Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
- Omar Khayyam
I told you how I grew up in a church and world where everything was the responsibility of man. For a little boy, that was a heavy load. For anyone, really. God was nowhere in the picture, except as one who would someday judge us, based on how well we would do. Duty, and its attendant guilt, was everywhere. We were marinated in it.
But isn't this what Christianity teaches? Now here comes the tricky part. Christianity--the formal religion part--often does teach us that the outcome of things are our responsibility. For instance, salvation is up to us to accomplish--an unending job. Unless you want to go to hell, better shape up, try to get a good score on your behavior. You might make it. Keep trying.
How did a little boy know that this was a form of "behavior mod"? Over three decades were to pass before I was to learn that this was a lie. At first, it seemed that grace, election, and foreordination were nothing but heretical doctrines. Yes, much of what we do is our responsibility and yields heavenly rewards. But salvation is predetermined and completely beyond our control.
I love to refer to the great prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24. Are these calamities--so great that, without God's intervention, all life would perish--avoidable? Could they be nullified by human effort?
As an Adamic race, we are doomed, no matter what we do. But through the grace of God, some will survive. These have been chosen before the world was made. That is why Jesus calls them the "elect".