John Collinges on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1623-1691

 

Collinges was one of the men who finished Matthew Poole’s commentary on the Bible.  Poole died after completing Isa. 58.

 

 

Several Discourses Concerning the Actual Providence of God, (London: Printed by Thomas Parkhurst, 1678), p. 81-82

Oh how patient God is with the drunkard, with the liar, the profane swearer, and with all sorts of sinners, who use their bodies to the profaning, abusing, and blaspheming of His holy Name, or in doing of actions in the violation and contempt of His holy and righteous law.  Why do they go on despising the riches of His goodness, and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads them to repentance [Rom. 2:4]?  But after the hardness and impenitence of their hearts, they treasure to themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each according to their deeds (Rom. 2:3-5).  Yea, and the Lord is not slack, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance [2 Pet. 3:9]. 

 

 

Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible

“…in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Tim. 2:4

 

The apostle produces a clear, convincing reason, that the duty of charity in praying for all men is pleasing to God, from his love extended to all, in his willing their salvation, and their knowledge and belief of the gospel, which is the only way of salvation. From hence our Savior’s commission and command to the apostles was universal: Go and teach all nations, Matthew 28:19; Preach the gospel to every creature, that is, to every man, Mark 16:15; He excludes no people, no person.  And accordingly the apostles discharged their office to their utmost capacity, Colossians 1:24.  But a question arises, how it can be said that God would have all men saved, when that the most of men perish?  For the resolving this difficulty, we must observe, that in the style of Scripture the will of God sometimes signifies his eternal counsel and decree; that things should be done either by his immediate efficiency, or by the intervention of means: or, secondly, His commands and invitations to men to do such things as are pleasing to him.  The will of God in the first sense always infallibly obtains its effect, Psalms 115:3; thus he declares: My counsel shall stand, I will do all my pleasure, Isaiah 46:10; for otherwise there must be a change of God’s will and counsel, or a defect of power, both which assertions are impious blasphemy.  But those things which he commands and are pleasing to him, are often not performed without any reflection upon him, either as mutable or impotent.  Thus he declares, that He wills things that are pleasing to him; as, I will not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn and live, Ezekiel 33:11; and sometimes that He will not those things that are displeasing to him, as contrary to holiness, though he did not decree the hindering of them: thus he complains in Isaiah 55:12: Ye did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.  This distinction of the Divine will being clearly set down in Scripture, answers the objection; for when it is said in the text, that God will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and in the same sense by St. Peter, that God will have none perish, but come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9; we must understand it, not with respect to his decretive will, but his complacential will, that is, the repentance and life of a sinner is very pleasing to his holiness and mercy.  And this love of God to men has been declared in opening the way of salvation to them by the Mediator, and by all the instructions, invitations, commands, and promises of the gospel, assuring them that whoever comes to Christ upon the terms of the gospel shall in no wise be cast off; that no repenting believer shall be excluded from saving mercy.

 

 

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1 Tim. 2:5

The apostle proves the universal love of God to men by two reasons, the unity of God, and the unity of the Mediator: though there are divers societies and vast numbers of men, yet there is but one God, the Creator and Preserver of all.  If there were many gods in nature, it were conceivable that the God of Christians were not the God of other men, and consequently that His good will were confined to his own portion, leaving the rest to their several deities; but since there is but one true God of the world, who has revealed himself in the gospel, it necessarily follows that He is the God of all men in the relation of Creator and Preserver.  And from hence he concludes:God will have all men to be saved.  He argues in the same manner that salvation by faith in Christ belongs to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, Romans 3:29,30.  The apostle adds, for the clearest assurance of his good will of God to save men, that there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  When the sin of man had provoked Divine justice, and the guilt could not be expiated without satisfaction, God appointed his Son incarnate to mediate between his offended Majesty and his rebellious subjects.  And it is observable, the parallel between the unity of God and the unity of the Mediator; as there is one God of all nations, so there is one Mediator of all.  The strength of the apostle’s argument from the unity of the Mediator is this: If there were many mediators, according to the numbers of nations in the world, there might be a suspicion whether they were so worthy and so prevalent as to obtain the grace of God, every one for those in whose behalf they did mediate.  But since there is but one, and that he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, it is evident that all men have the same Mediator, and that every one may be assured that God is willing he should be saved, and, for that blessed end, should by faith and repentance accept the covenant of grace. The apostle for the stronger confirmation specifies the Mediator,

 

 

“Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

1 Tim. 2:6

 

Αντιλυτρον, the word here translated ransom, is very emphatical; it signifies the exchanging of condition with another, the laying down of one’s life to save another’s.  This our Savior has done for us.  The Scripture discovers to us, that by “nature we are the children of wrath,” and guilty of many rebellious sins, and devoted to eternal death: being in this deplorable state, the Son of God, moved by his Divine love, undertook our restoring to the favor of God; and voluntarily endured the punishment due to our sins, and gave his most precious blood and life the price of our redemption, Mt 20:28.  If it be objected: How is it consistent with Christ “giving himself a ransom for all,” that so many perish in their sins?  The answer is clear: We must distinguish between the sufficiency of his ransom and the efficacy of it; He paid a ransom worthy to obtain the salvation of all men, and has done whatever was requisite to reconcile God, and make men capable of salvation; but only those who by a lively faith depend upon Him, and obey Him, are actual partakers of salvation: that is, no person but may be saved in believing; and if men perish, it is not from a defect of righteousness in the Mediator, but from the love of their lusts, and their obstinate rejecting their own mercies.  And it is unjust that the glory of his Divine compassion and love should be obscured or lessened for their ungrateful neglect of it.

 

 

 

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Rev. 3:20

There is a double interpretation of this text, each of them claiming under very valuable interpreters; some making it a declaration of Christ’s readiness to come in to souls, and to give them a spiritual fellowship and communion with himself; others interpreting it of Christ’s readiness to come to the last judgment, and to take his saints into an eternal joyful fellowship and communion with himself: hence there is a different interpretation of every sentence in the text.

I stand at the door; either, in my gospel dispensations, I stand at the door of sinners’ hearts; or, I am ready to come to judge the world.

And knock, by the inward monitions and impressions of my Spirit, or my ministers more externally; or, I am about to knock, that is, I am ready to have the last trump sounded.

If any man hear my voice, and open the door; that is, if any man will hearken to the counsels and exhortations of my ministers, and to the monitions of my Spirit, and not resist my Holy Spirit; or, if any man hath heard my voice, and opened his heart to me.

 

 

 

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The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel