The Infinite Condescension

“Consider the infinite condescension and love of Christ, in his invitation to you to come to him for life, deliverance, mercy, grace, peace, and eternal salvation.

Multitudes of these invitations and calls are recorded in the Scripture, and they are all of them filled up with those blessed encouragements which divine wisdom knows to be suited to lost, convinced sinners, in their present state and condition. It is a blessed contemplation, to dwell on the infinite condescension, grace, and love of Christ in his invitations to sinners to come to him that they may be saved. Consider the mixture of wisdom and persuasive grace that is in them, the force and efficacy of the pleading.

This I shall only say, that in the declaration and preaching of them, Jesus Christ yet stands before you, calling, inviting, encouraging you to come to him.

This is the word which he now speaks to you: Why will you die? Why will you perish? Why will you not have compassion on your own souls? Can your hearts endure, or can your hands be strong, in the day of wrath that is approaching? It is but a little while before all your hopes, your reliefs, and presumptions will forsake you, and leave you eternally miserable. Look unto me, and be saved. Come to me, and I will ease you of all sins, sorrows, fears, burdens, and give rest unto your souls. Come, I plead with you. Lay aside all procrastinations, all delays. Put me off no more. Eternity lies at the door. Cast out all cursed, self-deceiving reserves. Do not so hate me that you would rather perish than accept deliverance from me.

These and the like things does the Lord Christ continually declare, proclaim, plead, and urge on the souls of sinners. He does it in the preaching of the word, as if he were present with you, and spoke personally to you. He has appointed the ministers of the gospel to appear before you, and to deal with you in his place, avowing as his own the invitations that are given you in his name.

Consider therefore, his infinite condescension, grace, and love. Why all this towards you? Does he stand in need of you? Have you deserved it at his hands? Did you love him first? Cannot he be happy and blessed without you? Has he any design upon you, that he is so earnest in calling you to him? Alas! it is nothing but the overflowing of mercy, compassion, and grace, that moves him to act in this way.

Here lies the entrance of innumerable souls into a death and condemnation far more severe than those contained in the curse of the law. In the contempt of this infinite condescension of Christ in his holy invitation of sinners to himself lies the sting and poison of unbelief, which unavoidably gives over the souls of men to eternal ruin. And who shall once pity them to eternity who are guilty of it?”

(John Owen, Works, vol. 1, 422, my paraphrase)

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