Alexander Maclaren on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel


From A Homiletic Encyclopedia, edited by R.A. Bertram, p. 421-422

The Gospel is preached equally to every man.  The same message comes to us all, offering us the same terms.  Christ stands before each of us in the same attitude.  And what is the consequence?  A parting of the whole mass of us, some on one side, and some on the other.  As when you take a magnet, and hold it to an indiscriminate heap of metal filings, it will gather out all the iron, and leave behind all the rest!  “I, if I be lifted up,” said He, “will draw all men unto Me.”  The attractive power will go out to the whole race of His brethren; but from some there will be no response.  In some hearts there will be no yielding to the attraction.  Some will remain rooted, obstinate, steadfast in their place; and to some the lightest word will be mighty enough to stir all the slumbering pulses of their sin-ridden hearts, and to bring them broken, penitent for mercy to His feet.  To the one He is “a savour of life unto life, and to the other a savour of death unto death.”  The broadest doctrine of the universal adaptation, and the universal intention, too, of the Gospel, as the “power of God unto salvation,” contains hidden in its depths this undeniable fact, that, be the cause what it may (and as I believe, the cause lies with us, and is our fault), this separating, judging effect follows from all faithful preaching of Christ’s words.  He came to judge the world, “that they which see not (as He Himself said) might see, and they which see might be made blind.”  And on the cross that process went on in two men, alike in necessity, alike in criminality, alike in this, that Death’s icy finger was just being laid upon their hearts, to stop all the flow of its wild blood and passion, but different in this, that the one of them turned himself, by God’s grace, and laid hold of the Gospel that was offered to him, and the other turned himself away, and derided, and died.”

“It is not merely as a subtle and diffused influence that the Gospel establishes a permanent effect upon us.  It is presented to each of us here individually, in the definite form of an actual offer of salvation for each, and of an actual demand of trust from each.



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The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel