Josh,<br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p> I happen to know a thing or two about sheep; a good shepherd will watch for the sheep and give his life for the sheep, but sometimes sheep stray willingly. I read an account once of a man who was an excellent shepherd, and expert at protecting his sheep, but he had one ornery ewe that kept trying to find "greener pastures" (literally), every time he turned around. The sheep ended up straying from the flock and wriggling through the fence at every opportunity, and would often happily eat of dead grass and drink of polluted water just because it was on the other side of the fence (also literally). This was a big problem for the shepherd, and he tried everything to get her to stop, but he drew the line when her lambs began to pick up the same bad habits. With much grief, he took his hunting knife an killed the ewe. So while a shepherd can guard his sheep, he cannot keep them from straying if they are determined to do so. In the same way, while Christ guards His flock against the wickedness of the world, and gives us warnings and conviction to keep us from straying, there is nothing in the scripture to indicate that He will force us to remain with Him if we are determined to go our own way.<p><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>So now we are to believe that the Good Shepherd destroys his own sheep who willingly stray from him! <br><center>[Linked Image]</center> <br><center><font class="big">And some people think Calvinists are mean!!</font></center><br><br> The following quote illustrates the good Shepherd's dealing with the sheep who have strayed. The Lord disciplines those He loves so that they will share in His holiness. If he doesn't discipline them, they are not his--they are goats. The ones who hear his voice and follow Him are His. He will bring them to a godly sorrow that will lead them to repentance. <br><blockquote>Matthew 18:11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.</blockquote> <br> Luke 19:10<br><blockquote>For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.</blockquote><br>You seem to have forgotten that the sheep are his elect, and the goats are not. You are having to ignore quite a lot of scripture to continue to hold to your belief, but you seem to have no problem doing this at all.<br><br>I believe that you are guilty before God of adding on to the Word of God and taking from the Word of God in your zeal to "prove" your false doctrine-- that you are responsible for keeping yourself saved. You have denied that you believe in a "works salvation", but at the end of your days when you enter into God's presence, could you give all the glory to the God of your salvation, if you are indeed one of His elect? Whether you realize it or not, you are giving glory to another, yourself, because of your belief that it was your own enduring and your own obedience that has saved you! When we do finally see the Lord, we will all realize that we are unprofitable servants and debtors to his kindness and mercy. We will know that if Christ had not continually interceded for us and His Spirit had not given us His help, we would all have failed.<br><blockquote>Luke 17:? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' " </blockquote><br><br>May God take the scales off your eyes so you can see His truth and give the glory to the only One who deserves it.<br>Susan<br><br>