One of the main reasons Calvinists object to the idea that people can believe in Jesus for eternal life is that if we make faith a human responsibility, then this seems to make eternal life somewhat dependent upon a human effort.
But as we have seen over and over in numerous posts over the past two months (see the link list below), faith is not a work. So when God calls us to believe in Jesus for eternal life, this is something that everyone and anyone can do.
Besides, if faith is not something we can do, then eternal life is no longer by grace alone through faith alone, but is simply and only be grace alone.
While it is appealing to say that eternal life is by grace alone and nothing else, the cry of the Reformation and the center of the Gospel message in the Bible is that eternal life is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
So yes, you can believe!
You should believe.
God wants you to believe.
God calls you to believe.
This is just as true for you as it for anyone else on earth.
And by asking people to believe in Jesus, God is not asking people to regenerate themselves, save themselves, or contribute to their own eternal life.
No, God has done everything that needs doing when it comes to the free offer of eternal life. He paid the full price so that it might be a free gift to us.
When we freely proclaim the gospel as Jesus offered it to His hearers, the compelling nature of the free gift of God to all who simply and only believe in Jesus for it is recognizable to all as something that no religion on earth has offered, and hence, is no religion at all but is a message that can have its origin only in God.
Internationally recognized author and evangelist Ravi Zacharias put it this way:
I have found that if you build a proper foundation for what the Christian faith is all about, as you lead up to the cross, the listeners sit in stunned silence. They immediately recognize that Christianity stands in stark contrast to everything that other worldviews affirm and assert. They know that true power is being expressed in the cross (Just Thinking, Spring/Summer 2002, 2).
As Jesus went about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and inviting people to believe in Him, thousands responded.
In Acts, we read about Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile, who heard the message of eternal life and believed in Jesus for it (Acts 10:22, 44-48). After Paul and Silas saved the Philippian jailor from committing suicide, they told him and his family about God’s free offer of eternal life, and they all believed (Acts 16:25-34).
These sorts of examples are found all over the place in the Bible, and the consistent message and expectation of biblical authors is that anyone and everyone can hear and understand the Gospel, and having heard, believe in Jesus for eternal life.
While sin is a universal problem, people are not so depraved that they cannot respond to the call of the Gospel and believe in Jesus for eternal life.If you want to read more about Calvinism, check out other posts in this blog series: Words of Calvinism and the Word of God.