Letter #6: You are Not Justified by Grades Alone

Dear Jonathan,

Sorry to hear that your first paper did not turn out exactly as you hoped. Even though it was “bleeding red” (your words, not mine), I’m sure it was not actually as bad as you thought.

red_ink_paperfailAfter all…you are not justified by grades alone!

I couldn’t resist that little theological joke.  You know that you are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone! Your grades have no eternal bearing on your relationship with Christ, and they say nothing about your worth as a child of God.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that your grades have no importance whatsoever, but what I am saying is that grades should not be your goal, and they should not be controlling your emotional state or how you view your worth.

You worth is found in Christ! You are his servant and your goal in seminary is to grow in him for the purpose of serving his church. My question for you would be, “Did this paper help you grow in Christ and further equip you to serve his bride?”

I am willing to bet the answer to that question is yes…and if I’m right, then the grade really doesn’t matter, except to help you learn more. Read over all the painful red markings on that paper, take in the correction, learn from it, and soldier on.

This is actually a great grace that God has given you! To be learning from some incredible scholars and to have the opportunity to get their feedback is a great grace!

Do not substitute grades for grace!

Seminary is not about trying to climb the ladder of grades to stand victoriously on the mountaintop of academic achievement! No! Seminary is about receiving the grace of theological training so that you may be equipped to humbly serve the Lord and his people.

To whom much is given, much will be required and, Jonathan, you are being given much grace…receive it, red markings and all. Receive God’s equipping grace with gladness and humility.  And remember…

You are not justified by grades alone, in fact, you are not justified by grades at all.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.