At the international Synod of Dort (1618–19) the Reformed churches across the Netherlands, the British Isles, and Europe confessed: “As many as are called by the gospel are sincerely called. For God has most earnestly and truly declared in His Word what is acceptable to Him, namely, that those who are called should come unto Him. He also seriously promises rest of soul and eternal life to all who come to Him and believe” (3/4.8). We believe that God is both sovereign in election and that he has ordained the free, well-meant, serious offer of the gospel to all. Paul says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:14–17; ESV). Chris and I discussed this question on a recent episode of Abounding Grace Radio.
Here is the episode.
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What a great message about how God uses the ordained means to bring the elect to faith, by changing their will so that they willingly come to Christ for salvation. This is so helpfully applied in how to approach resistant sinners by praying, that if it is according to His purpose, He would make them willing. It is also a great message for anyone struggling with assurance because we can be confident, that if we trust in Christ it is God’s will, and He is working in us, according to His purpose, when a broken sinner comes to the Lord, and He will never cast us aside or let anyone take us out of His hand. The Canons of Dort tell it so well!