Free Offer Catechism Pastor Ben Rochester
God’s Salvation Accomplished
- Q: Did Christ purchase salvation for all men on the cross?
- Though the obedience and death of Christ is of infinite merit and sufficient dignity to forgive the whole world, yet Christ has purchased salvation for the elect only, thus He said he laid down his life for his sheep. The cross is of infinite worth, but limited application in the plan of God.
- Q: In what sense is it said in scripture that Jesus Christ is “Savior of the World” (1 John 4:14) and died for the world (1 John 2:2)?
- Christ died for the world and as such is called the Savior of the World in the senses that he alone is God’s exclusive way of salvation (John 14:6), and that He is offered in the Gospel preached as a gift to the whole world (John 3:16): This means that Christ did not die to purchase all, but that he died for all as the sole way of salvation and universal gift presented to all and commanded to be received by all.
God’s Salvation Proclaimed
- Q: Who has warrant to receive the Gospel by faith?
- All men (the elect and non-elect) have the same warrant to believe that Christ died for us.
- Q: What is the warrant for all men to believe?
- The warrant for all men to believe is the offer of the free grace of God in Christ without condition except faith in him who died for us. Our warrant to believe is not our election, rather it is that Christ is offered to us to be received as our savior, because he alone is the Savior, not our dead works.
- Q: How is the Gospel not to be offered?
- The gospel is not offered to us by saying, “All who are elect have warrant to believe today,” for election belongs to another place of theology (the cause of faith and comfort of the believer), it confuses the untaught as to a yet unknown condition in themselves, for we cannot know our election unless we have saving faith. Election being a mystery in the mind of God yet unknown unless we have saving faith, the warrant to believe is the same for the elect and non-elect, the warrant being the free offer.
- Q: How is the gospel to be rightly offered to all men?
- With the content of the offer that Christ alone is the way, truth, and life of salvation offered to them as risen exclusive Savior of the World. With the call that we are bidden to come and drink from the water of life, to take the yoke of Christ upon us for he bore our yoke of the law on the cross as a substitute sacrifice on our behalf which appeased the wrath of God and earned our bodily resurrection, and is received by faith alone. With the promise that all who receive him by faith are justified, sanctified, and glorified, and receive all other accompanying benefits.
- Q: Is it necessary to repent prior to saving faith in Christ alone?
- Faith alone lays hold of Christ alone. Conviction of sin gives us the reason why we must believe in Christ- for forgiveness of sin, yet conviction is a common operation of the Spirit done upon all men, and is not to be confused with the accompanying saving grace of repentance unto life.
- Q: How is the Gospel offer to be received?
- By faith alone in Christ alone who died as substitute for our sins we are acquitted of all our sins before the Triune God.
God’s Salvation Applied
- Q: Where does faith in Christ come from?
- Faith in Christ is not natural to us, who are born dead in sin, but is a work of the Spirit who calls men externally with the Gospel (especially in public preaching), and empowers the gospel to inwardly call, draw, and enable us to believe in Christ.
- Q: What are the other accompanying benefits of the Gospel?
- Other benefits of the Gospel besides saving faith are the internal testimony of the Spirit to our spirits that the scripture is God’s word, that we are children of God, communion with the Triune God, repentance unto life (which is a change of mind to turn from dead works and/or sin to follow Christ), good works, freedom from the power of sin, assurance of salvation, perseverance in faith until the end, the means of our perseverance in membership in the covenant of grace whereby we receive instruction, care and do service to God in worship, life beyond the death of the body, and the resurrection of the body forever with Christ in the new creation.
- Q: If salvation is by faith alone, and we are forgiven of all our sins, may we continue in sin that grace may abound?
- God forbids this in His word because the Gospel rather than abolishing the law establishes it for the Christian. Good works, like all other benefits of the Gospel, result from the grace of God and accompany saving faith.
- Q: How do we combat legalism and easy-believism?
- By presenting the free offer of the Gospel and the accompanying benefits of Christ as all from God the Father’s grace purchased for us by our savior Jesus Christ, and applied to us supernaturally by the Holy Spirit by the means of grace (word, sacrament and prayer).