4/25/2013 4:23:07 PM
The Final Exam
It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Grade school, high school, college, trade school or technical college, university – wherever students are studying, the day of final examinations must arrive. It always does. That is our opportunity to show our teacher, instructor, or professor how much we have learned over the past months of study.
We had an interesting ‘final exam’ in our church on April 21st. It was the culmination of several years of study, quizzes, and testing. In a public question and answer forum, students presented themselves for confirmation in Christian faith and doctrine. These young disciples of the living Lord demonstrated a faith that is built on the very words of God and a knowledge of the truths of holy Scripture.
The confirmands spoke about the comforting fact that the Bible is God’s own unshakable Word, powerful and true in every way. The two main teachings of God’s Book are the Law - which condemns us to hell because of our sins; and the Gospel - which comforts us with the forgiveness of sins we receive through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23-24)
Their examination also included questions on the Sacrament of Holy Baptism – God’s simple-looking but powerful little bath which connects the baptized person to Jesus’ cross. Baptism forgives sin, creates new faith in the heart of an infant, and strengthens faith in the heart of one who is baptized at an older age. (John 3:5, Acts 2:38-39, Titus 3:5)
In addition, we discussed the Sacrament of Holy Communion – God’s sacred meal in which repentant Christians who have received thorough instruction about Jesus’ Supper miraculously receive with the unleavened bread and grape wine the very body and blood of Jesus. In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus personally forgives the communicant of his sins, strengthens his faith, and assures the repentant Christian of his eternal home in heaven through faith in Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:16 & 11:23-26, Matthew 26:26-28)
Tests at the close of the school year and the public confirmation of young Christians are only ‘final exams’ in one sense. Students and confirmands have reached a milestone in their lives by completing a prescribed course of study. But personal growth and knowledge are not finished at this crucial time in their lives. We are always learning and growing and applying lessons we have learned to the days ahead…
But there is a day that approaches which can correctly be referred to as “The Final Exam.” Some unwisely blow it off as trivial and irrelevant, and in the process judge themselves as the fools they are. Others cower in terror and guilt, totally unprepared as that day looms ever closer. Still others prepare on a regular basis to meet the Lord - reading and studying God’s Word, worshiping in God’s house and receiving the Sacraments, growing in faith and knowledge of God’s redeeming love for them in Christ Jesus.
Student of the Word, this is my encouragement for you (myself included): Please carefully study the whole text book for God’s final exam. The following passages are just a few notes to assist you in preparation for the day on which you will meet the Almighty.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 – Continue in what you have learned…from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 3:18 – Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Revelation 2:10 – Jesus says, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 22:7,12 – Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon!”
Get ready. There will be a test. One day soon we will face our righteous, heavenly Father. Confessing our sins to Him with repentant hearts, and believing in Jesus as our Savior from sin, we can rest assured of an “A+” on the day of our ‘final exam.’ Not because we studied so hard or were such great students, but resting purely on the grace of our Lord. The Holy Spirit has created faith in our hearts to believe in Jesus, who has rescued us from our sins and opened heaven’s doors to all who trust in Him alone for salvation and eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-9 - It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
All Scripture passages quoted are from the NIV ’84.