I’m very sorry for responding off the cuff without reading the whole thread. I tried to edit this post, but I took so long about it (it didn’t help that my daughter is crying and I’m warming milk to feed her) that the 20-minute time limit passed.
Clearly, as Mr. Staples has said, you have misunderstood him. I am very relieved to find this, because frankly what you are saying is heresy. It’s not remotely close to a Christian theology of salvation.
You have bought into the false claim by some Protestants that if Jesus died for all of our sins then our cooperation with divine grace (except in the mere act of accepting His finished work) is irrelevant. This is the premise you should be challenging, not the premise that Jesus died for all our sins (which is a central truth of the Christian Faith).
If these Protestants were correct, it would follow that even our act of accepting Christ’s finished work was unnecessary. They essentially believe that we are saved by one easy work–accepting Christ’s sacrifice. This view is absurd and un-Biblical.
A more reasonable view is that of some Calvinists, who say that Christ died for all the elect by name. This doesn’t make our response unnecessary, but it does ensure that we will respond. In other words, once Christ has purchased us on the Cross, he then works in us by the Holy Spirit so that we repent, believe, do good works, etc. The problem with this view is that it implies one of two propositions:
Christ did not die for everyone, which is morally repellent and contrary to Scripture and historic Christianity; or
Everyone will be saved, which is an appealing proposition but is also contrary to Scripture (at least in the form “everyone inevitably will be saved” which is implied here).
What we need to question is the proposition that human and divine activity are an either/or. It seems to me that Scripture teaches that it’s a both/and. See Philippians 2–we are to work out our salvation because it is Christ who works in us. That is the key to your dilemma, I think.
I apologize to Mr. Staples for my premature and thoughtless response.