Hodge: The Same Gracious God Who Wills The End Also Wills The Free Offer Of The Gospel

Paul considered it as involved in what he had already said, and especially in the predictions of the ancient prophets, that it was the will of God that all men should call upon him. This being the case, he argues to prove that it was his will that the gospel should be preached to all. As invocation implies faith, as faith implies knowledge, knowledge instruction, and instruction an instructor, so it is plain that if God would have all men to call upon him, he designed preachers to be sent to all, whose proclamation of mercy being heard, might be believed, and being believed, might lead men to call on him and be saved. This is agreeable to the prediction of Isaiah, who foretold that the advent of the preachers of the gospel should be hailed with great and universal joy. According to this, which is the common and most natural view of the passage, it is an argument founded on the principle, that if God wills the end, he wills also the means; if he would have the Gentiles saved, according to the predictions of his prophets, he would have the gospel preached to them.

Charles Hodge | A Commentary On the Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 547.


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  1. Rom. 10:18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

    It seems that in the context of Rom. 10 (God will evangelize), the plain meaning of Ps. 19 is that God has, to some extent, already preached the good news naturally everywhere (I think Calvin called this a “prelude” in his commentary). In Rom. 1:20 we are told that this is sufficient for responsibility (condemnation).

    Occasionally I hear that there is an orthodox defense of a “wider hope” within the Reformed tradition, although “wider” is variously defined. Is there a good resource for a discussion of salvation by Christ alone through natural revelation that is within Reformed orthodoxy?

  2. I hadn’t read Hodge’s commentary before, but I see that he calls Calvin’s view of this passage “peculiar” in a footnote (p. 549). And rereading Calvin’s commentary, he himself seems to admit that he holds a minority view regarding the way that Paul uses the turn of phrase from Ps. 19. At any rate, I’ll stay tuned for you answer on the Heidelcast!


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