One of the challenges I have in accepting the premise of Calvinism is that the offer of salvation and general preaching of Jesus do not appear to be bona fide (or genuine) offers.
Jesus, being from God and the express image of God, would certainly understand how God works when it comes to people and how they get saved. Calvinism states that God chose who would become saved which has the equal effect of not enabling others to experience salvation.
So the question remains why Jesus went from town to town offering salvation generally if he knew the hearts of people specifically? Furthermore, why would Jesus make the offer of salvation propositional if people really didn’t have any choice in the matter?
For example, there were some who were complaining to Jesus that Pilate was mixing the blood of Jews with their religious sacrifices. Obviously the Jews who died at the hands of Pilate suffered greatly and as was the popular thought, the ones who died deserved their fate because of some sin.
But Jesus corrected them by stating that the ones who died were no worse than the one who lived. Then he followed up with another account to illustrate a powerful imperative found in Luke 13:
“Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
This is a clear example that Jesus understood and consistently preached that the hearer is responsible to respond to the offer of salvation. It would be inherently dishonest for Jesus to tell them that they have an option if they really did not because they weren’t chosen.
The point is that if Jesus is pure truth and incapable of lying, then what he says and does must be authentic and honest. If that is true, then whenever Jesus calls people to repent and to believe in him, they must be bona fide offers of eternal life. Otherwise, His entire ministry would be shadowed with a cloud of deceit. Not only that, the message really couldn’t be liberally called “good news”.
If we understand that God makes bona fide offers to us and enables us to accept them if we are willing, then God’s reasonings and pleadings with mankind throughout the ages makes sense. If God had already chosen our fate beforehand, then trying to reason with us or sending people to speak to us doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Can you imagine a man who has decided that he will not marry a woman yet spends his effort to win her heart as one would to make her his wife?
If truth is a core attribute of God, then we must take God at his word and we can trust that we are not being deceived by a hidden agenda.
If you are a Christ follower, you didn’t have to worry if the offer of salvation could truly be made to you did you? Knowing that the offer is available to all should motivate us Christ followers to spread the good news to everyone.
Every theological position that we have must reflect God’s pure, undiluted character.