Were the Elder Brother and the Prodigal Brothers?
At least you will not say that all men are your brothers. You are very right to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God?
Your assumption, suited to your purpose of attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both are brothers. But that is a false assumption.
Though Cain and Abel are brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both are not saved. The one who came home is saved; the elder brother is not yet saved. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel.
We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
The “good works” of Christians are necessary but they are not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is conditioned on what God did at the cross and not on these works. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.
You say that “these people” think that “the only thing that matters is if you believe the five points. It doesn’t matter if you pray or witness, if you believe the five points.” Let me say, John, not only is this NOT what I think but also that neither you nor I know anybody who thinks that.
I pray for you, because I think it matters. I do not pray for you because I think that my salvation (or yours) is conditioned on my praying. I do not pray to get assurance. I pray because I have assurance.
Similarly I witness to you, because I think it matters. But not because I think my salvation is conditioned on my witnessing. Of course you are mad that anybody thinks you need witnessing to. I know the feeling.
I would be urgent with you. The gospel is different, much richer than you think it is. It is a great and wonderful thing that salvation is conditioned only on the death of Christ for the elect. What you call an unnecessary and unhelpful “qualifying” of the gospel is all about the glory of God in the gospel.
It is a great comfort for me to define sin as God defines it, and thus to confess my sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. It is false comfort to tell the sinner that he can define his sin anyway he wants, and so define the gospel any way he wants.
I am urgent because I am happy in this good news. Jesus did not die for the non-elect. If you don’t submit to the righteousness, only then will we know that there never was any righteousness for you. If there was a righteousness for you but that righteousness did not save you, then that righteousness will not save me either. There is no difference between me and any non-elect person EXCEPT that righteousness.