Marrow of Modern Divinity – The Gospel Call, Part 1


Now that we have learned about the deliverance of fallen man from sin
and the law of condemnation, and about the satisfaction accomplished
by Jesus Christ on behalf of his own, we turn to the method for
sinners to appropriate this free gift to themselves – repentance and
faith. First, however, we touch on the most controversial subject in
the book – the ‘freeness’ of the free gospel offer to all and the warrant for
sinners to believe in Christ.

The material for this section of the book may be found HERE.

At this point of our book, Neophytus has been convinced that Jesus
Christ has fully satisfied God’s just demands in the law and that he,
as a sinful and fallen man, is without hope of redeeming himself by
the works of the law, but rather can only be justified by God’s free
grace through Christ. Neophytus then asks Evangelist this question…

The warrant to believe in Christ.

Neophytus – But, sir, hath such a one as I any warrant to believe in Christ?

Note: According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:

WARRANT, n.

1. An act, instrument or obligation, by which one person
authorizes another to do something which he has not otherwise a
right to do; an act or instrument investing one with a right or
authority, and thus securing him from loss or damage; a word of
general application.

EvangelistI beseech you consider, that God the
Father, as he is in his Son Jesus Christ, moved with nothing but with
his free love to mankind lost, hath made a deed of gift and grant unto
them all, that whosoever of them all shall believe in this his Son,
shall not perish, but have eternal life [John 3:16]. And hence it was,
that Jesus Christ himself said unto his disciples, (Mark 16:15), “Go
and preach the gospel to every creature under heaven”: that is, Go and
tell every man without exception, that here is good news for him;
Christ is dead for him; and if he will take him, and accept of his
righteousness, he [Jesus] shall have him [the sinner].

According to USLegal.com, a deed of gift is:

A gift deed is a deed in which the consideration is not monetary, but
is made in return for love and affection. It is a document which
transfers property to another as a gift. Such a deed is often used to
present someone with a gift…

Thomas Boston footnotes this section by informing that the quote
concerning the deed gift is due to a Mr. Culverwell (Ezekiel
Culverwell, ‘A Treatise of Faith’):

“The matter to be believed unto salvation is this, that
God the Father, moved by nothing but his free love to mankind lost,
hath made a deed of gift and grant of his son Christ Jesus unto
mankind, that whosoever of all mankind shall receive his gift by a
true and lively faith, he shall not perish, but have everlasting
life.”

Boston also notes that the great Puritan, Dr. Gouge, in the preface to
Culverwell’s work, wrote that:

“Never any took such pains to so good purpose, in and about the
foundation of faith, as he hath done.”

Boston continues…

“This deed of gift and grant, or authentic gospel-offer is expressed in
so many words, (John 3:16), “For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.” Where the gospel comes, this grant
is published, and the ministerial offer made and there is no exception
of any of all mankind in the grant. If there was, no ministerial offer
of Christ could be warrantably made … otherwise, it would be of no
more value than a crier’s offering of the king’s pardon to one who is
not comprehended in it. This is the good old way of discovering to
sinners their warrant to believe in Christ; and it doth indeed bear
the ‘sufficiency’ of the sacrifice of Christ for all, and that Christ
crucified is the ordinance of God for salvation unto all mankind, in
the use-making of which only they can be saved; but not an universal
atonement or redemption.”

Boston goes on to quote relevant portions of the Westminster
Confession and the Synod of Dort, etc. Some of Boston’s references
are given below…

Scripture

Rev 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that
heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever
will, let him take the water of life freely.

Matthew 22:2-9The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. …Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mark 16:15-16And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 3:14-16And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life

Westminster Confession and Catechism

Confession of 1646, Chap 7, Article 3

Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that
covenant [Covenant of Works with Adam in the Garden], the Lord was
pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace [God’s
Plan of Salvation]; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and
salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they
may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained
unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to
believe.

Larger Catechism

See questions 32 and 63

The Sum of Saving Knowledge*

*A Scottish work written in mid-17th Century to be included along with
the confession and catechism.

See section: Warrants to Believe

Synod of Dort

Chapter 2, Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in
Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise,
together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced
and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations
and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.

Chapter 2, Article 6: Unbelief Man’s Responsibility

However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not
repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the
sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient,
but because they themselves are at fault.

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