John Colquhoun on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel



Saving Faith, 1824, reprint 2008,  Buy  ed. Don Kistler, The Northampton Press.  See the whole of chapter 4, “The Warrant for Believing or Trusting in Christ”, p. 78-123

p. 80

“Section 1

The Implicit and Indirect Warrant to Believe in Christ for Salvation that is Afforded by the Gospel to Sinners of Mankind in Common

1. The blessed gospel, in which peace on earth and good will toward men are revealed, is declared to be good tidings of great joy to all people (Luke 2:10,14)… All this flows from his goodwill toward men, or as an apostle expresses it, from the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man (Titus 3:4).  God, as a God of love, grace, and mercy, loves men in general as the work of his own hands with a love of benevolence or good will Hence are these gracious words: “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Eze. 33:11).  The gospel, then, in which peace and good will toward men are declared, is good tidings of great joy to all peopleIt is to be preached to every creature (Mk. 16:15), to every descendant of Adam without exception, as good tidings to everyone, in order that it may be warrantable and lawful for every sinner of mankind to believe it to be good tidings to him in particular, or to trust that Christ has made peace for him, and that God in Christ has good will toward him.”


p. 86

The same gracious offer is, in a very remarkable manner, expressed in these words: “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  God so loved the fallen, the sinful, the lost world that He gave his only begotten Son, to fulfill a perfect righteousness, and so to merit everlasting salvation; and He still gives Him, with his righteousness and salvation, in the blessed gospel to the same lost world in order to render it warrantable for sinners of mankind in common to believe in Him.” 



A Treatise on the Law and Gospel

p. 117-9

3.  The gospel, in its proper acceptation, contains likewise God’s gracious offers of Christ, in his person, righteousness, fullness, offices, and relations, and of Himself in Christ, to sinners of mankind in common. (Isa. 42:6,7; Isa. 55:4; John 3:16; John 6:32)

It comprehends also, his offer of all his promises in and with Christ, to sinners indefinitely. (2 Cor. 1:20; Acts 2:39; Heb. 4:1

Hence we commonly style these offers gospel offers; because they form a main and special part of the gospel.  ‘This is the record,’ says the apostle John, ‘that God has given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son.’ (1 John 5:11)  That God has given to us in offer, eternal life in and with his Son, is the record which He has given of his Son.  It is the sum, or at least a leading part, of the testimony of God concerning his Son.  

As the gospel, then, cannot be published faithfully, unless the unlimited offer be declared to all who hear it; so it cannot be cordially believed, except the gracious offer, and all that is offered, be accepted, and received as a gift of infinitely free grace.  Whilst all duties, are commanded in the law, all privileges and blessings, are offered in the gospel, and while the former, are required of all, the latter, are presented to all.  Christ, and all the blessings of his great salvation are, in the gospel, offered freely, fully, presently, and particularly, and that to sinners of mankind in common; and as they are offered, so, must they be received by sinners.  The ministers of the gospel, are authorized by the Lord Jesus, to ‘preach the gospel to every creature;’ (Mark 16:15) that is, to publish the full and free author of Himself, and of his righteousness and salvation, to every rational creature, every son and daughter of Adam, to whom they may have access to speak.  And it is, indeed, good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, That ‘to us’ sinners of the human race, ‘this Child is born, this Son is given.’ (Isa. 9:6)

The receiving of Christ by faith, supposes a previous offering or giving of Him, to hearers of the gospel, in order to afford them a warrant to receive Him.  As the raining of the manna, about the camp of Israel in the wilderness is called a giving of it, prior to their eating of it; so the gospel offer of Christ, is styled a giving of Him, previous to a sinner’s reception of Him by faith. (John 6:31,32)

Indeed, it is as necessary a part of the glorious plan of salvation by Jesus Christ, that He be given in offer before believing, as, that He be given in possession in and after believing.

4.  Lastly, the gospel strictly taken, includes God’s infinitely gracious and tender invitations, to sinners of mankind in common, to accept his offers of a Savior, and of salvation by Him.  In the gospel, He graciously calls, and with inexpressible earnestness entreats men to come as sinners, and receive all that He has offered to them, on the warrant of his authentic offer of it.  He earnestly invites and urges them to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, with his righteousness and salvation, is graciously offered to them, and so to trust in Him for all their salvation. (Prov. 8:4; 9:4,5; Isa. 55:1-3; Matt 11:28-30; Rev. 3:17,18,20; 22:17)

Those invitations, when considered as calls, to perform the duties of believing and repenting, belong to the law; but when viewed as expressions of the readiness, or willingness of God, to bestow salvation on sinners, and, as affording them an additional warrant to trust in the compassionate Savior for it, they form a part of the gospel.  No man believes the gospel cordially, until, convinced of his sinfulness and misery, he believe with application to himself in particular.  For the gracious invitations of the gospel, equally as the direct offers of it, are addressed to every sinner of mankind, who hears the joyful sound of it.




A Treatise on Spiritual Comfort, p. 401-2

The God of all grace and consolation, now offers Jesus Christ, with his righteousness and salvation, to you a lost sinner of mankind.  He offers Him wholly and freely, presently and particularly.  Jesus the faithful and true witness, says, ‘God so loved the world, the He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ [John 3:16]  ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.’ [John 6:32]  ‘Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.’ [John 6:37]  And the apostle John, ‘This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son.’ [1 John 5:11]  The compassionate Savior, with infinite earnestness and tenderness, invites and entreats all, even the chief of sinners, to accept the gracious offer.  He now says to you, ‘Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine,’ [Isa. 55:1the wine of spiritual consolation, ‘which I have mingled: forsake the foolish and live.’ [Prov. 9:2,5]  ‘Come, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.’ [Isa. 55:1,2]  ‘Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ [Rev. 22:17]  Sinner, ‘now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.’ [2 Cor. 6:2]  O comply now with the gracious, the endearing invitation; and looking to Jesus for the Spirit of faith, comply, because it is your first, your principle duty, without which, no other duty can be so performed as to please God.  I beseech you, to accept the authentic offer of a gracious Savior, and of a free salvation.  I earnestly entreat you, by all the transcendent glory, and incomparable excellence of the only begotten of the Father, by all his saving offices and endearing relations, by all his service and suffering for your redemption, by all his love and tears and blood, by all the exquisite torments of his body, and all the doleful anguish of his soul, by his glorious triumphs and unbounded fullness, by his mercies and judgments, by all the ordinances of his grace and all the necessities of your soul… to believe with application to yourself, the record of God concerning his Son.



A Collection of Promises of the Gospel

The Introduction, page 1

A Divine Promise, is a declaration of the good will of God, in which, He signifies what good things He will freely bestow, or, it is a declaration of his will concerning good to be received, and evil to be removed…  A promise of the gospel is, a gracious declaration of the good will of God, towards sinners of mankind, and an engagement, to bestow some spiritual or temporal good upon them, or to remove some spiritual or temporal evil from them; or, it is an affirmation of his readiness, freely to bestow his favors, upon sinners who believe in his dear Son.

They are also the promises of Christ.  When He was about to leave his disciples, and go out of the world, He gave them manifold promises.  He invites sinners to Himself, by the encouragement of a gracious promise.  ‘Come unto Me,’ says He, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt 11:28)  They are the promises of the Holy Spirit likewise.  What are the promises of scripture, but the voice of the blessed Spirit, whose voice we are commanded to hear?


page 7

Those promises are not only absolute, but indefinite.  In and with Christ Himself, they are left or directed, in the gospel-offer, to sinners of mankind indefinitely.  They are presented or directed in offer, to the hearers of the gospel indiscriminately, as a ground of faith to all of them. (Prov. 1:22,23)  And seeing, they are addressed to sinners in common, or in general, they exclude no particular sinner.  No man therefore who hears the gospel, can truly say, That he is not intended in them.  ‘The promise is unto you and to your children;’ (Acts 2:39) as if the Apostle had said, ‘The promise is directed so to you, and to your children, that everyone of you, has an ample warrant for an immediate application of it, and reliance on it, as a promise to him in particular.’

page 22

God’s love, mercy, and grace, are the reasons why he has made promises; but his justice, faithfulness, power, and glory, are the reasons why He performs them.  The Lord Jesus purchased, with a price of infinite value, the blessings promised; but He did not purchase the promises themselves, or the love from which they flow.  They all spring from the free, and unmerited love, mercy, and grace of God, to sinners of the human race.  He had no motive by free, self-moving, love and mercy, to induce Him to make the promises.  Moses, in assigning reasons reasons of the promises, which Jehovah had made to the Israelitish church, said, ‘The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; but because the Lord loved you.’  [Deut. 7:7]  His love to his people, moved Him to make promises to them; and this love was infinitely free.  He set his love upon them, because He loved them.  There is no reason of unmerited, unsolicited love, but love itself.  ‘For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart,’ says David, ‘hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.’ (2 Sam. 7:21)  According to thine own heart, that is, out of free and self-excited love, thou hast given me thy promises, and for thy word’s sake, thou has performed it.




Sermons Chiefly on Doctrinal Subjects, 1836 edition, Sermon 14, “Salvation From Sin,” p. 207.  This quote was compiled by Andrew Myers.

The Lord Jesus Christ is constituted the great ordinance of Heaven for the salvation of lost sinners of mankind; and as sustaining this gracious character, God the Father, with the infinite approbation of the Holy Spirit, makes a free grant or offer of him as a Saviour to you, and to every lost sinner who reads or hears the gospel.  ‘I have given thee, saith Jehovah, for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles; that thou mightest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.’ ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ [John 3:16] Come, then, men and brethren, and accept of him as the Father’s unspeakable gift to you.  Pray frequently and fervently for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; and for the spirit of faith, to enable you to receive the Divine testimony concerning Him, and to trust cordially in Him for the whole of his salvation; for holiness as well as happiness, for grace as well as glory.  Thus shall you receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of your salvation.  ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and the chief of sinners.’ [1 Tim. 1:15]



Repentance, Banner of Truth reprint, 1965, p. 113

But is it true that the offers of the Gospel, and the commandment to believe in Jesus Christ, are addressed to none but true penitents? Far from it. Christ with his righteousness and salvation is in the Gospel offered to sinners of mankind in common – to sinners as such; and sinners as such are invited and commanded to believe on His name, ‘Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’ ‘whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.’




Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel