Ephesians 2:13-14 - But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a professor who taught at a Christian university.
At the beginning of every semester, the professor very clearly told the students what was expected. That explanation ended with him saying, "At the end of the course you will hand in a paper. The paper needs to be double-spaced and at least ten pages long. If the paper is not handed in the last day of class, you will fail the course. So ... hand in your papers on the last day of class."
As the weeks went by, the professor regularly reminded his students of their responsibility to get their paper in on the last day of class. Finally, the last day of class came and, you guessed it, three students didn't hand in their papers. The next day, one of the students told how his car had broken down and he couldn't get back to school; another explained his computer had crashed, and the third spoke of an emergency run to be with his father who had had a stroke. To each, the prof was sympathetic, but to each he finished with, "I'm sorry. You have failed the course."
The student body was outraged at the professor's conduct. A delegation came to him and said, "Yes, you had laid down your rules, but this is different. These students had legitimate excuses."
When the delegation grew silent, he said, "Those were the rules of the class. There are no exceptions. I wish things were different, but I must keep my word."
While I won't speak about how the students felt, I would like to know how you feel. Unless I miss my guess, most feel the professor was unfair; others think he could have made an exception: "Yes, we need to have rules, but every rule has its exceptions."
My friends, the Lord's rules about Judgment Day have no exceptions. On that day, we must stand before the Lord cleansed of our sins in Jesus' blood. If we are not cleansed, if we are tarnished by one small sin, we will fail. There will be no excuses. There will be no exceptions.
But ... suppose I told you that when the professor set out his rules, he also said, "Your paper must be handed in on the last day of class. No excuses accepted. But if you trust me, my son will write your paper for you. He will do the research, the work, everything. He will get your paper in on time, and it will be a better paper than you could ever write. All you need do is trust me, believe on him and everything will be taken care of."
How do you feel about that professor now? Pretty fantastic fellow, isn't he? How about his son who is doing all that work? Unbelievable!
And how do you feel about any student who refuses? How do you feel about the student who says, "No" or "Not now" or "I don't trust the prof"? Do you not agree theirs would be a pretty ungrateful and a very foolish decision?
I agree. It would be almost as bad as someone who says, "No!" to the salvation which is offered through Jesus Christ, God's Son, the world's Savior. Far better for the Holy Spirit to put saving faith into our hearts so that we will be ready when our time on earth is at an end. On that day, we want our Lord to tell us that we -- because of Jesus' great sacrifice -- have passed the class.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, truly, without the Savior, I would have failed and ended up in the place no man has ever wanted to go. Grant that I, most sincerely and eternally, will offer Him my thanks and praise. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries