March 27, 2013
... For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22b-24
"I knew I was going to do well, (but) I didn't expect to do that well."
That was the reaction of 17-year-old Arnay Sastry when he was told he had achieved a perfect score on his ACT test. He was pleased his preparations for the test had paid off.
Now, for those Daily Devotion readers who don't know, the ACT, which is the acronym for American College Testing, is a standardized test, which is theoretically designed to measure a high-school student's academic readiness for college. All things being equal, a good ACT score often helps to open the door to a student's college of choice.
Sastry had not just earned a good score; he had earned a perfect score. That's a big deal.
Curious, I checked to find out how big a deal it was. I found that in 2011 over 1,623,000 students took the test. Only 705 received a perfect score on that daunting test.
In the third chapter of Romans, God tells us that He also has a test for people who desire entrance into heaven. He says, "If a person wants to be welcomed through the pearly gates, all he has to do is live a perfect life from the moment of conception to the time of termination."
Are you curious how humanity has been doing on God's test? Paul tells us, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That's just a very nice way of saying, "Everybody has flunked."
That's a 100 percent flunkage rate; 0 percent have passed.
Seeing how badly humanity was doing on His test, God decided to intervene.
This He did by sending His perfect Son into this world to take the test for all the people who had scored 0 percent. The test rules were simple: if Jesus received a 100 percent on God's test, that score would become ours. If Jesus failed, if He made one small mistake, one tiny slip-up, we would be lost.
Earlier I said a perfect ACT was a daunting task. It is; but it's nothing compared to what Jesus managed to accomplish during His life here on earth. During those years He fulfilled all the prophecies that had been made about the Messiah. At the same time He kept the Law, resisted every temptation, and carried our sins to the cross and died the death we deserved.
His third-day resurrection from the dead is proof Jesus achieved a 100 percent. Now all who are given faith in Him are justified by God's grace. Jesus' 100 percent has become ours.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for a perfect life, which was lived for me. You have done what I could never have hoped to accomplish. May I be eternally grateful. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries