John “Rabbi” Duncan on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

“Men evangelized cannot go to hell but over the bowels of God’s great mercies. They must wade to it through the blood of Christ.”


“The conversion of sinners is a matter in which the gracious God takes the deepest interest. Sinners are not concerned about conversion ordinarily. Sinners are lost, but it does not much matter to them that they are lost. They don’t fully know it. They are not altogether ignorant of it–conscience speaks in every man more or less, but they are not fully aware of it, and they are not willing to be so. The voice of conscience is very feeble in fallen man, and the voice of depravity very loud and imperious, and it silences it. But while sinners are not objects of compassion to themselves, they are objects of compassion to God. Fools, hating wisdom–Christ, the wisdom of God–love death. Not designedly, but really they love death. They love that with which death is indissolubly connected, and so they love death. Looking at death, they don’t love it, but looking at that of which death is the wages–sin–they do love sin; and they love sin so much, that they will take it with death rather than want it. In short, they dislike death much, but sin they love so well that they will take it even with death. That is the sinner’s mind, and what is God’s mind? It is hardly credible, so He swears to it:–“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: turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” Sinners are lost. Who has lost us? God has lost us. And so, though sinners are under the curse of God, they are matter of interest to Him still, considering sinners as His lost. God’s lost–not so lost as to be out of His mind and concern–He has sent His Son, and the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost. O sinner! lay it to heart. Thy conversion, perhaps, concerns thee little: thy conversion concerns thy God much. You love death, that is, you love sin so well as to take it, death and all, and keep it, death and all, and you little care about returning to God from whom you have gone away. But God cares. Mark this: if you be not converted, or turned, you die; God will pay you the wages of sin–death. But He says He has no pleasure in it; that He prefers conversion to death. Lay this to heart, sinner, that thou must be converted or damned, and that God prefers thy conversion to thy damnation. You will observe that David, in this Psalm, praying for the restoration of the joy of God’s salvation, urges this as a motive, and let believers in their penitence make use of it too:–“Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” David therefore knew that God was interested in the conversion of sinners, how otherwise would he make such a vow?”

– Pulpit and Communion Table, “Sinners shall be converted unto Thee,” a sermon on Psalm 51:13, 1969 edition, p. 134-135


“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8) . . . How are they our own? Not ours in profession, for we are forsaking them, but they are our own mercies that we have a right to – mercies freely offered to us of God in Christ Jesus, in His blessed Gospel. It is thus our own Christ that you neglect. He is in this sense your own in the free offer of God; your own Saviour, the Christ whom God is holding forth and giving in His Gospel to you. The blood on which you trample is the blood in which your own mercies lie, for God hath set forth before every Gospel-hearer Christ as a propitiation through faith in His blood…”

– Pulpit and Communion Table, p. 112f 


See also his,

Behold the Lamb of God, a sermon on John 1:29

Effectual Calling, on Shorter Catechism #31

Forsaking our own Mercy, on John 2:8

“The Sheep Follow Him, For They Know His Voice,” Pulpit and Communion Table (1969 ed.), p. 159-163.



These quotes were compiled by Rev. Sherman Isbell and Rev. Robert McCurley