How The Free Offer Of The Gospel Helps Us Understand The Warning Passages

So, we are to indiscriminately proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all without distinction. It is a genuine offer of the Gospel. We know that none hearing the Gospel have the ability in themselves to believe unless God regenerates them, but that doesn’t impact the reality of the genuineness of the Gospel offer. It really is true that whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. We aren’t trying to determine who is elect and who isn’t when we proclaim the Gospel because that is impossible. God uses the external call to accomplish the effectual call of His people. Our task is not to try to figure out which are which ahead of time.

How might these principles help us as we consider the so-called “warning passages” of Scripture (e.g. Hebrews 6:4–8, 10:26–31)?

A lot of people think that if the warning passages are genuine warnings, then we have to deny the Reformed doctrine of perseverance of the saints. But just as the genuine offer of the gospel does not require denying total depravity, genuine warnings do not require denying perseverance. When we proclaim the genuine offer of the Gospel or proclaim the genuine warnings of Scripture, we’re not doing so on the basis of any assumed ability to read the hearts of other people and determine who is and isn’t elect. The proclamation of the Gospel is the means by which God calls His elect, and warnings and threats are one of the means by which He preserves His elect (See Canons of Dordt, Fifth Main Point of Doctrine, Art. 14), but neither assumes anything about whether any particular person hearing the promise or the warning is elect. Read more»

Keith Mathison, “Are the Warning Passages a Weak Link in Reformed Theology?” Light in Dark Places (February 15. 2021)


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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One comment

  1. The Reformed view is the most helpful when sharing the Gospel whether with Christians or people who do not yet believe. The Bad News makes the Good News really GOOD.

    Living the Gospel is the best way to share the Gospel because we enjoy the assurance that the bad news did not win over the One who fulfilled the Promise of the really GOOD News.

    As I recall before I heard the Good News I only knew the bad news, day in and day out, and it was bad all of the time, the worldview of bad.

    Thanks for posting this article from a wild Scotsman, humor included!

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