Do you believe in the Calvinist doctrine, that it takes a direct operation of the Spirit to influence the heart of an alien sinner? I believe that it’s the word preached that influences that heart, causes it to be pricked. It’s the human heart that must decide if it will believe the message given and obey.
I do not believe in Calvinist double predestination. I’m an Arminian. Ish. Not exactly Arminian, but close enough.
Why then must there be a direct operation of the Spirit to keep the Christian faithful?
Why must there be a “must” in your question? Why must something be essential to be true? Why do you assume a black and white world?
Jesus himself describes the Spirit as the “Helper.” So why would it be so bad if God gave us some help to make it to the end?
The question isn’t whether the Spirit is essential but whether the Spirit would be helpful. If God himself, through the Spirit, wants to enter our hearts and help us make it, why would that be a bad thing? Even if it’s not necessary? Even if it’s only helpful?
When I travel, I turn my GPS on. But before the GPS was invented, I traveled without a GPS. I just got lost a lot more. The GPS wasn’t essential. But it’s sure helpful. And I’m glad for it. So why not be glad that God wants to help us obey so that we can live with God forever?
See how far removed this kind of thinking is from Calvinism and anti-Calvinism? The NT was not written to teach for Calvinism or against Calvinism. Calvinism was invented in the 16th Century, one thousand five hundred years after Jesus. The Spirit came to be our Helper — just like Jesus said. It’s just not complicated.
As Thomas Dohling pointed out better than me, Eph 5:18 says for us to be filled with the Spirit. Col 3:16 tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. Why can’t both be true? Who dares tell anyone that he must choose one or the other? By what right? The word helps. The Spirit helps. This is not the least contradictory. I need all the help I can get.
Is the word enough to get us into heaven? It’s an irrelevant question. The proper question is: Did God promise his Spirit to help us get into heaven — and do we believe his promise?
You impose standards that God and the Bible do not impose. There is simply no requirement that the Spirit be essential for the Spirit to be true — because God isn’t required to do as little as possible to help us. He’s not required to do only what he must — as though God were bound by some Church of Christ rulebook. He makes the rules. He is the rules. And because he loves us so much, we should expect him to do far above and beyond only what we need.
Now, there’s an argument to be made that the Spirit is essential. There are also arguments the other way. I really don’t care either way. I just believe that it’s true, that he’s given to help us, and I’m glad for all the help I can get.
Those who feel no need for help need to check their pride.