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Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575) on the Call and Offer of the Gospel

September 25, 2009

Bullinger:

That Christ calls all sinners unto him, and offers unto them grace and all good things.

The eight chapter.

An objection.

But if any man here say, that he dares not come unto Christ, both because of the majesty and great dignity of Christ, and also because of man’s corruption, and sundry sins: let him most diligently weigh this with himself, that if he remain in this incredulity or unbelief, and come not unto Christ by faith, or trust that Christ will forgive him his sins, and reconcile his Father, that the saints, albeit they have some care and consideration hereof, yet they shall do nothing with God. Because that God requires faith of every one of us, and also the Scriptures teach, that without faith it is impossible for any man to come unto God, or to please him. Furthermore, in the cause or quarrel of sin God hears or admits none but Christ alone, as the only intercessor, and only and eternal reconciliation or propitiation for sins. Let every one therefore come straight to Christ, and join himself unto him, and do his diligence to have Faith. For otherwise neither Noah, nor Job, nor Moses, nor Samuel, nor Daniel shall do any good God himself witnesses by his holy Prophets [Jere. 14. Ezek. 14]. But unto the end that we may join ourselves unto Christ by faith, we must hear his exhortations or allurements full of comfort, grace and truth, wherewith he does allure and call us unto him, and in the Gospel of Matthew, 9th chapter says: “They which are in health need not the Physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners to repentance.” Our Lord spoke these words, when as the Pharisees were displeased that he received sinners, and showed himself courteous unto them. Hereunto also pertain the words of Paul, which are 1 Tim. 1th Chap. “An undoubted saying, and worthy that by all means we should embrace it, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,” &c. Mat. 11, Christ our Lord has these words, “All things are given unto me by my Father: come therefore unto me all you that labor, and are laden, and I will refresh you.”  Moreover hereunto pertain the words of Isaiah. 55th chapter, and those sayings of Paul. Hebrews, 2th chapter, Christ ought in all points to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high Priest, in those things which should be done with God, to cleanse the sins of the people. For by this that happened him to be tempted, he can also help them that are tempted and therefore Christ our Lord, bids his Disciples to ask and pray in his name, for that they should receive all things necessary for them.  Moreover all sinners which ever at any time came unto him, he most gently received them into grace or favor and sent them from him in peace satisfied with an easy and quiet mind, but such as put no trust in him, those who left in their sins and misery.

To be short, God the heavenly Father has ordained Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, to be our only intercessor, mediator, and defender. He is with his Father passing excellent, most dearly beloved, and most acceptable. He wants nothing which is to be required in a true mediator. He is almighty, gentle, and bountiful unto sinners, he allures them unto him, and promises them faith and love, and these things are true and certain.

Henry Bullinger, Common Places of Christian Religion, (Imprinted at London by Tho. East, and H. Middleton, for George Byshop, 1572), 176-177. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.] [Notes: Unfortunately, folio 178 is missing from Bullinger’s continuing discussion on the free offer.]

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