide as heaven and earth." That is, to speak fully to the encouragement of every sinful him that is coming to Jesus Christ. And that his word is certain, hear how himself confirms it: "Heaven and earth," saith he, "shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away" (Isa 51:6; Matt 24:35).
It is also confirmed by the testimony of the four evangelists, who gave faithful relation of his loving reception of all sorts of coming sinners, whether they were publicans, harlots, thieves, possessed of devils, bedlams, and what not (Luke 19:1-10; Matt 21:31; Luke 15; 23:43; Mark 16:9; 5:1-9).
This, then, shows us, 1. "The greatness of the merits of Christ." 2. The willingness of his heart to impute them for life to the great, if coming, sinners.
1. This shows us the greatness of the merits of Christ; for it must not be supposed, that his words are bigger than his worthiness. He is strong to execute his word. He can do, as well as speak. He can do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think, even to the uttermost, and outside of his word (Eph 3:20). Now, then, since he concludeth any coming HIM; it must be concluded, that he can save to the uttermost sin, any coming HIM.
Do you think, I say, that the Lord Jesus did not think before he spake? He speaks all in righteousness, and therefore by his word we are to judge how mighty he is to save (Isa 63:1). He speaketh in righteousness, in very faithfulness, when he began to build this blessed gospel-fabric, the text; it was for that he had first sat down, and counted the cost; and for that, he knew he was able to finish it! What, Lord, any him? any him that cometh to thee? This is a Christ worth looking after, this is a Christ worth coming to!
This, then, should learn us diligently to consider the natural force of every word of God; and to judge of Christ's ability to save, not by our sins, or by our shallow apprehensions of his grace; but by his word, which is the true measure of grace. And if we do not judge thus, we shall dishonour his grace, lose the benefit of his word, and needlessly fright ourselves into many discouragements though coming to Jesus Christ. Him, any him that cometh, hath sufficient from this word of Christ, to feed himself with hopes of salvation. As thou art therefore coming, O thou coming sinner, judge thou, whether Christ can save thee by the true sense of his words: judge, coming sinner, of the efficacy of his blood, of the perfection of his righteousness, and of the prevalency of his intercession, by his word. "And him," saith he, "that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." "In no wise," that is, for no sin. Judge therefore by his word, how able he is to save thee. It is said of God's sayings to the children of Israel, "There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass" (Josh 21:45). And again, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass unto you; and not one thing hath failed thereof" (Josh 23:14).
Coming sinner, what promise thou findest in the word of Christ, strain it whither thou canst, so thou dost not corrupt it, and his blood and merits will answer all; what the word saith, or any true consequence that is drawn therefrom, that we may boldly venture upon. As here in the text he saith, "And him that cometh," indefinitely, without the least intimation of the rejection of any, though never so great, if he be a coming sinner. Take it then for granted, that thou, whoever thou art, if coming, art intended in these words; neither shall it injure Christ at all, if, as Benhadad's servants served Ahab, thou shalt catch him at his word. "Now," saith the text, "the man did diligently observe whether anything would come from him," to wit, any word of grace; "and did hastily catch it." And it happened that Ahab had called Benhadad his brother. The man replied, therefore, "Thy brother Benhadad!" (1 Kings 20:33), catching him at his word. Sinner, coming sinner, serve Jesus Christ thus, and he will take it kindly at thy hands. When he in his argument called the Canaanitish woman dog, she catched him at it, and saith, "Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." I say, she catched him thus in his words, and he took it kindly, saying, "O woman great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt" (Matt 15:28). Catch him, coming sinner, catch him in his words, surely he will take it kindly, and will not be offended at thee.
2. The other thing that I told you is showed from these words, is this: The willingness of Christ's heart to impute his merits for life to the great, if coming sinner. "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
The awakened coming sinner doth not so easily question the power of Christ, as his willingness to save him. Lord, "if thou wilt, thou canst," said one (Mark 1:40). He did not put the if upon his power, but upon his will. He concluded he could, but he was not as fully of persuasion that he would. But we have the same ground to believe he will, as we have to believe he can; and, indeed, ground for both is the Word of God. If he was not willing, why did he promise? Why did he say he would receive the coming sinner? Coming sinner, take notice of this; we use to plead practices with men, and why not with God likewise? I am sure we have no more ground for the one than the other; for we have to plead the promise of a faithful God. Jacob took him there: "Thou saidst," said he, "I will surely do thee good" (Gen 32:12). For, from this promise he concluded, that it followed in reason, "He must be willing."
The text also gives some ground for us to draw the same conclusion. "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Here is his willingness asserted, as well as his power suggested. It is worth your observation, that Abraham's faith considered rather God's power than his willingness; that is, he drew his conclusion, "I shall have a child," from the power that was in God to fulfil the promise to him. For he concluded he was willing to give him one, else he would not have promised one. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform" (Rev 4:20,21). But was not his faith exercised, or tried, about his willingness too? No, there was no show of reason for that, because he had promised it. Indeed, had he not promised it, he might lawfully have doubted it; but since he had promised it, there was left no ground at all for doubting, because his willingness to give a son was demonstrated in his promising him a son. These words, therefore, are sufficient ground to encourage any coming sinner that Christ is willing to his power to receive him; and since he hath power also to do what he will, there is no ground at all left to the coming sinner any more to doubt; but to come in full hope of acceptance, and of being received unto grace and mercy. "And him that cometh." He saith not, and him that is come; but, and him that cometh; that is, and him whose heart begins to move after me, who is leaving all for my sake; him who is looking out, who is on his journey to me. We must, therefore, distinguish betwixt coming, and being come to Jesus Christ. He that is come to him has attained of him more sensibly what he felt before that he wanted, than he has that but yet is coming to him.
[Advantages to the man that is come to Christ.]
A man that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that is but coming to him; and that in seven things.
1. He that is come to Christ is nearer to him than he that is but coming to him; for he that is but coming to him is yet, in some sense, at a distance from him; as it is said of the coming prodigal, "And while he was yet a great way off" (Luke 15:20). Now he that is nearer to him hath the best sight of him; and so is able to make the best judgment of his wonderful grace and beauty, as God saith, "Let them come near, then let them speak" (Isa 41:1). And as the apostle John saith, "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). He that is not yet come, though he is coming, is not fit, not being indeed capable to make that judgment of the worth and glory of the grace of Christ, as he is that is come to him, and hath seen and beheld it. Therefore, sinner, suspend thy judgment till thou art come nearer.
2. He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming, in that he is eased of his burden; for he that is but coming is not eased of his burden (Matt 11:28). He that is come has cast his burden upon the Lord. By faith he hath seen himself released thereof; but he that is but coming hath it yet, as to sense and feeling, upon his own shoulders. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," implies, that their burden, though they are coming, is yet upon them, and so will be till indeed they are come to him.
3. He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming in this also, namely, he hath drank of the sweet and soul refreshing water of life; but he that is but coming hath not. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink" (John 7:37).
Mark, He must come to him before he drinks: according to that of the prophet, "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." He drinketh not as he cometh, but when he is come to the waters (Isa 55:1).
4. He that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that as yet is but coming in this also, to wit, he is not so terrified with the noise, and, as I may call it, hue and cry, which the avenger of blood makes at the heels of him that yet is but coming to him. When the slayer was on his flight to the city of his refuge, he had the noise or fear of the avenger of blood at his heels; but when he was come to the city, and was entered thereinto, that noise ceased. Even so it is with him that is but coming to Jesus Christ, he heareth many a dreadful sound in is ear; sounds of death and damnation, which he that is come is at present freed from. Therefore he saith, "Come, and I will give you rest." And so he saith again, "We that have believed, do enter into rest," as he said, &c. (Heb 4).
5. He, therefore, that is come to Christ, is not so subject to those dejections, and castings down, by reason of the rage and assaults of the evil one, as is the man that is but coming to Jesus Christ, though he has temptations too. "And as he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him" (Luke 9:42). For he has, though Satan still roareth upon him, those experimental comforts and refreshments, to wit, in his treasury, to present himself with, in times of temptation and conflict; which he that is but coming has not.
6. He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming to him, in this also, to wit, he hath upon him the wedding garment, &c., but he that is coming has not. The prodigal, when coming home to his father, was clothed with nothing but rags, and was tormented with an empty belly; but when he was come, the best robe is brought out, also the gold ring, and the shoes, yea, they are put upon him, to his great rejoicing. The fatted calf was killed for him; the music was struck up to make him merry; and thus also the Father himself sang of him, "This my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost and is found" (Luke 15:18,19).
7. In a word, he that is come to Christ, his groans and tears, his doubts and fears, are turned into songs and praises; for that he hath now received the atonement, and the earnest of his inheritance; but he that is but yet a-coming, hath not those praises nor songs of deliverance with him; nor has he as yet received the atonement and earnest of his inheritance, which is, the sealing testimony of the Holy Ghost, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon his conscience, for he is not come (Rom 5:11; Eph 1:13; Heb 12:22- 24).
[Import of the word COMETH.]
"And him that COMETH." There is further to be gathered from this word cometh, these following particulars: —
1. That Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, and takes notice of, the first moving of the heart of a sinner after himself. Coming sinner, thou canst not move with desires after Christ, but he sees the working of those desires in thy heart. "All my desire," said David, "is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee" (Psa 38:9). This he spake, as he was coming, after he had backslidden, to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is said of the prodigal, that while he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, had his eye upon him, and upon the going out of his heart after him (Luke 15:20).
When Nathanael was come to Jesus Christ, the Lord said to them that stood before him, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." But Nathanael answered him, "Whence knowest thou me?" Jesus answered, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." There, I suppose, Nathanael was pouring out of his soul to God for mercy, or that he would give him good understanding about the Messias to come; and Jesus saw all the workings of his honest heart at that time (John 1:47,48).
Zaccheus also had some secret movings of heart, such as they were, towards Jesus Christ, when he ran before, and climbed up the tree to see him; and the Lord Jesus Christ had his eye upon him: therefore, when he was come to the place, he looked up to him, bids him come down, "For today," said he, "I must abide at thy house;" to wit, in order to the further completing the work of grace in his soul (Luke 19:1-9). Remember this, coming sinner.
2. As Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, so he hath his heart open to receive, the coming sinner. This is verified by the text: "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." This is also discovered by his preparing of the way, in his making of it easy (as may be) to the coming sinner; which preparation is manifest by those blessed words, "I will in no wise cast out;" of which more when we come to the place. And while "he was yet a great way off, his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). All these expressions do strongly prove that the heart of Christ is open to receive the coming sinner.
3. As Jesus Christ has his eye upon, and his heart open to receive, so he hath resolved already that nothing shall alienate his heart from receiving the coming sinner. No sins of the coming sinner, nor the length of the time that he hath abode in them, shall by any means prevail with Jesus Christ to reject him. Coming sinner, thou art coming to a loving Lord Jesus!
4. These words therefore are dropped from his blessed mouth, on purpose that the coming sinner might take encouragement to continue on his journey, until he be come indeed to Jesus Christ. It was doubtless a great encouragement to blind Bartimeus, that Jesus Christ stood still and called him, when he was crying, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me;" therefore, it is said, he cast away his garment, "rose, and came to Jesus" (Mark 10:46). Now, if a call to come hath such encouragement in it, what is a promise of receiving such, but an encouragement much more? And observe it, though he had a call to come, yet not having a promise, his faith was forced to work upon a mere consequence, saying, He calls me; and surely since he calls me, he will grant me my desire. Ah! but coming sinner, thou hast no need to go so far about as to draw (in this matter) consequences, because thou hast plain promises: "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Here is full, plain, yea, what encouragement one can desire; for, suppose thou wast admitted to make a promise thyself, and Christ should attest that he would fulfil it upon the sinner that cometh to him, Couldst thou make a better promise? Couldst thou invent a more full, free, or larger promise? a promise that looks at the first moving of the heart after Jesus Christ? a promise that declares, yea, that engageth Christ Jesus to open his heart to receive the coming sinner? yea, further, a promise that demonstrateth that the Lord Jesus is resolved freely to receive, and will in no wise cast out, nor means to reject, the soul of the coming sinner! For all this lieth fully in this promise, and doth naturally flow therefrom. Here thou needest not make use of far-fetched consequences, nor strain thy wits, to force encouraging arguments from the text. Coming sinner, the words are plain: "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
[FIRST, THE TEXT TREATED BY WAY OF EXPLICATION.]
[SECOND, THE TEXT TREATED BY WAY OF OBSERVATION.]