What happens when you die according to the Christian faith? 

The Catechism explains there are two judgments: “The first takes place when each one of us departs this life; for then he is instantly placed before the judgment‑seat of God, where all that he has ever done or spoken or thought during life shall be subjected to the most rigid scrutiny. This is called the particular judgment. The second occurs when on the same day and in the same place all men shall stand together before the tribunal of their Judge, that in the presence and hearing of all human beings.”  (p. 127, The Roman Catechism)

In God’s classroom, not everyone graduates.  

Jesus warns “few will have the strength to finish the race” (cf. Luke 13:24).  Why?  They fall short and resisted the training of God.  Some, like Esau, will trade in their blessing and forfeit it (cf. Hebrew 12:16-17)


Jesus states: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and [b]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (cf.  Matthew 7:13-14).   So, “If your eye offends you pluck it out; if your hand offend you, cut it off for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

If you are a Christian, it’s easy to get the proverbial cart before the horse.   Before we breathe our final breath and instantly appear before Christ, the master teacher makes us into His image.  Hebrews 12: 5-7 describes God’s classroom for believers.

“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons.  For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”

Suffering is a sign of God’s fatherly love

Suffering is a sign of God’s fatherly love and it proves we really are his children (cf. Proverbs 3:11-12).    When ancient classrooms talked about “paideia” (Greek for “childhood education”), discipline or punishment was one of its main ingredients.    Good fathers in the 1st century meted out judgment on their sons.   That’s why Hebrews can say, “God treats us as sons.”   If Jesus the Son of God learned obedience  (cf. Hebrews 5:7-9) how much more sinners saved by grace.    So, if parts of your life are lame, God will offer us extra training to strengthen our “feet ” and remember, “Without the training of sanctification, no one will see God” cf. Hebrew 12:14).

Stay humble and allow God to change you!

St. Peter advises us to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” (cf. I Peter 5:6-10).

It’s time to get ready for your one on one with God. 

Hebrews 12 offers us a to-do list:

  1. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone 
  2. Be holy without holiness no one will see the Lord. 
  3. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God 
  4. (Make sure that) No bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
  5.  See that no one is sexually immoral.




Author: gbradepp

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