I read your article regarding the role of obedience in salvation. Very interesting.
I would have to agree with some of your take on obedience as long as it doesn't take away from the redeeming work of Christ.
How does one deal with a difference of opinion on what obedience is and what it is not? My Adventist friend calls my denial of Sabbath not only disobedience but outright rebellion against God. He calls himself obedient because he keeps the letter of the ten commandments.
I, on the other hand, feel there is much more to the law than the Ten Commandments and I learn more of what sin is as I get older. Jesus talked about adultery and murder of the heart, oaths, sorcery etc. Therefore, I could never keep all of God's commands perfectly.
So, what exactly is obedience?
"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:1-3).
"If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).
I'm curious how you can come to the conclusion that obeying Jesus Christ somehow takes away from Jesus' gift to mankind. Jesus offers everyone a gift of eternal life, a gift beyond imagination. In response to that, we express our love and appreciation by truly making him Lord in our lives -- we obey our king.
How do you obey the rules of the road that your government puts into place? How do you obey the laws of the land? You certainly don't tell the judge the laws are too complicated. You won't get far by saying well my friend thinks the law should say this and I think it should say that, so I'm just going to ignore the whole thing.
Do different people have different takes on any law, be it man's or God's? Obviously. So how are differences settled? By going back to the law and seeing what is actually said. Your Adventist friend ignores God's statements that the law of Moses, which includes the Ten Commandments, was to be replaced with a new law. "Then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9). There is quite a bit of material on this site regarding the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath Day, so you can refer to these two links to learn more. Open up your Bible and read the passages and see what God actually says about the matter and then start living by what you've learned from God.
God makes no request for perfect or flawless obedience. Instead, He tells us, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10). What God requires of us is not to stay in our sins. Every one of us has sinned. Some people wallow in it, but the Christian is disgusted by it and strives to do something about removing sin from his life.
The fact that we will sin doesn't mean we accept sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). It is true that you haven't and you won't keep God's law perfectly. That is why any man trying to earn his salvation on his own merits will fail. But to do nothing about your sins is a failure too. "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). A failure to obey God means you don't really, truly believe Him. "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:14-17).
First, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. It is a generous gift of your time!
Second, I don't believe obedience takes away from the atoning work of Christ unless someone thinks their obedience earns salvation. My Adventist friend drifts dangerously close to salvation by works in my opinion and that ongoing debate is the basis for my comment.
It sounds like we agree completely. I understood salvation by grace at age 18. When I finally embraced repentance and obedience about 8 years ago, the blessings have been indescribable. I am far more obedient today than yesterday and, with the help of the Spirit, a little better tomorrow. But certainly never perfect.
Again, it sounds like we are on the "same page" although I envy your ability to express yourself.
Regarding Sabbath, the Spirit seems to tell me I'm fine celebrating The Lord's Day rather than the original Jewish Sabbath. I will review the material on your website.
Thank you again and if I ever get to Nebraska, I'll see you in church. If not, God willing, I'll meet you in paradise.