Lately something has been bugging me. As many of you know my family is Catholic and unfortunately holidays (and any family get togethers like weddings) turn into debate fests over faith. Usually, I'm told how "screwed up" I am because I left the Catholic faith and often told how I have bought into "cheep grace". I am usually out numbered and with of my father yelling I get my sister saying things like "how I wish you would come back to the faith". My mother has a way of calling me a heretic without actually saying it and another year passes and I'm the black sheep of the family. Though, I point out I've never been to jail or been divorced unlike others in my family. Though for some reason that doesn't carry the weight I think it should. However, to the point. Many times I've discovered we say almost the same things but our languages are different. I think to get away from the consept that we can earn our salvation we tend to go the extreem in our speach and indeed "cheep grace" seems applicable. Yet I know we don't really mean "cheep grace". Not a one of us denies that as christians we should live our lives as in a race to perfection and strive for holiness in sanctification. We just over emphasise that we can not be saved of our own accord it is totally God's doing. The difference that we see in how many Catholics live their life is one of motivation. We often believe that the Catholics do "good deeds" to earn initial justification that we call salvation. Often we are correct for many catholics have this notion. We on the other hand perform "good deeds" out of a vibrant love and relationship that results from our intial justification. Though at times many of us holding to the extreme view so as not to seem to be earning salvation; don't even do "good deeds". And then we fight (argue) with each other. However, there is in my mind an issue with salvation because it often comes up as it did this holiday. Cooperation with salvation. As baptist we insist there is no cooperation and that it is entirely a gift of God. The Catholic will say something similiar to this but that Cooperation is part of salvation. Now when I review the bible I am confronted with this issue. Cooperation. Now God plans on destroying man because his every thought was evil. But to save some God explained to Noah that he needed to build a boat. Note God is given total Credit yet Noah built the boat. Is this a cooperation with salvation? Abraham was chosen by God to father a nation. However, it was Abraham that went out to a "land" God "would show you". God freed the Hebrews but it was Moses who spoke to pharoah. God gave the land to Joshua but it was Joshua who did the fighting. God heard Israel cry and delivered them from the midianites but it was Gideon who did the fighting. It was God who called men to worship but Solomon who built the temple. It was God who kept the Judeans from utter destruction but it was Esther who spoke to the King. God fulfilled his promise and brought the people back to the land but it was Ezra who requested it of the King and lead his people back. Once in the Land God protected them but the jews who rebuilt the wall. God becomes man but it is the virgin Mary that must carry Jesus in her womb and give birth. And even the bible is the very word of God but men put pen to paper. There is this keen interaction between God and man. What would you call it if not a cooperation? There is this mystical bond of God delivering man but man playing a part. How would you describe this? What are your views of these occurances? Remember in each of these cases God is given credit as though he did it himself but men certainly obeyed and participated in some sense. How can this be reconciled in our view?