Reflections on Romans, Week 1
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 3:23-24
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There’s a love/hate relationship we all have with tests. I’m not talking about the little formative assessments we sneak in whenever possible. I’m talking about the big, old, summative assessments we give during important testing times.
Think back to when you took these tests as a student. What was your relationship with them? Maybe you were an overachiever, who studied and studied and rarely missed a point. Maybe you were more laid-back in your approach to testing and just were used to lower grades. Maybe you always struggled with these tests, no matter how hard you studied. Maybe you were even one of those people who never really studied for anything but still did well on tests. Here’s the thing—we all love, in one way or another, getting a great grade on a test. It’s just affirming, empowering, and maybe gets people off our backs. Great grades on big tests make us feel good about ourselves. We compare our grades with others and rank our status in the group accordingly.
No matter how hard we work, how smart we are, or how lucky we get, though, nobody is ever truly flawless on all their tests. It just can’t be done. Even for the student that aces an ACT or SAT (very few), there’s something somewhere in their past or future that just won’t be perfect. It’s part of our fallen human nature. It’s the part of tests that we just hate. We can never, truly, be perfect no matter how hard we try. Sooner or later we slip, either due to lack of knowledge or preparedness, forgetfulness, user error, or a host of other reasons. Ultimately, this “falling short” is part of our fallen human condition. Morally, we just can’t do it. We can’t ace the test every time, we can’t love and serve our neighbor to perfection. We miss the mark on loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We can’t do perfection, so often we don’t even try. We give up on doing well before we even start.
Thanks be to God, though, God is gracious. He offers us forgiveness for all the times we fall short of meeting His standards. We don’t have to ace the morality test. Instead, we’re justified and redeemed from our failures and sins by Christ. This gift, a free, 100 percent score on acing God’s will for our lives, is the greatest gift we will ever receive. A perfect score on all things in God’s eyes, now and forever, through the redemption that’s ours in the cross of Christ.
We love and hate big tests. This won’t go away for you or your learners. When you give tests out, though, always remember the power of God’s mighty Word of forgiveness for you and for your learners. No matter how well we do in mastering the tests and challenges of living in this broken world, Jesus already has us covered in the next. Covered by His blood, forgiveness, and perfection in this life and the next.
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