There are two sides to every coin. In Christian thought we consistently see either/or contrasts of ideas and thoughts just like the coin that has two sides, (when flipped) results in an either/or of choices. Jesus used paradoxes and dichotomies of ideas in all of His teachings. The problem with the either/or of Christian thought is that the solution is not always as clear cut as flipping a coin with the obvious outcome being "heads or tails".
One Christian will adamantly contend that the side of the coin they called is the only valid "truth" while the other Christian contends that the reverse side is the only acceptable position. Both, unwilling to consider the other side may express some truths that are acceptable and Biblical.
How we all wish arriving at truth were as simple as tossing a coin. It's just not that simple when it comes to Christian thought.
Look at the duality of our world. Hot and cold, light and dark, up and down, left and right, bitter and sweet. Even in physics the earth would fly across the universe and never stop if two forces were not pulling particles of matter in opposite directions at the same time. The air we breath is mostly made up of oxygen (21%) and nitrogen (78%). These two gases of opposite qualities put together sustain life on earth. If we breathed one of them alone we would die. Sodium and Clorine are the two substances that make up salt, each one alone would destroy us.
Thus it is, oftentimes with Truth. Calvinism and Arminianism are extremes, both of which contain truth but alone distort the truth of God. Somewhere in the middle is always the balance.
The accusation against extreme Arminianism is that it places all responsibility on man and makes him completely independent of God. God's foreknowledge and omnipotence takes a back seat to man's independence.
And Calvinism, taken to the extreme completely immerses the responsibility of man into passivity which often fosters spiritual paralysis and verges on making God the author of sin.
Are these "two sides of the coin" our only choices? If we can't reconcile these two thoughts we are free to pick whichever one we desire? Does this not result in unbelief? Do both contain aspects of truth, and like salt, and the air we breath sustain life and conversely one taken over the other, result in death?
In physics every action has its counter action. The same is true in matters of spirituality. Good and evil, life and death, blessing and cursing, obedience and disobedience, love and selfishness, heaven and hell, etc., etc.
Without the positive and negative electrical fields we would be walking in the dark.
We see all of these things immediately in Genesis. Order out of disorder, God separates light and darkness, creates male and female, shows us two contrasting trees (tree of life and tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Gives Adam a choice between obedience and rebellion, life or death, blessing or curses. You could say the Bible in the very beginning teaches us the law of opposites. The opposites taken together teach us the whole truth.
Is Christianity, pure objectivity or is there a necessary ingredient of subjectivity? We have been declared righteous. Are we not also to experience righteousness in our lives? Is righteousness merely a legal statement or are we to experience the change of heart attitudes and conformity to the character of Jesus Christ? Is Jesus Christ just a Jesus of history or is He also the indwelling Christ (in us) of experience? Is salvation a legal standing that makes us safe from hell, or is salvation to be experienced in our lives as the saving life of Christ indwelling us to overcome the power of sin and addictions? So, you see we need both the objective and subjective thought of Christianity. Both sides of the coin, not just one side.
We have liberty in Christ, but not to cause others to stumble. The "Son has set us free", but not to disrespect others. Freedom has context. We are free in Christ, but not to cause others to sin or give offense to a brother.
You are "in Christ", yet "Christ is in you". We have been brought into union with the living Lord Jesus as He enters the spirit of the believer. Yet, He only enters if we receive Him (John 1:12).
We are joined in one-spirit with the Spirit of Christ, yet Jesus Christ and the Christian remain as distinct, individual personalities. He does not obliterate our personality.
I Cor. 6:17 - he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
Rom. 8:16 - Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we’re children of God
Gal. 2:20 - "no longer I live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME..."
Gal. 2:20 - "Christ lives in me ... the life I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH I LIVE BY FAITH..."
Jesus has perfected us yet we are sinful.
Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
I John 1:8 - If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us
I Cor. 1:30 - Christ became to us rightousness
Gal. 5:17 - flesh sets its desires against Spirit
Notice the extremes? Perfectionism on one side, perpetual sinful depravity on the other side. Christ is the new man in me and cannot sin, "thus I cannot sin" is another extreme. The polar opposite is the false religious idea of self generated righteous behavior. Do your best and God will take care of the rest or God helps those who help themselves.
We must see the balance of truth in the scriptures. Living in either extreme will eventually make us shipwreck on the rocks of extremity.
II Cor 4:10,11 says the "life of Jesus manifested in us", yet Phil 2:12 tells says to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling".
Many try to "be like Jesus", while others say that man must just get out of the way and let God express Himself through man. "Just go with the flow". We are commanded to "walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:25) even though our "adequacy is of God". (II Cor 3:5). I Thess 5:24 says, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it", yet we have Romans 1:5, "obedience to the faith".
Gal. 5:17 - “the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit”
Gal. 5:17 - “the Spirit sets its desires against the flesh”
So, we cannot live the Christian life by self-effort and neither can we say "I can't help but sin, I am only human". Of course the other extreme is to take the position that since the Spirit of Christ lives in me, and He cannot sin, I don’t have to worry about sinning. "Whatever I do is Christ working in me."
On one hand, we are the light and salt of the world, yet on another, Jesus Christ tells us not to be bound together with unbelievers and to come out from their midst and be separate. Every issue in Christian thought has more than one perspective and there is a balance of both sides of the coin. Only the Holy Spirit can divide the Word correctly for us to walk out His Word in proper context in our lives.
One side of the coin:
John 6:37 - "one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."
John 10:28,29 - "no one shall snatch them out of My hand."
Rom. 11:29 - "gifts and calling of God are without change of mind"
Heb. 13:5 - "I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you."
I Cor. 1:8 - "Jesus Christ shall confirm you to the end"
Phil. 1:6 - "He will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Heb. 12:2 - "Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith"
I Pet. 1:5 - "protected by the power of God."
The other side of the coin:
I Tim. 4:1 - "some will fall away from the faith"
Heb. 3:12 - "falling away from the living God"
Heb. 6:4-6 - "tasted of heavenly gift and then fallen away"
John 15:6 - "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away.."
I Cor. 9:27 - "lest I should be disqualified"
Gal. 5:4 - "you have been severed from Christ..fallen from grace"
II Pet. 2:20,21 - "last state is worst than the first"
Salvation is not a one-time commodity or event that we come to own as our own because we have executed certain procedures (prayed a prayer, walked the aisle, baptism, follow rules and regulations, adhere to certain belief systems, etc., etc.). Salvation is a Person that we continually abide in and be receptive to His divine life and activity in ours. In order for the Savior to be active in us, we must choose to walk in harmony with Him and His word, everyday (obedience, submission, fellowship). Salvation is never a static event.
Even a slave can run away from his owner no matter how benevolent and kind his owner is.