Might as well start 2014 off with a bang! Scripture reconciliation: This is what I see in the NT as to how all things fit together. God has somewhat hidden various spiritual truths in Scripture (for obvious reasons). First things first: The easy-believism verses must mean that “believe” refers to a permanent and saving belief-faith-trust which endures until death … because 15+ NT verses absolutely and emphatically teach that it is necessary to endure! However, I will not insist that “pisteou” (believe) includes obedience. Paul’s verses about the necessity of the athlete to finish the race to receive the prize parallels the passages about believers enduring in faith until the very end for salvation. This may be revolutionary, but IMO … The NT is speaking ONLY to a select and secret group who are God’s “elect”. All of the many blessings and explanations about salvation are directed at them. And all of the warnings about falling away from the faith are also directed at them, which obviously serve a purpose. These are not lies because … if someone was to fall away permanently, they would not receive eternal life (they would not be elect). Almighty God knows all things … He has seen the end from the beginning, etc. Who is this secret “elect” group? We have a hint in Ephesians and Colossians … Paul is addressing ONLY the saints who are “faithful”. The elect were foreknown and predestined to be chosen and called to be faithful. They were chosen by God’s grace (unmerited favor), and not because of any works. The elect are called to be overcomers In Jesus’ letters to all 7 churches (in Revelation 2 & 3), He stressed the necessity of them being overcomers! And He repeats this here: Revelation 21:7 • “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. Another hint: all things include eternal life! One way the elect are overcomers is by NOT living like these people … Revelation 21:8 • “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Lists such as this describe people who are habitual and unrepentant sinners. Note: 1 John 1:7-10 explains … the elect take care of their occasional sins by confessing and repenting of them. The elect are called to overcome that which Jesus overcame … Revelation 3:21 • “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Jesus overcame Satan and his demons, temptations to sin, and what else? Scripture says the elect are called to do all of the following, and IMO they will: • have a personal relationship with God • live obediently to God’s commands • be sanctified by the Holy Spirit • live holy lives • live in righteousness • not be involved in habitual unrepentant sin Any which-way one looks at the NT realistically … relationship, fleeing from sin, obedience, and sanctification unto holiness are required for receiving eternal life. .