112358

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I've read the entire letter, actually. It does not say that saved, born again, sealed believers can or will lose their salvation. (Become unborn and unsealed) The above verses are in regard to us having "confidence" and not being "ashamed before Him." These verses are NOT saying that true believers who have passed from death to life and are saved, will lose their salvation.

And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. -1 John 3:19-21
Is says both. Confidence for those who abide in Him, shame for those who don't.

So your position is that Christians can not abide in Him, stand before Him ashamed, and still expect to enter His rest, correct?
 
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amariselle

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Is says both. Confidence for those who abide in Him, shame for those who don't.

Yes. Again, those verses do not deal with salvation, but with our discipleship.

So your position is that Christians can not abide in Him, stand before Him ashamed, and still expect to enter His rest, correct?

No, I believe what Scripture tells us plainly, all who have believed have entered into rest. (Those who do not believe have not entered in)
 
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112358

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Yes. Again, those verses do not deal with salvation, but with our discipleship.



No, I believe what Scripture tells us plainly, all who have believed have entered into rest. (Those who do not believe have not entered in)
Then we must follow the thought through to its logical conclusion. If I, having believed and entered into His rest, 10 years later renounce my faith, curse God, pledge allegiance to Satan himself, and live out the rest of my earthly days serving the desires of the flesh, I will still go to heaven, correct?
 
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discipler7

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.......continuing from my post #712 .......

1TIMOTHY.4: = The Great Apostasy
4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

2TIMOTHY.4: = 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

OTOH, there is also the false teaching of Hyper-Grace which (AFAIK) teaches that, once "justified for salvation by faith in Christ" or by Grace, no sin/evil-work, past-present-and-future, even if unrepented, can cause Christians to be unsaved or lose their salvation. IOW, once saved, they can even purposely choose to "Go and sin some more" with no danger of losing their salvation. Of course, they will profess to take no such course of action, ie sinning wantonly, but in effect, their sin-consciousness is gone or much dampened.(cf; HEBREWS.10:26-31)
....... These may be the ones referred to at 1TIMOTHY.4 as "having their conscience seared with a hot iron" and will depart from the faith.

In truth, as per JOB.2:9, a Christian sinner/evildoer may lose his/her salvation by cursing God/Jesus and die while suffering for his/her sin = lost his/her faith in God/Jesus. (cf; 1COR.5:5)
....... In comparison, Job kept the faith = did not lose his salvation.

In the kingdom of God, there are only do-gooders or good seeds/true prophets and Christians/ /sheep/wheat, ie there are no unrepentant evil-workers/sinners/law-breakers or bad seeds/false prophets and Christians/ /goats/tares or chaff - 1COR.6:9-11, REV.22:12-15. The do-gooders are there not because of their good works/obedience but solely because of their faith in Jesus Christ/God.
....... Even a repentant murderer like King David who was a believer in God/Jesus, can be in the kingdom of God.

P S - King David did not go and sin(= murder) some more after he repented and was forgiven but nevertheless he and his sons were cursed/punished by God for his sin of murder = earthly suffering.
 
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HatGuy

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First, the heresy at the time of Paul that was popular was the kind of belief that tried to mix God's grace (i.e. believing in Jesus) with obeying the Old Testament Law of Moses (like circumcision) for salvation....
[/QUOTE]
This is a heck of a lot of reading for a forum and I don't want to dishonour you in any way by some shorter, cursory response.

To be honest, there's not much in this I can disagree with. If I were to disagree with things here, I would be nitpicking and basically being an argumentative idiot.

So I'll stick to the points I think are interesting and mutually beneficial.

Our reading of Romans 7 is similar but not quite the same. My take is that it is, yes, Paul speaking of what it was like before becoming a Christian (a 'pre-Christian reading) AND that it is Paul making the point that this is what it would be like for any Christian who wants to go back to Law. He is saying something like, "Well, if you want to go back to Law, remember what it was like. This is what it was like before you became a Christian. If you go back to Law, then it'll be like that again." So our reading is similar except I attach a sort-of double-meaning to it.

With that out of the way, the reason why I don't buy that when Paul speaks of Law he ALWAYS means Jewish Law is because of the book of Colossians.

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Paul makes similar statements in Colossians as he does in Galatians and Romans, except here he speaks of "human tradition", whereas the Law was instituted by God.

Further on he says this:
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
It appears to me that Paul is mixing traditions here. He is speaking of the Sabbath but also speaking of asceticism.

The point is that, it seems to me, the Law serves as an example of trying to accomplish salvation by works. Romans 2 speaks of how unsaved people have a conscious and a law of their own. (See Romans 2:14-16.) Paul speaks of the Law as an example, but he does not mean we are free from the Law but still bound by some other law. The fact of the matter is people come up with new laws of their own all the time. "Don't listen to secular music", "don't dance", "don't play cards", "don't vote for democrats," "don't vote for Republicans," and, as Paul said, "do not taste, do not touch." Interestingly, he lists such rules as coming from 'elemental spirits' and not from God.

But perhaps the best point to be made is found in Colossians 1:
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The exhortation is to continue in faith. To remain stable and steadfast in faith, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel. We do not remain steadfast in our works but in our faith, and by doing so our hearts move toward perfect love which makes our actions those actions of perfect love (going beyond the law.)

Galatians, as you know, specifically says you are not perfected by the flesh. (Yes, I also mean entire sanctification.) It says "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3.) Paul clearly means trying to be moral by the flesh rather than the Spirit. ("Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?" - Galatians 3:2). Given how Paul treats these concepts in Colossians, it would be rational to believe that Paul means any kind of moral or spiritual work done 'in the flesh' is no good and does not justify, ultimately perfect, or gain anyone any element of salvation.

It's rational to make this statement because if God's Law is not good enough, why would any other law be good enough? Obviously laws like "don't dance" and "don't play cards" will be even less good enough. So which laws apply? The Ten Commandments? Including the one to keep the seventh day holy? Or will we pick and choose which of the Ten is to be kept 'spiritually' and which are to be kept literally?

Obedience does not get you obedience. Faith gets you obedience. Aristotle would disagree, of course, but I don't believe Paul or Peter or James would. I don't believe Luther would. And, I don't believe John Wesley would either. In fact, any good Arminian - Wesley or Arminius himself - emphasise faith over works, because they know that real faith produces real works.

I'm in agreement that obedience is important but I don't believe obedience necessary for salvation. Salvation = a free obedience from love. The process of salvation in itself frees the individual from obedience having to be a necessity or duty to obedience simply becoming a free expression of love to God and others. This is what Wesley meant about 'perfect love' and what 'entire sanctification' is all about, isn't it? A free, perfect love that obeys not out of necessity but in freedom. A heart fully oriented toward God, steadfast in faith, and believing God for all things, in all things, and for all things.
 
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amariselle

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Then we must follow the thought through to its logical conclusion. If I, having believed and entered into His rest, 10 years later renounce my faith, curse God, pledge allegiance to Satan himself, and live out the rest of my earthly days serving the desires of the flesh, I will still go to heaven, correct?

Honesty I think that is an absurd statement. Scripture is more than clear, all true believers are saved, born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Those that “go out from us” were never of us to begin with. Also consider the wheat and the tares.
 
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112358

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Honesty I think that is an absurd statement. Scripture is more than clear, all true believers are saved, born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Those that “go out from us” were never of us to begin with. Also consider the wheat and the tares.
The statement is the logical end (albeit extreme) of the statement you made, not me.

And then we must (yet again) deal with those who fall from grace. Who are cut off. Who are better off having never known the truth. Who are severed from Christ. How can one be severed from something to which one was never united?

These scriptures will never go away. They can be misunderstood, ignored, perverted, or any number of other things people do to them, but they will never go away.
 
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Bible Highlighter

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Ephesians_2.png


While Paul is talking about the Law of Moses in regards to how we are not saved by works in Ephesians 2:9, Paul is using the Old Law as a point that we are "Initially Saved" and or "Ultimately Saved" by God's gift of grace (i.e. Jesus Christ - Jhn 3:16).

We are not to put the cart before the horse (Works before Grace).

cart_horse_01.png

We are also not under the Law of Moses (as a whole or package deal), either.

Law_of_Moses_01.png


After we are saved by God's grace (Which is a gift), we look to follow the commands given to us by Jesus and His followers. We are to literally follow Jesus (and what He tells us to do according to the New Testament).

930851-0764_The20Best.gif~c200


If we don't follow Jesus (and do what He says), we are like a fool who built our house upon the sand and when a storm came, great was the fall of that house
(See Matthew 7:26-27).

XBx4UWW.gif
 
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amariselle

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The statement is the logical end (albeit extreme) of the statement you made, not me.

Yes, again, this is always the accusation brought against those who trust in only the finished work of Christ in His perfect and all sufficient sacrifice to save. Paul was faced with the same accusation.

And then we must (yet again) deal with those who fall from grace. Who are cut off. Who are better off having never known the truth. Who are severed from Christ. How can one be severed from something to which one was never united?

As I'm sure you know, not all translations even use the word "severed", perhaps I'll do more of a careful study into that some other time. In any case, one can indeed receive knowledge of the truth (just as Judas did) and yet never believe. Remember as well the parable of the wheat and the tares.

These scriptures will never go away. They can be misunderstood, ignored, perverted, or any number of other things people do to them, but they will never go away.

I agree. As is true of all the numerous Scriptures that plainly teach a true believer is saved, born again, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, the adopted child of God, purchased by the precious blood of Christ, has passed from death to life, is no longer under any condemnation or the wrath of God, but is a new creation in Christ, one whom God will never lose or forsake, nor can anyone or anything separate us from the love of God or take us out of His hand. Yet many completely deny all of this.
 
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redleghunter

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Many are called, but few are chosen.

On what basis are they chosen?
This was your original question.

This was the answer:

Romans 9:18: So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Then the below from you:

Romans 9 to 11 is not about individual salvation.
Which may be a topical discussion, but regardless of discussion of Israel vs. Gentiles, both groups are made up of individuals and as such Romans 9-11 gives examples of actual people and addresses people in general throughout:

Romans 9: NASB
14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Notice the bold underlined. Those are people and not Israel or Gentiles in general. Continuing in Romans 9:

19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

Notice 'even us' above. This collapses the idea Paul is only speaking of two covenants here, but how God chooses throughout redemptive history. He uses the model of Israel's hardness to show souls would be chosen from the Gentiles as well according to His purpose having mercy on whom He desires, and hardens whom He desires.

Paul is explaining to the Jews God's plan from the beginning of time and how they were used to reveal God and why now God is allowing the gentiles to be a part of His plan.
He's showing that how He CHOSE Israel from among the nations and that now that a time of hardening has come God's Grace is extended to all peoples. Yet he is showing this by giving examples of individuals in redemptive history like Jacob and Pharaoh. Then in verse 24, he makes it painfully obvious and says 'even us, whom He also called.' He is speaking to the Roman church here....to real people.

For instance Pharaoh --- he already had a hard heart, but God make it even harder... this brings to mind Romans 1:25, 26, 28
Because, in the end God will give us what we want. I do believe in free will, as you know.

If it is not a bother, what does it mean to have an 'even harder' heart? Romans 1:25, 26, 28 does not apply as in Exodus God directly says He hardens Pharaoh's heart.
 
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redleghunter

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Yes, but not because we lose salvation every time we fail. We know that we have an “Adovcate”, “Intercessor” and “Mediator” in our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ our Saviour.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous - 1 John 2:1

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them- Hebrews 7:25



Unfortunately, just being “willing” to be 100% obedient does not equal actually being 100% obedient. God still demands absolute perfection when it comes to what is necessary to save us. I have no idea, now that I know I can “rest” in Jesus, why anyone would desire to mix their own imperfect works in with Jesus’ pure, perfect and spotless finished sacrifice for sin. That is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for salvation.



It is not possible in our “flesh.” It is the “inner man” that is without sin. Our spiritual re-birth was an act of God and it will not be undone. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Now we “rest” in Him and we go forward and serve Him with joy as faithful disciples, because we are saved and we know He will never leave us or forsake us and that nothing and no one can take us out of His hand.
Unfortunately, if one does not recognize God is Sovereign in Salvation from "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4), they will continue to grope in the dark (Job 12:5) looking for solutions to fix themselves.

We call it Amazing Grace for a reason.

Thanks for the post.
 
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amariselle

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Unfortunately, if one does not recognize God is Sovereign in Salvation from "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4), they will continue to grope in the dark (Job 12:5) looking for solutions to fix themselves.

We call it Amazing Grace for a reason.

Thanks for the post.

I agree. So many of the old hymns we sing are very clear as well on our "blessed assurance" and the hope we have in Christ alone. Many sing them, even joyfully, but apparently they do not believe them. (And they are Biblical when they speak of trusting wholly in the Lord.)
 
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GodsGrace101

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This was your original question.

This was the answer:

Romans 9:18: So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Then the below from you:


Which may be a topical discussion, but regardless of discussion of Israel vs. Gentiles, both groups are made up of individuals and as such Romans 9-11 gives examples of actual people and addresses people in general throughout:

Romans 9: NASB
14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Notice the bold underlined. Those are people and not Israel or Gentiles in general. Continuing in Romans 9:

19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

Notice 'even us' above. This collapses the idea Paul is only speaking of two covenants here, but how God chooses throughout redemptive history. He uses the model of Israel's hardness to show souls would be chosen from the Gentiles as well according to His purpose having mercy on whom He desires, and hardens whom He desires.


He's showing that how He CHOSE Israel from among the nations and that now that a time of hardening has come God's Grace is extended to all peoples. Yet he is showing this by giving examples of individuals in redemptive history like Jacob and Pharaoh. Then in verse 24, he makes it painfully obvious and says 'even us, whom He also called.' He is speaking to the Roman church here....to real people.



If it is not a bother, what does it mean to have an 'even harder' heart? Romans 1:25, 26, 28 does not apply as in Exodus God directly says He hardens Pharaoh's heart.
I mentioned Pharoah. Did you miss it?
Paul mentions some persons but to make a point.
Romans 9 to 11 is NOT ABOUT SALVATION.

As you must surely know, we are individually saved, not together, as a nation. Paul is speaking about the Jewish nation and the gentiles, which are of other nations.

EVEN US is referring to those that are called to salvation according to Gods plan, as I explained and not as you understand it, which include the Jews and the gentiles.

To understand this your way, it would seem that God hardens the heart of a whole nation. Hearts belong to individual persons, which he mentions as examples.

verse 25 makes it clear that Paul is talking about the gentiles as a whole people. Verse 26 refers to Israel but is saying that now the gentiles will also be added to God's plan.

And yes, God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, but He is a just God, and, as previously stated, He allows us to know His conditions so that we can choose to accept His conditions so that He WILL have mercy on us.

All one has to do is read the beginning of the book of Romans and the above is explained. This can also be found in the commentary of many bibles.

Mine says:
Romans 9:1 to 11:36
God's way with Israel. Among other matters, Paul addresses three urgent questions occasioned by the rejecton of the gospel by many Jews in Paul's day.

1. Has the word of God regarding Israel concerning her salvation come to nothing?

2. Has God completely and finally rejected His people?

3. Is the gospel incapable of saving the Jews?

Romans 11:36
The doxology that ends this section of Romans is the natural outpouring of Paul's praise to God, whose wisdom and knowledge brought about his great plan for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.

An Outline:

Romans Chapters 9-11
The Justice of His Way With Israel

A. The justice of God's rejection of Israel 9:1-29
B. The cause of that rejection 9:30 - 10:21
C. The rejection is neither complete nor final 11
There is even now a remnant 11:1-10
The rejection is only temporary 11:11-24
God's ultimate purpose IS MERCY 11:25-36

As you can see, Romans chapters 9 to 11 are about Israel and not about personal salvation.


 
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zoidar

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Anyone who says salvation is dependent on our good works, is in fact saying that we must work our way to salvation. Salvation is by the grace and mercy of God, it is a gift, not a reward for the good things we do.

I would rather say, we are to live obedient to have a saving relationship. If we don't do what we are called to do, we don't live in a relationship with Christ and are cut off. So it's not that much of working our way to salvation, but it's more doing what we are supposed to do as children of God, to keep us being saved in the end.


No, our good works are "dung" when we think that they can save us or contribute to our salvation. That is going about to establish our own righteousness. Paul understood that the good he did after salvation was his "reasonable service", not what saved him. Salvation is in Christ alone.

It's not really that we contribute to our salvation, but like I said, doing what we are supposed to do in a relationship with the Most High.

Indeed, which is precisely why we must realize we cannot mix grace and works. The "willful sin" spoken of in Hebrews 10:26-29 is to "trample the Son of God underfoot and count the blood of the covenant an unclean thing." This is what those who say Jesus did not do enough to save us by Himself, that His sacrifice was not sufficient, are doing. When one claims they must add works to Christ's finished work, they are attempting to take credit for what He alone has done and they are also denying that what He did was truly enough to save. There is nothing lacking in Christ's perfect and all sufficient sacrifice.

It almost sounds like you don't believe we who believe in "faith + obedience" are saved. Maybe you like to say something about that? Do you really believe we are guilty of such a terrible sin, as "trample the Son of God underfoot"?
 
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zoidar

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I'm in agreement that obedience is important but I don't believe obedience necessary for salvation. Salvation = a free obedience from love. The process of salvation in itself frees the individual from obedience having to be a necessity or duty to obedience simply becoming a free expression of love to God and others. This is what Wesley meant about 'perfect love' and what 'entire sanctification' is all about, isn't it? A free, perfect love that obeys not out of necessity but in freedom. A heart fully oriented toward God, steadfast in faith, and believing God for all things, in all things, and for all things.

Good day brother! I don't think you are completely wrong. I think you are describing one part of obedience ...

About obedience
"As I see it there are two sides, the side to serve out of love, and the side to serve out of fear (Philippians 2:12), these two complement each other. We are not to be afraid of God, but we are to have a sincere respect of Him, "who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). We have a word in Swedish that expresses this "fear" of God really well, "gudsfruktan", it's when you have a deep respect for God, it doesn't mean being afraid, but rather an expression of knowing about His all might, and the thought of this makes you tremble inside."

How do you understand Matthew 25 where Jesus separates the goats from the sheep?
 
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redleghunter

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Of course Jesus will not fail to do the Father's will. Of course He will never leave of forsake us. He waits patiently for all of His children to come to Him, or to return to Him. We can leave or forsake Him. Many do. And all those who never come to Him or never return will be cast out.
This creates a conundrum I mentioned to another poster earlier:

John 10: NASB
25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

So even if we walk on the fringes here and say 'well the above speaks of only external agents and not an internal agent like us walking away", verse 29 where it says "and they will never perish" defeats that notion entirely.

Which means there are potentially two scenarios here (there could be more if someone can come up with it):

1. Yes we can walk away, but Jesus comes to get us as in the parable of the Lost sheep (Holy Spirit convicts of sin). The sheep does not perish as Christ said "never perish."

2. What people consider 'free choice or will' walking away is due to outside agents influencing the sheep to sin and become hardened. All this would accomplish is bring us back to the external elements argument which then brings us back to the direct big bold red letters of Christ:

and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

Therefore, if the argument is 'we can walk away' then we create quite a conundrum with the direct big bold red letters of Christ where He says 'and they will never perish.'

We should also take note that earlier in John 10, where Jesus begins the Sheep discourse, He says thus:

7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The 'Truly, truly' preface is important to note. Jesus is affirming He is the door of the sheep. As growing up a city boy, I never really got this passage until helping sons growing up in Texas with raising livestock. As the door here Jesus is telling the audience He is the Shepherd. The audience did not get that so he spells it out for them. As establishing Himself in word as the Shepherd He is telling the audience He is responsible for all the sheep. For city folk this may not be abundantly clear, but if you leave the stable door open or closed and not lock it, you will spending the better half of a day looking for the animal.

(Believe it or not the only animal that does not wander in our experience were pigs. They showed up at the door. But Jesus could not use an unclean animal to make a positive point.)

The livestock experience also taught me something as well. When you have domesticated livestock, eventually they get hungry and come back to get food. But you don't want that to happen as they get sick, so you go out and get them as soon as possible.

A trivial note on understanding ranching and livestock? It explains why Matthew had two donkeys going with Jesus and not one. You never separate the "Jenny" (mother) from the Colt until well after 6 months. The Colt will not move without being in earshot or site of the Jenny.

Matthew 7: NASB
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

1 John 2: NASB
18Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.


1 John 1:5-10 is a letter written to CHRISTIANS.

1 John 1: NASB
5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Yes the letter is for a Christian church. What is not clear is if John is speaking of those in the Church. He could as there are wheat and tares in the visible church. Also the walking in light, or darkness resembles Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus:

John 3: NASB
16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Are both passages warnings? Absolutely. Do both address the sanctification process of a sealed believer? Highly doubtful.

Bolded red underlined above....A very stark comparison! We either Love Jesus or hate Him.
 
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So I'll stick to the points I think are interesting and mutually beneficial.

Our reading of Romans 7 is similar but not quite the same. My take is that it is, yes, Paul speaking of what it was like before becoming a Christian (a 'pre-Christian reading) AND that it is Paul making the point that this is what it would be like for any Christian who wants to go back to Law. He is saying something like, "Well, if you want to go back to Law, remember what it was like. This is what it was like before you became a Christian. If you go back to Law, then it'll be like that again." So our reading is similar except I attach a sort-of double-meaning to it.

Well, I see Romans 7:14-24 as how Paul is sharing his past experience as a Pharisee (Before he was a Christian) in his struggle with the Old Law. I believe Paul is sharing this experience as a way to talk to the Messianic Jews who thought about going back (or who had already had went back) to the 613 Old Testament Law of Moses (so as to be saved). In other words, Paul was trying to attack the popular false religion at that time (Which was mixing God's grace (Belief in Jesus) with the necessity of keeping the Law of Moses for salvation).

You said:
With that out of the way, the reason why I don't buy that when Paul speaks of Law he ALWAYS means Jewish Law is because of the book of Colossians.

Paul makes similar statements in Colossians as he does in Galatians and Romans, except here he speaks of "human tradition", whereas the Law was instituted by God.

Further on he says this:

It appears to me that Paul is mixing traditions here. He is speaking of the Sabbath but also speaking of asceticism.

The point is that, it seems to me, the Law serves as an example of trying to accomplish salvation by works.

The Old Law is No More.

At one time, the Old Law (When the Old Covenant used to be in effect) was necessary as a part of the faith, but when Jesus died upon the cross, the 613 Old Testament Laws were no longer in effect. Granted, certain Moral Laws (Like: "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not commit adultery," etc.) have appeared to have carry over into the New Covenant (But they are not attached with death penalties if they are broken by an individual). Instead, the commands given to us by Jesus and His followers in the New Testament went into effect (at His death). Hebrews 7:12 says the Law has changed. We are under a New Covenant, with New Commands.


(Here are list of verses telling us that the Old Law is no more):

7 "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious." (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).

"When God speaks of a "new" covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear." (Hebrews 8:13) (NLT).

"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:6).

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" (Colossians 2:14).

20 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using; ) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
(Colossians 2:20-23).

“By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.” (Ephesians 2:15) (AMPC).

"The old [former] rule [commandment; regulation] is now set aside [nullified; abolished], because it was weak and useless [ineffective]." (Hebrews 7:18) (EXB).

9 “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” (Hebrews 9:9-10).

8 “Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” (Hebrews 10:8-9).

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts of the Apostles 15:1).

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts of the Apostles 15:5).

“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment” (Acts of the Apostles 15:24).

28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts of the Apostles 15:28-29).


The Old Covenant says this about circumcision:
"And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant." (Genesis 17:14).


Yet, the New Covenant says this about circumcision:
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." (Galatians 5:2).


The Old Covenant says this about the Sabbath:
32 "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses." (Numbers 15:32-36).

Yet, the New Covenant says this about the Sabbath:
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:" (Colossians 2:16).

So it appears things have changed.
This makes sense because Hebrews 7:12 says the Law has changed.

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
(John 1:17).
 
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Paul makes similar statements in Colossians as he does in Galatians and Romans, except here he speaks of "human tradition", whereas the Law was instituted by God.

Further on he says this:

It appears to me that Paul is mixing traditions here. He is speaking of the Sabbath but also speaking of asceticism.

Colossians 2 speaks of how unsaved people have a conscious and a law of their own (See Colossians 2:14-16.). Paul speaks of the Law as an example, but he does not mean we are free from the Law but still bound by some other law. The fact of the matter is people come up with new laws of their own all the time. "Don't listen to secular music", "don't dance", "don't play cards", "don't vote for democrats," "don't vote for Republicans," and, as Paul said, "do not taste, do not touch." Interestingly, he lists such rules as coming from 'elemental spirits' and not from God.

But perhaps the best point to be made is found in Colossians 1 and your reference to the Law not being in reference to the Law of Moses:

As for Colossians:

Well, for one, the word "law" does not appear in Colossians. The closest thing is the reference to "ordinances" in Colossians 2:14. It says,

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" (Colossians 2:14).

This is in reference to the ceremonial laws in the Old Testament Law of Moses like the Sabbaths and the dietary laws. Christ had nailed to the cross these ordinances. How so? Colossians 2:16-17 says,

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

Meaning the Law is like a shadow (that passes away) and the person who casts that shadow is Jesus Christ.

Two, as for Colossians 2:18-19: Paul is warning us about a certain Messianic Jewish cult (Who believe we must keep the Law of Moses for salvation, and who believe in angel worship). Paul is saying in Colossians 2:14 that Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances and nailed them to the cross. Yet, these Jews (who believe in Jesus) believe in keeping the dietary law and the sabbaths and they believe in angel worship (oddly enough). This is not proof that the Law is not always referring to the Law. This is merely a new heresy whereby the Jews (Who believed in Jesus) had went back to the Old Law for salvation and they added a new false belief to their arsenal of self destruction by also worshiping angels, too.

You said:
The exhortation is to continue in faith. To remain stable and steadfast in faith, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel. We do not remain steadfast in our works but in our faith, and by doing so our hearts move toward perfect love which makes our actions those actions of perfect love (going beyond the law.)

Galatians, as you know, specifically says you are not perfected by the flesh. (Yes, I also mean entire sanctification.) It says "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3.) Paul clearly means trying to be moral by the flesh rather than the Spirit. ("Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?" - Galatians 3:2). Given how Paul treats these concepts in Colossians, it would be rational to believe that Paul means any kind of moral or spiritual work done 'in the flesh' is no good and does not justify, ultimately perfect, or gain anyone any element of salvation.

It's rational to make this statement because if God's Law is not good enough, why would any other law be good enough? Obviously laws like "don't dance" and "don't play cards" will be even less good enough. So which laws apply? The Ten Commandments? Including the one to keep the seventh day holy? Or will we pick and choose which of the Ten is to be kept 'spiritually' and which are to be kept literally?

Obedience does not get you obedience. Faith gets you obedience. Aristotle would disagree, of course, but I don't believe Paul or Peter or James would. I don't believe Luther would. And, I don't believe John Wesley would either. In fact, any good Arminian - Wesley or Arminius himself - emphasise faith over works, because they know that real faith produces real works.

I'm in agreement that obedience is important but I don't believe obedience necessary for salvation. Salvation = a free obedience from love. The process of salvation in itself frees the individual from obedience having to be a necessity or duty to obedience simply becoming a free expression of love to God and others. This is what Wesley meant about 'perfect love' and what 'entire sanctification' is all about, isn't it? A free, perfect love that obeys not out of necessity but in freedom. A heart fully oriented toward God, steadfast in faith, and believing God for all things, in all things, and for all things.

As for obedience:
Well, obedience is the result of the foundation of our faith (Which is God's grace, i.e. Jesus Christ). We are initially and ultimately saved by Jesus Christ when we seek His forgiveness, an we believe in His death and resurrection for salvation. Obedience then flows from God's grace (Jesus). For a believer's fruit (deeds) is proof that Jesus lives on inside of them; And without a person abiding in Jesus there is no eternal life for them (See 1 John 5:12).

Anyways, while we are initially and ultimately saved by God's grace, the Bible also teaches that we are saved by God directed works done through us, too.


“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24).

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18).

"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16).

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, "(1 Timothy 6:3-4).

"...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6).

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2).

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Hebrews 5:9).

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).

“...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13).

"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." (1 Corinthians 16:22).

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15).

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10).

"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:38).

”If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).

"...No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62).

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8).

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21).

"But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:8-11).

”And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Revelation 22:12-15).

"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:20).

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” (Romans 11:21-22).

"...but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17).

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12).

“...And having become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end, everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22).

”Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:34-40).

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:41-46).

”His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21).

”And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30).

”Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation [i.e. as the people of Israel did when they rebelled against him in the desert.”] (Hebrews 3:12-15) (Note: The explanation on verse 15 in brackets is taken from the Living Bible Translation (TLB)).

”Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)” (Hebrews 3:10-11).

”Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:11).

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 John 3:10).

“He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47).

Side Note:

As for Romans 2 in regards to the Gentiles doing the thing contained in the Law without having the Law. This is talking about their keeping of the Moral Law (like do not murder, abuse children, steal, etc.) naturally as a part of their genetic wiring by God. Today, you can turn on the news and see how unbelievers report on the crimes of others (i.e. the breaking of the moral law). Granted, sin has tainted our world and men have become desensitized to certain sins (Whereby they do not see that they are wrong). But most of the unbelieving world agrees that murder, rape, theft, abuse of children, etc. is really wrong. Paul brings this point up because he says everyone will be judged by their works.
 
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I would rather say, we are to live obedient to have a saving relationship. If we don't do what we are called to do, we don't live in a relationship with Christ and are cut off. So it's not that much of working our way to salvation, but it's more doing what we are supposed to do as children of God, to keep us being saved in the end.


Again, that is mixing salvation with discipleship. It is entirely by the grace and mercy of God in Christ, by faith that we are saved and stay saved. (We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption). Our own obedience will always fall short, this is why we are saved by the obedience of ONE. Jesus will never address anyone with the words "I once knew you but then you were cut off because you weren't a perfectly obedient child." What He will say is "I never knew you". (And He says this to those who trusted in their "many wonderful works" done in His name to save them.)


It's not really that we contribute to our salvation, but like I said, doing what we are supposed to do in a relationship with the Most High.

Yes, we do what we are supposed to do, and with joy as it is our "reasonable service." To say that our obedience is what is necessary to keep us saved, however, is in fact saying that we do contribute to our own salvation. There is no other way to put it. If our own obedience is necessary for us to be saved, then we must in fact earn our own salvation. (Which means, by default, that Christ didn't do enough on the cross, as more is apparently needed from us.)

It almost sounds like you don't believe we who believe in "faith + obedience" are saved. Maybe you like to say something about that? Do you really believe we are guilty of such a terrible sin, as "trample the Son of God underfoot"?

I have no idea as I cannot see anyone else's heart. Many who are truly saved fall into error and back into bondage, which is precisely what Paul writes to the Galatians about. (Galatians 5 specifically).
 
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2 Corinthians 4:16
16Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

Here is what John Calvin has to say about the above verse.

Though our outward man. The outward man, some improperly and ignorantly confound with the old man, for widely different from this is the old man, of which we have spoken in [36]Romans 4:6. Chrysostom, too, and others restrict it entirely to the body; but it is a mistake, for the Apostle intended to comprehend, under this term, everything that relates to the present life. As he here sets before us two men, so you must place before your view two kinds of life -- the earthly and the heavenly. The outward man is the maintenance of the earthly life, which consists not merely in the flower of one's age, (1 Corinthians 7:36,) and in good health, but also in riches, honors, friendships, and other resources. [492] Hence, according as we suffer a diminution or loss of these blessings, which are requisite for keeping up the condition of the present life, is our outward man in that proportion corrupted. For as we are too much taken up with the present life, so long as everything goes on to our mind, the Lord, on that account, by taking away from us, by little and little, the things that we are engrossed with, calls us back to meditate on a better life. Thus, therefore, it is necessary, that the condition of the present life should decay, [493] in order that the inward man may be in a flourishing state; because, in proportion as the earthly life declines, does the heavenly life advance, at least in believers. For in the reprobate, too, the outward man decays, [494] but without anything to compensate for it. In the sons of God, on the other hand, a decay of this nature is the beginning, and, as it were, the cause of production. He says that this takes place daily, because God continually stirs us up to such meditation. Would that this were deeply seated in our minds, that we might uninterruptedly make progress amidst the decay of the outward man!
Thanks. What point are you making by quoting Calvin?
 
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