Friday, August 31, 2018
[Jonah] prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”
A Bible college student learned an unforgettable lesson in one of his classes.
In the spring of 2002, he left work early so he could have some uninterrupted study time before his final exam at Hannibal College in Missouri. When he went to class, everyone was busy doing last-minute studying. The professor, Dr. Hufty, arrived and said he would give a short review before the exam; the students were thrilled.
When the review ended and the exams were passed out—face down—to all the students, the professor said, “Begin.” For some, that word invoked fear; for others it brought relief to finally be getting it over with.
But when the students turned over their exam papers, everyone shared the same expression of shock: all the answers were filled in—by hand! And at the bottom of the last page, Dr. Hufty had written this note:
This is the end of the exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an “A” as your final grade. The reason you passed this test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation, though it may have been a great discipline for your study, did not help you get this perfect score.
Then Dr. Hufty addressed the class with these words: “Some lessons you learn from lectures, some lessons you learn from research, but some lessons you learn from experience— and you will probably never forget those. And class, you have just experienced grace.”
When I read this story, I considered how Dr. Hufty’s lesson must have impacted the students differently. I wondered if some were upset—top-tier students who had spent hours poring over their notes, fueled by ambition to earn the highest grade. Now, to their chagrin, they received the same mark as everyone else—even those who didn’t study hard at all.
Are there times in your life when you, like a bright student and powerful prophet, bemoan the fact that God is delivering an offer of grace to someone you don’t believe deserves it as much as you do?—someone who doesn’t work or serve or pray or study nearly as diligently as you do?
Dr. Hufty illustrated for his class what God’s grace really looks like. When it comes to the matter of salvation, God’s grace is available to everyone. No one ever deserves it—which is why it is called “grace.” Grace is kindness offered to the undeserving. Grace is love for the unlovely and a relationship for the unworthy.
Grace converts failing scores to perfect scores—just don’t forget that your perfect score wasn’t obtained by your own hand but by the hand of God, through Jesus Christ.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, “A” students and “C” students, model citizens and felons, Israelites and Ninevites make the same grade and are accepted into a society composed of redeemed sinners . . . sinners saved by the grace of God.
Prayer Point: Take time to thank God for pouring His grace into your life, even though you did nothing to deserve it.
Extra Refreshment: Read Ephesians 1:5-8 and meditate on the glorious truth that God has lavished His grace upon us.