About our relationship with God and our salvation


#1

A thought just entered my mind very recently :newidea: . I was thinking, isnt our relationship with God comparable (basically speaking, of course) to school. What I mean is, have you ever had a teacher who during the first class, said something like: “Okay guys, I want you to know that everyone in my class starts of with an A+, so therfore if you don’t perform, follow the class rules or meet my standards your grade will be lower. But otherwise you will maintain the A+.”

Isnt that above example a bit like the Christian (and probably others’) view of salvation? I mean since Jesus made the perfect sacrifice 2000 yrs ago, when each person was born from then on, he/she was pretty much guaranteed Heaven (considering that Limbo is no longer a theory taught by the Church). Therefore, isnt it a bit depressing when one thinks that since we were born, the only way we can go is downward, so to speak, unless one was able to maintain the innocence of a very young child? Or put in another way, a great deal of people will not maintain that level of perfection in the sight of God during their lives as they were as an infant.


#2

Salvation is a gift from God, it cannot be earned like an A+.

Even if your teacher says…

Okay guys, I want you to know that everyone in my class starts of with an A+, so therfore if you don’t perform, follow the class rules or meet my standards your grade will be lower. But otherwise you will maintain the A+

… you still have work to do to earn that A+.

I wanted to respond to this question because I often fall into the thinking that I am out in the world trying to earn my A+, forgetting that it is a gift that cannot be earned. Where the school analogy works is that, with our Baptism, we start out in God’s grace, which would mean our salvation. Where it starts to fall apart is that our failings aren’t summed up against us in a way that could spell out ultimate failure in the loss of salvation. We always have repentance as an option and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Schools will only go so far with extra credit, exam retakes, etc.

Also, if you liken those works we do for God to the classwork, the analogy seems to work well. But this is the point where I would start thinking of those works being necessary for salvation, which they are not. Works are necessary to demonstrate faith. I cannot accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, then lead a life of unrepentant serial killing, and expect salvation. However, if I kill many people, but on my death bed I repent, that gift of salvation is still possible. If I skip all of the tests and homework assignments and flunk the final exam, yet I beg for my teacher’s mercy, I don’t see myself receiving a passing grade.


#3

If I skip all of the tests and homework assignments and flunk the final exam, yet I beg for my teacher’s mercy, I don’t see myself receiving a passing grade.

Could you re-word this part, I don’t know what you mean here.

Another “negative” thought is that every sin we do extends our time in purgatory, unless we receive indulgences of course.


#4

If I skip all of the tests and homework assignments and flunk the final exam, yet I beg for my teacher’s mercy, I don’t see myself receiving a passing grade.

[quote=MH84]Could you re-word this part, I don’t know what you mean here.

[/quote]

No problem.

A student starts a course with an A+, understanding that he/she just needs to meet the teacher’s performance expectations and follow the rules and standards to maintain the A+. For whatever reason, the student repeatedly fails to turn in homework assignments, never shows up to take tests, and then fails the final exam. The student then calls a meeting with the teacher and asks for another chance. Given the student’s repeated poor performance, chances are he/she will not be given any mercy, and will receive a failing grade.

The parallel in life might be a baptised Catholic who fell away from the Church at an adult age. Late in life, that person realizes the importance of their relationship with God, and goes to confession to receive absolution. Now that person, if they were contrite in their confession, will receive salvation, provided they remain in God’s grace.

The more we sin, the more “time” we log in purgatory, but that means we are getting the chance to “clean up”.


#5

Maybe your school analogy isn’t quite accurate. A good teacher isn’t just about grades. He wants you to understand the subject so you will grow in knowledge and he hopes the experience in his class will make you a better person and you will be able to do better in life. It might take you a while to catch on to the subject but you start to get better at it and eventually you really like it. Your average grade may only end up to be a C- but the teacher is pleased with your progress.

Also, you say that every sin extends your time in purgatory. Not true. You repent and confess your sins. Because you are grateful for God’s forgiveness, you love him more and you keep on fighting your sins. You know you can’t do it on your own so you stay closer to God. etc.

There are saints who had been great sinners. They didn’t have to get indulgences to keep cutting down their time in purgatory, they just had to keep responding to God’s grace and He helped them to change (I don’t mean anything against indulgences here). At the time of death God doesn’t average out your grade, He looks at how far you have come and how much you love Him. Purgatory just makes it possible for you to completely turn away from sin and turn toward God.


#6

As a homeschooling mom, I view salvation offered in Christ as a way of learning and growing rather than a classroom with grades. I prefer my children stick with a task until they learn it, and I expect more from them with each advancing year. Just as a child’s body grow as he lives, his soul can also grow in grace. Jesus was perfect as an infant, yet Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”

A baptized infant may be perfect and beautiful–but the child is still an infant and–as an infant–not capable of doing very much. While we must maintain the faith of a child, St. Paul also writes in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

If you want to stick with your classroom analogy, ponder it further. A child who does what his first grade teacher expects, usually advances to second grade, then third grade, and so on. Along the way, the child will loose a few teeth and make some mistakes, but that is part of growing.

Using your school analogy, school work grows a bit more difficult with each advancing year. As we grow in grace and knowledge of God, He progresses us onto other levels, and He knows the work He assigns to us is harder. He gives us access to additional graces and Sacraments that infants do not recieve. Yet if one continues to grow in grace, at some point things the difficult work becomes easier, and the big mistakes happen less frequently.


#7

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