The Will of God and the Gospel Offer
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
These passages from classical Reformed theologians and preachers speak of God’s desire for or delight in the salvation of those who hear the gospel offer, inasmuch as his revealed will is an expression of his goodness and kindness toward the hearers of the gospel.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843):
Christ is willing that all sinners should come to him
(“Ye Will Not Come To Me,” a sermon on John 5:40, in Additional Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, pp. 298-99)
Sinners are lost, not because Christ is unwilling to save all. The whole Bible shows that Christ is quite willing and anxious that all sinners should come to him. The city of refuge in the Old Testament was a type of Christ; and you remember that its gates were open by night and by day. The arms of Christ were nailed wide open, when he hung upon the cross; and this was a figure of his wide willingness to save all, as he said: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” But though his arms were firmly nailed, they are more firmly nailed wide open now, by his love and compassion for perishing sinners, than ever they were nailed to the tree.
There is no unwillingness in the heart of Jesus Christ. When people are willing and anxious about something, they do everything that lies in their power to bring it to pass. So did Jesus Christ: “What could have been done more for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” But if they are very anxious, they will attempt it again and again. So did Jesus Christ: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered your children as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” But if they are still more anxious, they will be grieved if they are disappointed. So was Jesus Christ: “When he came near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” But if they are very anxious, they will suffer pain rather than lose their object. So did Jesus Christ: The good Shepherd gave his life for the sheep. Ah! dear brethren, if you perish, it is not because Jesus wishes you to perish.
A word to anxious souls. How strange it is that anxious souls do most of all doubt the willingness of Christ to be their Saviour! These should least of all doubt him. If he is a willing Saviour to any, O surely he is a willing Saviour to a weary soul! Remember the blind beggar of Jericho. He was in your case — blind and helpless — and he cried: “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy upon me.” And when. the crowd bade him hold his peace, he cried so much the more. Was Jesus unwilling to be that beggar’s Saviour? He stood still, and commanded him to be brought, and said: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” He is the same willing Saviour still. Cry after him; and, though the world may bid you hold your peace, cry after him just so much the more.
A word to careless souls. You say Christ may be a willing Saviour to others, but surely not to you. O yes! he is quite willing for you too. See him sitting by the well of Samaria, convincing one poor sinful woman of her sins, and leading her to himself. He is the same Saviour toward you this day. If you do perish, it is not because Christ is willing. He wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He pleads with you, and says: “Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?”