Daily Devotional 12-11-18


Volume 17, number 47, November 29, 2018

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” -2 Peter 1:1

Free Grace and the Free Offer of the Gospel

I am attempting, as I have been doing over the previous two weeks, to put to death once and for all, the insipid, weak, and paltry presentation of the gospel by many in the Reformed wing of the church. Many, it seems to me, are de facto hyper-Calvinists. A “hyper-Calvinist” is someone who is out of balance in his gospel preaching. He believes that since only the elect will be saved, then it is wrong to offer the gospel to everyone, that it is the preacher’s duty to discern those of his hearers who seem to be drawn by the Holy Spirit, who seem to give evidence, therefore, of electing grace. To offer the gospel freely to anyone else, so they say, is an affront to the sovereignty of God and a great hardship on those who “believe” on Jesus but who are not elect. They, so goes the thinking, will have a false assurance of salvation and be surprised on the day of their deaths when they end up in hell which was foreordained for them in the first place. I call them de-facto hyper-Calvinists because in not pleading with sinners to come to Christ that very moment, their lack of appeal accomplishes the same thing as that of the true hyper-Calvinist-nothing. Nothing happens. No one gets saved. 

And since the hyper-Calvinist believes in “limited atonement” or shall we say “particular redemption,” (something all Calvinists, by the way, believe is true, Matthew 1:21, 1 John 4:10, Ephesians 1:7), meaning that Jesus died for His people, His elect, that His blood definitely takes away their sin and judgment, then it is a grave error, they say, to offer Christ to anyone for whom His blood was not specifically shed.

To this, however, consider the words of the Apostle Peter in the text cited above. Peter is warning the flock about false teachers, past and present, who were bringing their destructive heresies into the church. These heretics were denying the Master who bought them (italics mine), bringing destruction upon themselves. Did you catch that? Peter says that these false teachers had been bought by the blood of Christ. How can that be? If Christ died for the elect, and if His death certainly and without equivocation brings salvation to people, how can Peter say that those who clearly were going to hell, had been bought by the blood of Christ? The answer is simple. Christ’s death is sufficient for all (everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved Rom.10:13, Jesus Christ the righteous who is the propitiation for our sins, and also for those of the whole world, 1 Jn.2:1), but it is efficient, effectual, it actually does its saving work, in the elect.

This is vital. We should, therefore, preach the gospel of free grace (for by grace are you saved through faith, a gift of God, Eph.2:8,9, Mt. 11:28-30, Isaiah 55:1-4) and offer it to all people freely. We are to offer this glorious gospel of free grace to everyone, everywhere, to anyone who will listen.
Samuel Davies, the great Eighteenth century American Presbyterian preacher (one whom Martyn Lloyd-Jones called the greatest preacher America has produced), while clearly embracing the doctrines of election and particular redemption, nonetheless offered the gospel to everyone, anyone. Those who opposed Davies’ free offer of the gospel did so because they believed Davies made it too easy for the vile, ungodly sinners of his day to become Christians. Surely, so his opponents believed, these wicked, vile people must clean up their act and live moral lives before they could ever expect to be accepted by a Holy God. But consider just a few excerpts from the preaching of Davies.[1]   

Hence Christ, as an almighty Savior, is exhibited, and the blessings of this purchase are offered in the gospel; and all that hear the glorious proposal are invited to entertain this Savior with suitable dispositions.[2]

Repentance is not a local duty, but it extends as far as human nature, as far as the utmost boundaries of this guilty world. Wherever there are sinners under a dispensation of grace, there this command reaches. . . If you are men, if you dwell anywhere upon this guilty globe, you are included; for let me tell you once more, God commands all men, everywhere to repent.[3]

But if any of you refuse to comply with the proposal, or, which is much the same, are careless, and indifferent about giving yourselves up to God, not forming any express determination one way or the other, heaven and earth will bear witness against you, that your refusal is not owing to your not knowing God’s claims upon you. . . I announce unto you, that you shall surely perish, shall perish by the hand of divine justice, as willful rebels against the highest authority, and as insolently and ungratefully denying the Lord that bought them.[4]

I pray you both in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the true friend of publicans and sinners, in his name and for his sake, who assumed your degraded nature, that he might dignify and save it; who lived a life of labor, poverty, and persecution on earth, that you might enjoy a life of everlasting happiness and glory in heaven; who died upon a torturing cross, that you might sit upon heavenly thrones; who was imprisoned in the gloomy grave, that you might enjoy a glorious resurrection; who fell a victim to divine justice, that you might be set free from its dreadful arrest; who felt trouble and agony of soul, that you might enjoy the smiles, the pleasures of divine love; who, in short, has discovered more ardent and extensive love for you than all the friends in the world can do; in his name, and for his sake, I pray you to be reconciled to God.[5]

There is no contradiction, my friends, between God’s electing grace and the free offer of the gospel. All who are weary, all who are far off, all who are dead in their trespasses and sins, are commanded to come to Christ and He promises never to cast them away from His presence. 
Therefore, do not hold back. Ask for the order. Call people on the spot to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins._________________________________1. I am indebted to my good friend and Samuel Davies scholar, Dr. Dewey Roberts, who has written the only extensive biography of Samuel Davies, Samuel Davies: Apostle to Virginia, for these excerpts. I have attached a link to Dr. Roberts article on Davies and the free offer of the gospel. 

2. The Nature of Looking to Christ Opened and Explained, Sermons of the Rev.Samuel Davies, Volume 2, pages 337-348.

3. The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance, Sermons of the Rev. Samuel Davies, Volume 2, pages 386-404.

4. Dedication to God Argued From Redeeming Mercy, Sermons of the Rev. Samuel Davies, Volume 2, pages 117-140.5. Sinners Entreated to be Reconciled to God, Sermons of the Rev. Samuel Davies, Volume 1, page 158. 
Al BakerAl Baker is an Evangelistic Revival Preacher with Reformed Evangelistic Fellowship.  
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