Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jesus’ A+ Grade Doesn’t Mean The Rest of the Class Flunked! #JesusFollowers

If Jesus was a student in a typical American classroom, what grade do you think he would get from his teacher?

I think most people would correctly assume he'd get an A+, and that’s exactly right. His life, example and teachings are the perfect model we can follow for us to know the perfection God wishes us to have, and if the 'grade' is an analogy representing that life, he'd definitely get that perfect grade.

Now, using the same analogy, what do you think everyone else in his class would receive as a grade? That's a more difficult question. But if the analogy of perfection is used, many would rate humanity (the "others' in the class) rather low.

Many evangelical and mainline Christian ministers, in fact, would automatically give everyone else an "F" – a totally failing grade. Why is that? Because for some theologians and ministers, they need all of us to be seen as complete failures, in order to make Jesus seem "more perfect."

But that isn't our experience. Some people in classrooms, as in life, earn Cs, Bs, D pluses and yes, even Fs – failing grades. Most of us remain average unless we receive instruction that raises us up higher. And Jesus needs no one's failure to make his perfection shine any brighter.

But the analogy hints at a more disturbing doctrine that many mainstream Christian ministers are teaching their flocks. They believe we ENTER life as "Fs" or complete and utter failures, even before we enter the "school" of life, first as children, then as adults.

This isn't how classrooms or grades or schools work. This isn't how life works. And it’s not how the Good News, Jesus, God, or eternal salvation works. It is instead a FALSE belief based on false premises and false theology. It’s wrong, even though it’s widely taught and believed.

So how does our class really stand? Because Jesus is our brother, and fellow 'classmate,' we actually can do VERY WELL.

The Good News is that Jesus, with his perfect A+, turns to us and "tutors" the rest of the class in how our God wishes us to live. Jesus offers to us his lessons, his experiences, and his life as one who lived in perfect harmony with God, our Father and Jesus' Father.

He calls us to do exactly as he did: to be perfect and holy, just as God is holy. And tells us we, too, can do it!

Jesus becomes not the only one in class who succeeds, but one who seeks to help everyone in the class succeed and be better students of God's moral will for our lives: serving others, loving God with all we have, and shedding bad habits that keep us isolated from others and from our Creator.

The Bible teaches frequently, especially in the teachings of Jesus, that we'll be judged by God only by the performance of our DEEDS, after we repent for our past misdeeds and vow to do what is good and right. That doesn't mean we all earn "A+" grades without listening to the tutor; or that we, without effort, can instantly earn As, Bs or Cs in the classroom of God.

Nor does it mean we can neglect to seek the further moral strength and wisdom we may obtain from God’s Spirit to better equip us for learning in life's classroom.

But with Jesus as our ‘tutor,’ we achieve more than we can by not following him or (worse) by not making ANY effort – hoping instead that we’ll get there by simply “admiring” the most perfect student in the class.

God has chosen Jesus to be our example, and by seeking to follow him, we may become better than we could ever become on our own. Let’s make him our Tutor, teacher and Master and become what God wants us to be!

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