One Fall Quarter, an Electrical Engineering professor casually mentioned in his introductory remarks to the students taking his Microelectronic Circuits course that if they simply attended every class and completed all assignments, they would receive at least a grade of C for the course. He also provided this information to the students in written form in his instructions for the course. The lab project and the final exam would give opportunities for those aspiring for an A.
This is one of those courses in the EE program that often determines whether a student will complete their engineering studies, or drop out and become a good technician. Many of the students were amazed at this graceful offer by the professor. This was viewed by them as a gift and they were fully intending to receive this gift.
One student commented after hearing this offer by the professor, "I don't believe him; it really can't be that easy to pass." Several others agreed with this student, and many of the class members went through the quarter without attending all sessions, missed turning in some papers, and they didn't do some of their lab work. At the end of the quarter, they were incensed when they learned that some in the class had received a passing grade without being as "smart" as they were. Some students even demanded that the professor give them a passing grade also, since they had made a good score on the final exam. They suggested that they were being discriminated against. The students who believed the professors' offer as genuine - faithfully attended each class session, turned in all their work as required, and at the end of the quarter, they received at least a C for their trust and obedience even if they did poorly on the final exam. Every student had the same opportunity.
Whenever someone chooses to make a gift, it is up to the giver to fix the terms that will qualify a person to receive the gift. God offers us the greatest possible gift, the gift of eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV) Here we learn that in order to receive the gift of eternal life, we must believe in Jesus as the Son of God.
Another parable, around Federal courthouses and other meeting rooms, people come with friends and members of their families to receive a document that declares them as Naturalized Citizens of the United States of America. This gift is granted to those who have learned and obeyed the required terms in the offer by the government of America. The giver in this case is all the people of America who elected representatives and these men and women drafted laws that were signed into law regarding legal immigration. The person who receives this precious gift of citizenship must show that they are proficient in English language and have a good knowledge of the history and structure of our government.
Some may decry these terms as unfair and say that they are being denied a place at the table of this great nation. However, the terms are within the easy grasp of those who are willing to be obedient and patient for that day when a judge or other official of the United States asks them to repeat the Oath of Citizenship and then declares all the people present to be lawful citizens.
Our own citizenship in this country comes as a gift, whether we were born here or came here legally and went through all the hoops. On the other hand, this gift didn't come without a price. Many people with strong love for the future of this nation paid dearly with their own lives for this gift. In the same way, our place in the eternal Kingdom of Christ came with a price. Thankfully, we do not have to pay that price. God's One and Only Son came to this dark world and paid the price for our sins by shedding His blood and giving His life at that cross on Golgotha.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13 NIV) Have you received Christ Jesus as Lord? Christ will not enter a heart of unbelief. Faith is the first response that we must make in order to receive the wonderful gift of eternal life. Believe the witnesses who recorded their testimony in the Gospels. The Word of God is true, it is powerful, and it is offering you a positively safe and sure road on your journey home to Heaven.
Sincere belief in Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Christ will lead us to repent of our sins. This repentance is brought on by godly sorrow, and not worldly regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:10) Whenever we repent of our sins, we know that God is helping us in our commitment to walk with Jesus. "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10 NIV)
When we truly believe in the promises of God for eternal life through obedient faith in Christ, we will be eager to confess our faith in the presence of others. "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33 NIV)
In the last chapter of the book of Matthew, we learn what Jesus commanded the disciples just prior to His ascension back to Heaven. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)
People become disciples of Jesus Christ whenever we are taught and learn the truth about Christ from the Word of God, and when we confess our belief in Christ Jesus as Lord, turn away from a life of sin, and when we are baptized according to the teaching of Christ. Jesus said: "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Trust and obey Christ today and receive the amazing gift of God's grace!
You are invited to attend the services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Please write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., P.O. Box 186, Cedar Key, FL 32625 or E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you may also request to receive the daily WORD OF THE DAY by e-mail. Check out our web site at www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com.