Robert Bolton on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel




Instructions for a Right Comforting of Afflicted Consciences, 1640,

p. 124

III.  In proposing of Christ, let the man of God [the preacher] set out as much as he can possibly the excellency of his person, the invaluable preciousness of his blood, the riches of his heavenly purchases, the gracious sweetness of his invitations, the generality and freeness of his offers (Mark 16:16; Matt 11:28; John 7:37; Rev. 22:17); the glorious privileges He brings with Him, reconciliation to God, adoption, forgiveness of sins, justification, righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, redemption, etc.

Let them know also, in how high a degree and heinously they offend from time to time, who refuse to take Jesus Christ offered most freely, and without exception of any person, every sabbath, every sermon, either in plain and direct terms, or impliedly at the least.  Oh! little do people think who sit under our ministry unwrought upon by the word, what a grievous and fearful sin they commit and carry home from the house of God, day after day, in ‘neglecting so great a salvation, in forsaking their own mercy, and in judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life;’ I mean, by choosing upon a free offer of his soul-saving blood, to cleave rather to a lust (horrible indignity!) than to Jesus Christ blessed for ever…


p. 126-127

Nay, and yet further, besides the extraordinariness of the iniquity and folly in refusing Christ freely offered, it shall most certainly be hereafter plagued with extremest tormenting furry, and most desperate gnashing of teeth.  For with what infinite horror and restless anguish will this thought rend a man’s heart in pieces, and gnaw upon his conscience, when he considers in hell, that he has lost heaven for a lust; and whereas he might at every sermon had even the Son of God to be his husband for the very taking; and have lived with Him forever in unspeakable bliss, yet neglecting so great a salvation, must now, crying out therefore continually against himself as the most raging madman that ever breathed, lie in the unquenchable flames without remedy, ease or end!  It is the highest honor that can be imagined and a mystery of greatest amazement that ever was, that the Son of God should make suit unto sinful souls to be their husband.  And yet so it is; ‘He stands at the door and knocks;’ if you will give Him entrance, He will bring Himself and heaven into your hearts.  ‘We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God did beseech you by us.  We pray you in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God.’ [2 Cor. 5:20]  We are Christ’s spokesmen, if I may so speak, to woo and win you unto Him.

What is the matter, I wonder, that you will not entertain the match?  If we stand upon honor and noble family, He that makes love and suit unto our souls “has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, ‘King of Kings, and Lord of Lords'” (Rev. 19:16).

page 288

…to say, I was humbled under the burden of sin and sense of my spiritual misery.  God in mercy offered me his Son Jesus Christ freely in the mystery of the gospel by the ministry of the word.  I thereupon thirsted infinitely for his person and precious blood, that I might thereby obtain pardon and power against my sins.  He called upon me and commanded me to drink my fill of the water of life freely.  I accepted his gracious offer, and according to his commandment cast myself upon the Lord Christ against all the contradictions of carnal reason and sophistry of Satan…

Neglect of such a gracious offer of so great salvation, must needs provoke and incense so great a God extraordinarily: for with prodigious ingratitude and folly it slings as it were God’s free grace in his face again, and sins against his mercy

Now if you should stand off (which God forbid!) as thereupon out, out of madness, you forsake your own salvation [see Jonah 2:8], so you most justly enforce that blessed Lord to swear in his wrath that you shall never be saved.

Thus you have heard how, first, He keeps open house to all such hungry and thirsty souls (Rev. 22:17); secondly, He invites (Matt 11:28); thirdly, invites with an awakening and rousing compellation (Isa. 55:1); fourthly, entreats (2 Cor. 5:20); fifthly, commands 1 John 3:23); sixthly, and threatens (Heb. 3:18).  How cruel then is that man to his own wounded conscience, who in his extreme spiritual thirst will not be drawn by this sixfold merciful cord to drink his fill of the fountain of the water of life



Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel