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It’s summertime again! The dreaded final exams are over, grades are in, school is out and kids are home for the summer.
Exams are a big part of life in high school and in college. A lot hinges on them, and that can make them rather frightening, especially if you haven’t studied, or if a teacher is known for being especially hard.
The trouble is, sometimes we transfer our worries about exams to our standing with God. We sometimes think of God as a rigid accountant who keeps a careful tab of everything we do wrong. And we dread the final Judgment as the biggest and worst final exam in the world.
But nothing could be farther from the truth. God wants you saved, not condemned! That is why he sent his Son. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
You might know the song, “Come Just As You Are.” Those words, “come, just as you are,” serve as a reminder that God sees everything: our best and our worst, and he loves us anyway. The apostle Paul wrote, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV).
In her book, The Rock That is Higher, Madeleine L’Engle relates a story about an English household who had a famous actor to dinner. After the meal, the household custom was for everyone to give a recitation, sing, or offer whatever talent they might have to entertain the others. When it was the actor’s turn, he chose to recite the beloved Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. His rendition was magnificent, and there was much applause.
At the end of the evening, someone noticed the little old great aunt, who had fallen asleep in a corner. Being deaf in her old age, she had missed most of what was going on, but she was urged to get up and recite something. She launched right into the Twenty-Third Psalm. When she finished, there was hardly a dry eye in the room. Later, someone approached the famous actor and said, “You recited that Psalm absolutely superbly. So why were we so moved by that funny, little old lady?”
The actor replied, “I know the Psalm. She knows the shepherd.”
Because we know Jesus, we also know the Father. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9) Jesus said,. The Father loves us just like Jesus loves us.
“Come just as you are” means that God does not wait for us to get righteous before he includes us in Christ. He loves us already, despite what we have done, and he will never let us go. Through Christ, he has already removed every obstacle that could separate us from him before we ever believed. All we need to do is trust him and accept his gracious gift of love and a new life in Christ.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.