“These words are hard to take; who can hear them?” (John 6:60).
Many of the disciples of Jesus found His words too difficult to believe; He said that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood; He described Himself as the manna from heaven; He said that the flesh is unprofitable and only what is of the spirit is life; He said that the words that He was speaking, the rhema not the logos, were spirit and life; He said that no-one was able to come to Him unless it was given to him from the Father.
John goes on to record that, following this, “many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him” (John 6:66). There is no suggestion that they went back into sin, but that they withdrew from His presence.
This phenomenon is as true today as it was in Capernaum. Many Christians find the teachings of Jesus too hard to apply in their own lives; the flesh is too comfortable in the pleasures of this life; they take the covenant in the mouth (Psalm 50:16), but reject the notion of any sacrifice on their own part (Psalm 50:5).
But qualification for eternal life is not automatically obtained on believing in Christ, nor is it painless. Each and every day is another day of testing and discipline, another day of preparation for a heavenly destiny.
Modern Christianity reflects modern society to the extent that it too, demands instant gratification; it has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and automatic sanctification; “just add a bit of water, stir gently and behold, you’re in”. This is not the gospel of Christ.
Where the new birth is genuine and the miracle of regeneration has taken place in a living soul, there follows a lifetime of preparation and discipline under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians, like the Jews, find this too hard and they too, “walk no more with Him”; that is not to say that they no longer regard themselves as Christians, but that they walk no more with Him; instead they walk with others on that “broad way” that leads to destruction, of which Jesus warned us (Matthew 7:13).