Offers and Invitations.

We preach to sinners; we have no one else to preach to. We are to describe the condition of all men by nature, responsible under God’s holy law; we are to show its claims, and that “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight;” we are solemnly to warn of the certain consequences of living and dying in sins. We are to preach the gospel with such ability as God gives us, telling of the riches of grace and mercy in Christ, and then we are to leave all with Him who has said of His Word, “It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).

A true ministry must be searching and discriminating. Natural conviction is not conversion; natural faith is not that faith which is “the gift of God.” Nowhere in Scripture does God speak of His work as an offer He makes, nor have we any warrant for any man offering to his fellow that which God alone has the right and the power to bestow. How many virtually tell sinners they can do the work of the Holy Ghost. This is the plain English of much modern divinity. All the feelings and gracious influences which, in the Word of God, are attributed to or emanate from the Holy Ghost, man is addressed as capable of producing; and after all the infinitely costly expenditure of the doing and dying of Christ, it rests with the dead sinner to accept, receive, believe, and so be saved. The invitations of the gospel are to character; its blessings are purely spiritual, and therefore need spiritual eyes to see them, spiritual ears to hear them, spiritual hands to embrace them, and spiritual hearts to feel and enjoy them. To throw down a number of spiritual invitations for anybody and everybody to pick up is quite foreign to the spirit of the gospel, which is for the poor in spirit, the needy, and those described in Isaiah 61:1-3. Is there one of God’s sent servants who preaches without feeling an earnest yearning for the salvation of poor sinners? Having experienced personally that the whole work is of the Lord, their wrestling is with Him that He would produce that wondrous life that is alone His gift.

In conclusion on this point, let us ask, is there one living child of God that would affirm, “Yes, I heard the minister say, ‘Come to Christ—come now, and you will be saved;’ and so I came and was saved. It was my accepting the invitation that was the cause of my salvation”? Would not a child of God turn away from this, and sing with gratitude of heart:

“Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book;
‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.”


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