The intent of this article is to submit one cohesive argument comprised of five smaller successive argument summaries in support of the free offer of the Gospel.
May Our Lord Jesus Christ bless the study of His workman.
1. The Great Commission
Matthew 28:19-20 contains what we have come to know as the Great Commission. The Great Commission is chiefly concerned with the free offer of the Gospel.
Prior to the ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven, the apostles were given their Great Commission. It should be plain to see what is great about this commission: this was more emphatic than instruction and more rewarding than a command.
I would call your attention as to how the Great Commission is given by way of a direct command to make disciples followed by a series of indirect commands, to go and baptize and to teach.
The offer of the Gospel must be free because of we are directly commanded to make disciples of “all nations.”
2. Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
In Luke 10:1-16 we see Our Lord Jesus Christ appoint seventy-two disciples to go into the cities two by two. They are to be sent forth as labourers into His harvest. Yet they are also to be sent forth as lambs among wolves.
Are the wolves the harvest? May it never be! This is our first clue as to why the offer of the Gospel must be free. However, it is reinforced and made plain and declared openly to use in Luke 10:6.
You will note the use of the word ‘IF’ in the beginning of this sixth verse in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. These seventy-two disciples are looking for the sons of peace. Regardless of whether or not a son of peace is found, observe that their instructions are nearly identical in either case.
For example, we can see in Luke 10:6 that the seventy-two are to first say ‘Peace be to this house’ into whatsoever house they enter. ‘Whatsoever house they enter’, you say, ‘how many types of houses are there’? For our purposes there are at least two: there is the house where the ‘son of peace be’ and there is the house where the ‘son of peace be’ not.
Another example of this would be in Luke 10:9. In this verse the seventy-two are to commanded declare ‘The kingdom of God is come night unto you’. This is in the instance where the seventy-two come and are received, independent of whether the son of peace be.
We see it repeated for us here in Luke 10:11 in the instance where the seventy-two come and are not received. The seventy-two are again commanded to declare ‘..the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you’.
There is no guarantee that a son of peace will be there in the house. I would submit to you that these sons of peace are elsewhere known as the elect, and more than known they are foreknown, and more than foreknown they are predestinated, but that is a different subject for a different time.
3. Unto The Ends of the World
Romans 10:13-21 contains what is perhaps the most beautiful argument for the free offer of the Gospel that my eyes have ever seen.
The summary for this argument is perhaps most succinctly offered in verses 14-15. It is laid out for us here in this verse by the Apostle Paul and under inspiration of the Holy Spirit in a very logical way. Notice how, despite the linear presentation of the argument, it is not cold. This is a most heart felt appeal filled with brotherly love for us in Christ by the Apostle Paul.
Working his way forwards from the premise in in the thirteenth verse that ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (which ought not to be interpreted in such a way that promotes easy believism or does not take into account Matthew 7:21-23 in accordance with 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 and Acts 17:11), we see plainly the case being made by the Apostle Paul.
‘How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?’
How can anyone call One by a name they do not know? Or how can they call upon One they have not seen? Or how can they see One they have not, to borrow from the previous argument, ‘come nigh unto’?
‘And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?’
This reminds me very much of Genesis 32:29 and Judges 13:17-18, but even then, were Jacob and Manoah not presented with and presently engaged with another Person? So, likewise, we must present others with the Gospel and offer it freely, that they may call upon the name of the LORD.
‘And how shall they hear without a preacher?’
‘And how shall they preach, except they be sent?’
We can see clearly in these last two statements in Romans 10:14 the whole of the arguments presented so far in this assignment what is affirmed and in the fifteenth and sixteenth verses.
Notice how Romans 10:15 describes the feet of those who ‘preach the gospel of peace’. For some, they bring ‘glad tidings of good things’. Is the gospel truly good news? Is the gospel truly ‘glad tidings of good things’? Yes, and Amen, to those who elect sons of peace who believe.
In Romans 10:16, however, it is said plainly of all those who were freely offered the gospel, not all of them obeyed. These are the houses where the ‘sons of peace be’ not.
4. My Word Shall Not Return Void
From Isaiah 55:10-11, we know that God’s Word shall not return void. We also know that Our Lord Jesus Christ said that ‘he who despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me’ from one of our earlier argument summaries in Luke 10:16.
The free offer of the gospel is necessary because it fulfills prophecy, both in Isaiah 55:10-11 and in others such as Luke 12:52 and Matthew 10:34-36 as well. For the elect sons of peace, it may be said, ‘today is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2; Psalm 95:7-8) and of the gospel, to us being saved, it is the power of God. For everyone else, the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18).
5. Secret Things
Deuteronomy 29:29 declares:
‘The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.’
It is important to understand that God does not need us to save sinners and win souls. Truly, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Matthew 3:9). But He has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 10:1-16) and is pleased to have us participate.
‘The secret things which belong unto the Lord our God’
Just as the seventy-two were told to go even to the cities which would not receive them, though they knew not which cities would not receive them in advance – Likewise, we may not know whom the elect sons of peace who will believe are before the gospel is freely offered.
‘But those things which are revealed unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law’
This would certainly have a spiritual application to the Christian in the context of furthering the gospel, preaching evangelistically and persuasively and fulfilling the Great Commission.
This is why we are to freely offer the gospel.