Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2
There are, I think, a number of ways to build a team of high-jumpers. The first way is to set up a program that makes people physically fit and rigorously trains them to be high-jumpers. The second way is to lower the bar, so anyone can get over it without difficulty.
According to an article in last week’s USA Today, in 2002 the U.S. Government, concerned that our nation’s youth would not be ready to enter college or the work force, created a law called, “No Child Left Behind.” This law was written to encourage excellence in America’s schools. It was designed to train the nation’s young people to become academic high jumpers. Unfortunately, that same article maintains that many states have decided to implement that law by lowering the scholastic bar in order to make themselves, as well as their schools, teachers, parents, and students feel good.
The article revealed that some locations have decided to make the tests easy enough for anybody to pass. Others have lowered the percentage necessary to receive a passing grade, while yet others have decided to coach the children on how they can take the test successfully. Short term results of this bar-lowering makes everybody look good and feel fine, but it does little to prepare students for college and work force realities.
Anyone who reads the Bible will know that God doesn’t wrestle with where He is going to set the bar for humankind. Our reading from Leviticus is plain when it says God’s people are to be holy because He is holy. That’s the Lord’s way of letting humanity know that any score other than a perfect 100% is going to receive a failing grade.
Knowing that His standards of holiness would leave behind even the best of humanity, God, in His grace, decided to help us out. No, He didn’t lower the bar that had been set to achieve salvation. As our unchangeable and perfectly fair God, He couldn’t do that. Instead of setting a lower standard, our heavenly Father sent someone, His Son, to take the test for us. The Gospels record the details of Jesus’ life and how He passed where we had failed. Jesus resisted Satan, fulfilled the law, and died the death our sins deserved, so that we might be saved.
Jesus’ resurrection assures us that the Father’s bar of perfection has remained in place, and all who believe in Him have received the passing grade that gives them entry to heaven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I give thanks that You have, through Jesus, been merciful to me—a poor, miserable sinner. This day, may my heart rejoice that He has passed my test for me, and by Spirit-given faith, I am saved. In the Savior’s Name, Amen.