Thanks to all of you for the conversation related to my last post. I also appreciate those of you who are from Reformed traditions who took my comments in stride and with a grain of salt. I certainly didn't mean to give offense, but I can see how one might have taken it that way. My apologies.
And to be honest, I'm also a bit confused about the theology of my last post. I'm not sure what I was after. That's what you get with blogging and from a blog entitled "experimental theology." I actually can't believe I made an argument for a works based soteriology. Sometimes I say the strangest things...
Having lived with my post and your reactions for 24 hours let me try to articulate and summarize what I think I was trying to say:
I firmly believe that when I get to heaven God and I are going to have a very serious and detailed discussion about how I lived out the Sermon on the Mount (along with others texts such as Matthew 25 and Luke 10). And I also firmly believe that something of eternal consequence will hang in the balance.To be clear, I'm not sure what all that means. I'm not sure I can tell you what "hanging in the balance" will look like. Nor can I tell you what that "something" is that is hanging in the balance. Eternal damnation? Purgatory? Postmortem sanctification? A slap on the wrist? A stern lecture? A time out?
I don't know how to make the Sermon eternally matter within the traditional soteriological systems (Arminian or Reformed). I don't know how to make the Sermon eternally matter without painting myself into the works-based soteriological corner of my last post.
But I am convinced that the Sermon will matter, in some eternal sense. There will be consequences. As Jesus taught, the standards I use judge others here on earth will come back to judge me. Something, and I'm not sure what, hangs in the balance.
Does this mean that, if I screw up in this life relative to the Sermon, that I'm doomed? I don't think so. The Sermon is too high a mountain to climb. So failure is going to be the norm. But something will happen to me in relation to this teaching. I don't think it will be damnation, but there will be consequences. As Jesus said: "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Does anyone know how this will look? Not that I know of. Does any tradition have the system that makes all these pieces perfectly fit together? Not that I know of.
But I can't shake the conviction that the Sermon matters. That it will be there at the end. That something of eternal consequence will hang in the balance.