Henry Balnaves on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

 1512? – 1570

Balnaves was a Scottish reformer alongside John Knox



The Confession of Faith: Containing how the Troubled Man Should Seek Refuge at his God, Thereto led by Faith: with the Declaration of the Article of Justification at Length.  The Order of Good Works, which are the Fruits of Faith: And how the Faithful and Justified Man Should Walk and Live in the Perfect and True Christian Religion, According to his Vocation.

Compiled by Mr. Henry Balnaves of Halhill, and one of the Lord’s of Session, and Council of Scotland, being as prisoner within the old palace of Rouen: in the year of our Lord, 1548, Direct to his faithful brethren, being in like trouble or more.  And to all true professors and favorers of the sincere word of God.  

Printed at Edinburgh, 1584, and reprinted in The Works of John Knox, Vol. 3.  This work of Balnaves’ was also probably the same as his Treatise on Justification by Faith, per David Laing.

The Epistle Dedicatory, p. 435-6

…that you and yours, thus seeking the kingdom of God and righteousness thereof, then all other things may be cast unto you.  In case you or they fail in so doing, it may be a testimony against you or them, that God has offered Himself, even to be found by you, and in your ground, and yet you have not rightly regarded Him.  


The Second Chapter, p. 441

Therefore, whatever you desire which is good, seek the same at the Son; for the Father has given all things in his power.  For that cause Christ commanded us all to come unto Him, and seeing He has all things given to Him, and also commands us all to come to Him, great fools we are which seek any other way, of the which we are uncertain, either in heaven or in earth.

[That Christ’s command here is not merely and only an obligation laid on the creature as his duty, but is an expression of Christ’s will, and is essentially equivalent to the Call and Offer of the Gospel is clear in John Knox’s summary of this chapter of Balnaves’, as quoted below]


Fourth Chapter, part 3, p. 444

For, after he [Adam] had transgressed the law and commandment of God, he fled from Him, whom God followed, moved of love toward his handiwork, and called him again; in the which He did show his goodness



John Knox’s Summary of Balnaves’ Confession 

David Laing writes as editor of The Works of John Knox, Vol. 3, p. 4:

With this work [of Balnaves’] Knox was so much pleased, that having revised it carefully, divided it into chapters, and added a brief Summary of the book, it was conveyed with the Author’s permission to Scotland, probably for publication, with an Epistle by Knox…”  

A Brief Summary of the Work by Balnaves on Justification, by John Knox

p. 13

The Summary of the Second Chapter

By Faith have we knowledge of God, whom we should seek in his Scriptures, and receive Him as He is offered to us thereinto: that is, [as] a Defender, Protector, Refuge, and Father, inquiring no further speculation of Him.  For, Philip desiring to see the Father, answered Christ, “Who has seen me, has seen the Father.”  Meaning that the love, goodness, and mercy, which God the Father bears unto mankind, He [Christ] had expressed in doctrine and works; and also should show a most singular token of love, giving his own life for his enemies And therefore would all men come to Him, to whom the Father has given all power.

[This demonstrates that the command of Christ for all to come to Him was understood in the Scottish Reformation as presupposing and essentially synonymous with an offer of the gospel, which was an expression of God’s love, goodness, and mercy to mankind.]



Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1500’s – Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel