Thank you for the time you took responding to my post. There are a few areas of disagreement but I am not certain what benefit it would have to rehash them. I may write on a couple of those areas of disagreement at a later time, but not very compelled at this point to do so.
You continue to bash what you call Reform or Calvinistic understandings. I call them Scriptural, SM. And every thing posted by me has Scriptural support, notwithstanding your view that my views are not supported by Scripture.
Actually, you haven't posted very many passages of Scripture that "support" your claims at all. I address Reformed theology as I do because, in truth, not in my opinion, they are as about as Scriptural as Mormonism or the Watchtower Society. Sure, they use the Bible and Scripture, but their use of Scripture violates practically every principle and rule of Biblical Hermeneutics there is...do you, Segell, REALLY believe that God has predestined billions upon billions of people to eternal suffering JUST because He chose them for that purpose? I hope you say no, but I am waiting...
We both make the point that obedience is of vital importance in the life of a Christian. We just disagree over the purposes of obedience. You seem to think the purpose of our obedience is for our salvation and continued covenantal standing. I believe the purposes of our obedience is directed to and for the glory of Christ. If I am incorrect, kindly correct my misunderstanding of your view.
This is what I told TS...I think you are looking at the Gospel from a distance - a panoramic view...while I am looking at the details. On most points we agree, but when it comes to the details, you disagree because you are still looking at the picture from back aways, while I have it under a microscope. Here is my holding...
1. Scripture demonstrates that one must choose to believe in Christ and then place his trust in Him (John 3:16 and others).
2. Scripture demonstrates that one must then choose to repent from his previous sinful lifestyle, if he does not repent, but just believes, then his faith is futile. This is supported not only by John 3:16 (when Greek Grammar is applied to the translation), but also other passages, like Mark 1:15 (a command), Luke 13:3, 5; even by Paul in Acts 26:20 and then in Acts 17:30.
3. Scripture demonstrates that eternal life is found ONLY in Christ (John 1:4; I John 5:11, and others).
4. Scripture demonstrate that if one is not in Christ (or has Christ), then he does not have eternal life (I John 5:12 and others).
5. Scripture demonstrates that one enters Christ (and therefore the New Covenant) through water baptism (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27).
6. When one enters the Covenant they have the atonement of Christ applied to their lives, which consists of the elements of righteousness, holiness, justification, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation (the Scriptural definition of salvation, which is saved from sin (Matthew 1:21), not the Reformed definition - salvation is used synonymously as eternal life is a few passages, and failure to distinguish between those instances leads to false teaching about the nature of salvation and eternal life).
7. Scripture demonstrates that one remains abiding in Christ (and therefore the New Covenant) by walking in obedience to Christ/God (I John 3:23-24; John 14:23, and others)
8. Scriptures (and archeological discoveries into Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, which directly impacts our understanding of the New Covenant because it is an ANE covenant) demonstrate that obedience to the Law of Christ (which is covenant law) does NOT give anyone eternal life, it only keeps one abiding in the legal covenant relationship with God. This is akin to you remaining in the legal covenant marriage relationship with your spouse...it does not automatically cause her to love you, and neither does abiding in the covenant automatically cause God to give one eternal life. The legal aspect of the relationship only makes possible the attaining of eternal life, which still comes as a free gift to those who remain abiding in the covenant...in Christ.
Again...details, not the big picture. I do not advocate that obedience to God gives anyone eternal life, the same as you do not. Obedience saves no one. obedience to the covenant law only keeps one abiding in the covenant so that he can engage God in intimate relationship, and in that relationship is found eternal life.
This is how it goes according to the Scriptures...
A man must choose to want God, then he must repent and receive water baptism into the covenant. At that moment he has the atonement applied to his life, he is cleansed from his former sins (II Peter 1:9) and forgiven, he has the imputed righteousness and holiness of Christ applied to his life, upon these two elements of the atonement God declares him justified, he now is redeemed and reconciled to God, no longer an enemy of God. The atoning blood of Christ brings salvation (deliverance from past sins), which is not to be confused with the term whenever it is sparingly used as synonymous for eternal life, such as in Hebrews 5:9.
The New Covenant is law-based, just as the Old Covenant was (Jeremiah 31:33), only the law is applied in a different modality - through the Spirit. Therefore, the New Covenant has covenant law (the law of Christ) which is to be obeyed in order to remain abiding in the Covenant. We see this in passages where the phrase "in Christ" represents not only Christ, but Christ as the living New Covenant (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8). The imputed righteousness and holiness of Christ does NOT negate the believer's responsibility to obey God's commandments of the New Covenant (I John 3:23-24), and when we take the WHOLE Word of God into account, the above is ratified.
Again, we see this even in the details of a simple passage, John 3:16...
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The word "believes" is pisteuo, in the Present Active Participle verb form, which means that one is believing and continues to believe. That aspect right there demonstrates that "once saved, always saved" doctrine is from unknowledgeable men of the past - NOT from Scripture. Then we also take into account the fact that the text says "should not" perish but have eternal life. "Should not" is the word "me" (μὴ) which is a conditional and dependent particle of negation...that means that one who believes has eternal life IF he meets at least one other condition. That condition is not singular, but involves repentance, water baptism, and obedience...according to the Scriptures.
I believed like you do at one time, but then I began educating myself and learned that what we believe according to the black and white word on page in our Bibles was NOT accurately told to us. This one passage alone demonstrates the fallacy of Reformed teaching...and then consider this. In every passage where this similar phraseology is utilized (he who believes has eternal life, or may have life, or should not perish - such as John 5:24; 6:40; 6:47) follows this same grammatical sleeve - whoever believes and continues to believe, as well as the (μὴ) grammar.
Each one of these demonstrates the fallacy of "grace and faith alone" doctrine of men...and that's just the beginning.
I hope that helps. We both believe that obedience does not give a person eternal life; we both believe that a man is saved (from his sin) through grace and faith alone, but part of the problem is that you take passages with the term "saved" and "salvation" to mean eternal life when it does not, that confuses the issue in your mind. And then, I look at the details and you are looking at it from a distance...but the facts are still the same, they don't change just because I use a microscope.