without money and without price

Yesterday afternoon’s discussion concluded:

1) The basis of the free offer isn’t a universal love (even if by that you mean benevolence).

2) You don’t find your warrant to believe the gospel in God’s love for you but in his word to you.

With all due respect to the good people who say otherwise.


4 thoughts on “without money and without price

  1. Someone had been at a conference where a much-loved preacher had said that these two things are paradoxes – God’s universal love (aka benevolence) and the free offer. But the free offer only makes sense when the context is *not* a doctrine of universal love. Preach “everyone must repent and believe” – that’s quite right – but that’s not the free offer, that’s just the plain fact of human responsibility (where Calvinists and Arminians agree).


  2. Um, in an attempt to clarify –

    the perceived problem is that God only loves the elect with a saving love, so how can you justify proclaiming the gospel to everyone (elect and non-elect).

    The suggested (and non-optimal) solution is to say that God does love everyone with a love of benevolence, and that’s why the preacher/evangelist can invite everyone to believe.

    The problem with this is not the statement that ‘God loves everyone with a love of benevolence,’ because that’s true, but that this is the reason given for inviting everyone to believe.

    The connection between God’s saving love and the sinner’s saving faith is that faith is included in the package of salvation which God’s saving love provides for that sinner. There’s no connection between God’s benevolence and any sinner’s faith. So it doesn’t make sense to tell someone that they’re welcome to believe because (ie on the grounds that) God loves them benevolently.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense for someone to think that they’re only welcome to believe on the grounds that God loves them savingly. It isn’t possible to know whether God loves you savingly unless and until you believe.

    So the grounds for believing the gospel have nothing to do with any kind of love which God might have for you, but rather the plain and certain word which he makes known to you. That is the offer of the gospel extended to everyone indiscriminately, that anyone who believes will be saved.

    Believe, not because you think God might love you, but because his word is true.

    (Even: believe the God of love, not because he might love you, but because his word is true.)


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