John Flavel on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1627-1691

 

Works, 11:27-29

O how unreasonable is the sin of unbelief, by which the sinner rejects Christ, and all of his mercies and benefits that alone can cure his miseryHe refuses Christ who comes with heavenly light and wisdom.  He is condemned by the law to eternal wrath, and yet rejects Christ, who could render him complete and perfect righteousness.  He is wholly polluted by nature and practice, yet will have nothing of Christ who would become satisfaction to him.  He is oppressed in soul and body with the deplorable effects and miseries that sin has brought upon him.  He is so in love with his bondage, that he will neither accept Christ, nor the redemption He brings.  O what beasts has sin turned its subjects into!  Sin has stabbed the sinner to the heart.  His wounds are all deadly, and eternal death is in his face.  Christ has prepared the only remedy to cure his wounds, but he will not allow Him to apply it… Many poor wretches now in the way to hell are making every effort to cast themselves away.  Christ restrains them along the way by convictions, but they overcome them.  They accept a cure for anything but their souls.  They undo themselves by rejecting Christ in his gracious offers.  Damnation is inevitable, for there is no other way to salvation.  Neither heathen or devils have so aggravated their sins by willfully refusing such a wonderful and offered remedy.

 

 

England’s Duty Under the Present Gospel: Eleven Sermons on Revelation 3:20, in The Works of John Flavel, vol. 4,

Read the whole of Sermon 1, pp. 17-30, entitled, “Every Offer of Christ to the Souls of Sinners is Recorded and Witnessed for the Day of Reckoning”

 

From Sermon 4, entitled, “That Great and Admirable is the Patience of Christ, in Waiting Upon Trifling and Obstinate Sinners”, pp. 69.  This and the following quote were compiled by Rev. Sherman Isbell.

The exercise of His patience is a standing testimony of his reconcilable and merciful nature towards sinful man.  This He showed forth in his patience toward Paul, a great example of his merciful nature, for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him, I Tim. 1:16.  The long-suffering of God is a special part of his manifestative glory; and therefore when Moses desired a sight of his glory, Exod. 34:6, he proclaims his name, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”  He would have poor sinners look towards him as an atoneable Deity, a God willing to be reconciled, a God that retains not his anger for ever; but if poor sinners will take hold of his strength, and make peace with him, they may have peace, Isa. 27:4.  This long-suffering is an attribute very expressive of the Divine nature; He is willing sinners should know, whatever their provocations have been, there is room for pardon and peace, if they will yet come in to accept the terms.  This patience is a diadem belonging to the imperial crown, of heaven; the Lord glories in it, as what is peculiar to Himself, Hos. 11:9.  “I will not execute the fierceness of my anger; for I am God and not man.”  Had I been as man, the holiest, meekest, and most mortified man upon earth, I had consumed them long ago; but I am God and not man, my patience is above all created patience; no husband can bear with his wife, no parent with his child, as God has borne with you.  That is one reason of Christ’s waiting upon trifling sinners, to give proof of his gracious, merciful, and reconcilable nature towards the worst of sinners.

Also read Sermon 6, pp. 113-142, entitled, “Jesus Christ an Earnest Suitor for Union and Communion with the Souls of Sinners”.  This piece by Flavel was instrumental in the conversion of Archibald Alexander, as related by him in “Christ Standing and Knocking at the Door,” in Practical Truths, pp. 75-78.  Here is an excerpt from p. 117:  

His sorrows and mourning upon the account of the obstinacy and unbelief of sinners, speaks the vehemency of his desire after union with them; it is said, Mark 3:5, “When he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts,” etc. You see from hence, that a hard heart is a grief to Jesus Christ.  O how tenderly did Christ resent it, when Jerusalem rejected Him!  It is said, Luke 19:41, “That when Jesus came nigh to the city, he wept over it.”  The Redeemer’s tears wept over obstinate Jerusalem, spake the zeal and fervency of his affection to their salvation; how loth Christ is to give up sinners.  What a mournful voice is that in John 5:40, “And you will not come unto me, that you might have life.”  How fain would I give you life? but you would rather die than come unto me for it.  What can Christ do more to express his willingness?  All the sorrows that ever touched the heart of Christ from men, were upon this account, that they would not yield to his calls and invitations.

 

 

Christ Knocking at the Door of Sinners’ Hearts; or, A Solemn Entreaty to Receive the Saviour and His Gospel in This the Day of Mercy (New York: American Tract Society, 1850), p. 97.  This quote was compiled by Tony Byrne.

“If you look into 1 Peter 3:19-20, you there find that Christ “went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” The meaning of which is, that in the days before the flood, Christ by his Spirit strove [Gen. 6:3] with the disobedient and rebellious sinners in the ministry of Noah, who then were living men and women as we are, but now are “spirits in prison,” that is, damned souls in hell, for their disobedience…”

 

 

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The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel