It was one week into a new class and all the students were overwhelmed. It was as if they should have taken another class before this, like a prerequisite. Many students were thinking of dropping the course. Then the teacher dropped the bombshell; “one week from today is the first test and you are required to receive a ‘perfect A’ to pass. Not only this test, but every test the entire year you must answer every question correctly or you will fail.” The students could not believe what they just heard. “What? This is impossible” they said. The teacher replied “this is the way it is; score 100% every test all year or fail. But there is more, I will give everyone who will receive it a ‘perfect A’ right now and you will pass the class no matter how well you do.”
What would you do?
The teacher proceeds to with instructions as to what the students must do. He said “you have a choice to make. You may refuse the passing grade right now and either walk out of class or stay and do the work trying to pass on your own. Or else you may receive your passing grade right now. You will pass no matter how well you perform. Those who want the passing grade get up and come forward to receive your ‘perfect A.’ As for the rest, you may walk out and withdraw or stay seated if you want to attempt completing the course on your own.”
The first group of students thought “this is a joke and how stupid” so they got up and walked out.
The second group of students said “I will not receive a free passing grade I did not earn.” So they stayed in their seats determined to earn their score.
The third group of students believed the teacher would give out a free passing grade yet they stayed seated anyway thinking why bother with going forward to receiving the passing grade. They believed they had a free ride. They thought just because the teacher was good, they would pass.
The forth group of students went forward, received the passing grade thinking they also had just received a free ride and they could coast all year.
The fifth group of students went forward, received the passing grade but they were grateful. They were determined to do the work they were called to do, also learn and grow in knowledge. They worked hard without the pressure of passing the course, knowing they already received the “perfect A.” They benefited greatly from the class.
The forth group of students spent most of their time on what they felt was more important to them so they did not learn or benefit much from the course.
As the year proceeded some of the ones who rejected the passing score realized they would fail without receiving the free gift of a passing grade so they went forward and the teacher gave them the passing grade.
Others who rejected the free gift kept on working hard trying to earn a passing mark. They thought “surely I will pass because of my good work; after all I am outperforming those who are not giving any or little effort.” At the end of the school year they were shocked to learn they failed the class. But they failed to learn the lesson being taught: humility, mercy and grace. They also did not do the one thing required to pass, which is to go forward and receive the passing grade.
Still the ones who felt they had a free ride and never went forward failed also for they believed the teacher would just go ahead and give them a passing grade. After all the teacher did promise to give away passing grades. They did not realize intellectual knowledge of the teacher’s free gift was not enough.
Jesus offered you a free gift of salvation, the “perfect A” so to speak. Which group did you fall into?
Scripture references for each of the groups:
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:21-22)
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8-9)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)
If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:15)
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21)