The Gospel: Offer or Command?

I think we are actually talking about salvation here.  I found the link to this article at Monergism.com.  This is a question I have had in my study of Reformed Theology so I was interested in what had to say on the issue.  Click this link to read it yourself – Reformation Theology: The Gospel: Offer or Command?

One quote the author made caught my attention.  It is:  “But as we know, God gives us commands all the time that we are unable to carry out (Love God will all our hearts, obey the 10 commandments, believe in Jesus >John 6:65). The purpose of the Divine legislation is to reveal our sin and inability(Romans 3:19, 20), not our ability.”  Does God really give us commands that we cannot carry out?  Doesn’t this make God incredibly unjust.   Or, does God ordain the ends as well as the means? 

I think there are actually two different things at work here that are confused by the author of this article….unless I am misreading his post.  They are salvation and obedience of the believer.  When applied to salvation the question of offer or command (irresistible grace) is valid but when applied to obedience it is not. The examples cited by the author are of obedience and are not consistent with a discussion of salvation in the context of offer or command. 

Obedience is almost always left up to the choices of the believer.  By that I mean that God does not force His grace on believers.  Salvation is another matter all together.  The Bible tells us that God chose some people (the Elect) before the foundation of the world.  God is sovereign over his creation.  He can choose anyone He wants to for any reason He wants to (read my post on Unconditional Election).  In the past I have believed that salvation was offered but now I am not sure that is the case. 

So what is the answer?  Well, I am still working on that.

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4 Responses to The Gospel: Offer or Command?

  1. PB and J says:

    i think you make some good pts, but i think you treat their pt unfairly. in romans, paul does seem to make it clear that God gave commands so that all may be judged before God. in order that he might have mercy on all through Christ.

    peter

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  2. Tom says:

    Thanks for your comment PB And J,

    What exactly do you mean by “have mercy on all”. I assume you mean saving mercy. If God has saving mercy on all then all would be saved and we know that all are not saved. Please clarify a little for me so I may respond more appropriately.

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  3. rincrast says:

    Brother Tom:

    I think that this article sums up the issue of the debate on the “well meant offer” of the Gospel pretty well. God desires all men to be saved in the same way that He desire all men not to murder or commit adultery. He gives the command to repent far and wide, and because it is a moral command of God, He desires all to be in compliance with it.

    In any case, I hope you find it useful.

    SDG,
    dbh

    PS — for the record, I agree with the post over at the Reformation Theology blog. 🙂 Further, my sentiments are the same as those of Gene Bridges who commented as follows:

    Thank you! That’s always how I respond. First, I ask for the text that show it is an offer and an invitation alone. Scripture says it is an offer and an invitation the same way that a command is an offer and an invitation. What makes it a sincere offer is the same sincerity that lies behind God’s commands. Those who do not respond do so because of their own love of evil, the same reason they are unable to do everything that God commands. If a man says, the offer is not sincere, then he must also say God’s command we obey Him is not sincere because we cannot obey.

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  4. Darryl Flood says:

    The Gospel is not an offer in Calvinism, it’s a broken promise to any poor reprobate who fulfills its conditions and totally meaningless warnings of things that cannot possibly happen to an elect person. Compared to being chosen by God to be saved before birth, nothing- not the death of Christ, adherence to the Gospel, belief in the resurrection- matters at all.

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