The Doctrines of Grace and Passion for the Souls of Men

John A. Broadus

“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.” Romans 9:3


Concern for the salvation of others is not prevented by a belief in what we call the doctrines of grace; is not prevented by believing in divine sovereignty, and predestination and election. Many persons intensely dislike the ideas which are expressed by these phrases. Many persons shrink away from ever accepting them, because those ideas are in their minds associated with the notion of stolid indifference. They say if predestination be true, then it follows that a man cannot do anything for his own salvation; that if he is to be saved he will be saved, and he has nothing to do with it, and need not care, nor need any one else care.

Now, this does not at all follow, and I will prove that it does not follow, by the fact that Paul himself, the great oracle of this doctrine in the Scripture, has uttered these words of burning passionate concern for the salvation of others, so close by the passages in which he has taught the doctrines in question. Look back from the text, run back a few sentences and you will find the very passage upon which many stumble: “Moreover, whom he did predestinate” — there are people who shudder at the very words — “them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Just a little while after he uttered those words from which men want to infer that the man who believes it need not feel concerned for his salvation or the salvation of others, just a little after, came the passionate words of the text. Nor is that all, for you will find just following the text, where he speaks of Esau and Jacob, that God made a difference between them before they were born, and where he says of Pharaoh that God raised him up that he might show his power in him, and that God’s name might be declared through out all the earth. “Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Some good people fairly shiver at the inference, which seems to them to be inevitable from such language as that. But I say the inference must be wrong, for the inspired man who uttered this language, only a few moments before had uttered these words of the text.

And whenever you find your heart or the heart of your friend inclined to shrink away from these great teachings of divine Scripture concerning sovereignty and predestination, then I pray you make no argument about it, but turn to this language of concern for the salvation of others, so intensely passionate that men wonder and think surely it cannot mean what it says. The trouble is in this and many cases that we draw unwarranted inferences from the teachings of the Bible, and then cast all the odium of those inferences upon the truths from which we draw them. Now, I say that whatever be true, for or against the apostle’s doctrines of predestination and divine sovereignty in salvation, it is not true that they will make a man careless as to his own salvation or that of others; seeing that they had no such effect on Paul himself, but right in between these two great passages come the wonderful words of the text.

[an excerpt from his sermon entitled, “Intense Concern for the Salvation of Others” in Sermons and Addresses (Hodder & Stoughton: New York, 1886)]

3 thoughts on “The Doctrines of Grace and Passion for the Souls of Men

  1. And do we ever pray hard for the salvation of our loved ones!!! We can’t imagine heaven without them!! No half hearted prayers on their behalf. Sometimes I wonder if the Lord saves us so part of our walk is to pray for our loved ones (and others) and thats how He chooses to go through us to save them. By our prayers for them. I guess we could label that, good works? 🙂


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  3. I would even offer that, if we think that our salvation is based on a prayer we pray, or our decision, then we must also believe that salvation is by works, not grace. Because if it’s 99.99% Christ & .01% me, than I must do something for the salvation, thus it becomes a work? Isn’t this what the Apostle Paul fought against, to show all of us that salvation is a gift of His grace, not our work, lest any man boast? CH Spurgeon has a great quote on this:

    C. H. Spurgeon – from “Effects of Sound Doctrine,” a sermon delivered Sunday evening, April 22nd, 1860, at New Park Street Chapel:

    My dear friends, after all, the kicking against the doctrine of election is a kicking against the gospel, because this doctrine is a first principle in the divine plan of mercy, and when rightly known, it prepares our minds to receive all the other doctrines. Or on the contrary, misunderstand this, and you are pretty sure to make mistakes about all the rest.

    Take for instance final perseverance; some men say, “If we continue in faith, and if we continue in holiness, we shall certainly be saved at last.” Do you not see at once that this is legality—that this is hanging our salvation upon our work—that this is making our eternal life to depend on something we do?

    Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, lifted up; for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of his eternal favor to us; but it is not faith as our work that saves, otherwise we are saved by works, and not by grace at all.

    If you need any argument upon this point, I refer you to our great apostle Paul, who so constantly combats the idea that works and grace can ever be united together, for he argues, “If it be of grace, then it is no more of works otherwise grace were no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more of grace, otherwise work is no more work.”
    – C. H. Spurgeon –


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