January 23, 2010

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) Comparing the Elect with the Reprobate

As truly as it can be said to John or Thomas, or any elect person, If you do not believe you shall be damned, so surely may it be said to a reprobate, to Judas, or any other, If you believe you shall be saved. If the reprobate have a like favour with the elect in the general offer of grace, they are left without excuse, the tender being so great, and so far the same unto both; though the elect's receiving be the effect of special grace, yet the reprobate's rejecting is without excuse, he voluntarily turning back upon his own mercies.

This quote is significant for a number of reasons:

1) It points out that the flip-side of sincere offers to the non-elect are sincere threats to the unbelieving elect. Those who reject the idea that God is giving well-meant offers to the non-elect sometimes see the other side and also reject the notion that God is ever threatening the unbelieving elect with perishing. They accuse their opponents of making a Christ of faith since their opponents insist that faith makes a vital, instrumental difference. Manton underlines the importance of faith.
2) He says that the elect and non-elect are favored just the same in the general offer of grace.
3) "Offer" is linked to the idea of a "tender."
4) Manton distinguishes the general offer of grace that all receive from "special grace," thus associating the "favour" that the non-elect receive in the offer with common grace, by implication.
5) Grace and mercy are associated, such that it would be absurd to think that God is being merciful to all, but not gracious.

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