Graham wrote:However, nor can I deny the amount of times that Scripture directly calls me to be responsible for my works. 'I need to put off the works of the flesh' is a clear message so often in Paul's epistles. When asked what to do to attain salvation, Jesus did not ONLY reply "Believe in me". He also answered with things like, "Give all away and follow me", "Obey the commandments", "Let men deny themselves, take up their cross
Graham, there's no need to apologize. You've not "come on too strong," just a little wrong. Sorry, I couldn't help rhyming it. Your know us writers. we're hopeless logophiles.
But, on a more serious note, I revisited Romans 6 after you mentioned the "works of flesh." I cannot reconcile needing to put off the works of the flesh to improve our salvation status with what Paul says: "We are now slaves of righteousness, no more slaves to unrighteousness."
In Romans 7, He writes in the past tense. "For when we were
in the flesh.
As for giving all away and following Christ, or denying oneself, when reading the context I do not believe it has anything to do with salvation, but with discipleship.
Salvation is simply believing that Jesus died on the cross, and accepting His forgiveness for sin. "Giving all away, taking up our cross, denying ourself, and being obedient to His commandments" has to do with discipleship - the act of being a disciple/follower that comes after salvation
not as a requisite for salvation, or a condition for keeping it. If we want to be His disciple
, his follower, then we must do these things. Christ didn't say, "if you're saved, keep my commandments." There's a reason for that. He knows that all we do, no matter how often and how diligent we are to do it, we cannot do enough to please the Father.
He said, "If ( a supposition that what He's saying is already true, and could be replaced with "since") you love me, then keep my commandments."
I believe the bar for salvation is far simpler. Christ made it so when He died. He satisfied God's requirements for our salvation. It's up to us to satisfy His demands for being a disciple. Once again, that's where the "process" comes in.
P.S. I really didn't mean you were wrong, even though I disagree with you. I was waxing poetic at your expense. Now, I must ask for forgiveness.