Jesus Spoke at my Graduation

“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:22–26, AV)

The essence of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. But this faith is misrepresented by those who rely on a popular understanding about God rather than on God’s understanding about God. As such, I find it easier explaining the mechanics of salvation to a person who is living a dreadful life than to a good moral person. Why? An overt sinner often knows that his life is substandard, while a moral person thinks that he is a candidate for heaven… but both could be headed for hell. Why so? God's idea of how to get to heaven is different from the popular consensus.

Moral people say, "I live a good life; I help others; I try to follow the Ten Commandments — surely, God will let me into heaven." Friend… surely he will not!... not unless he has taken up lying. Relying on measuring-up against the Law for entrance into heaven is a prepaid ticket to hell because any persons who do not satisfy the Law perfectly (and I am talking one-hundred percent compliance) are one-hundred percent failures. How so? Because measuring-up to the Law has nothing to do with percentages; it is a yes/no proposition… and everyone is a no! Therefore, people must graduate to faith to be saved.

Am I saying that we should we throw away the Ten Commandments? Dismiss the Old Testament? Ignore God's behavioral codes? No, no, and no — no more than you should ignore your multiplication tables, your grammar rules or your history facts. But let me ask you this now that you are out of grammar school. In your on-going life, do find yourself lecturing on the subjunctive? Spouting off history facts? Reciting the multiplication tables? Of course not! These types of things underpin life; they are not the point of life, nor are they the measure of it. They exist to support us while we live on another plane. This is why the Apostle Paul called the Law our schoolmaster rather than our master.

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you…?” was Paul’s shocking response to a legalism that was gaining traction in the Galatian church (Galatians 3:1). False teachers had crept in, and they began to teach that some aspects of the Law still had to be observed for people to be saved — but Paul jumped right on that! People cannot add anything to God's grace without insulting the Christ! This problem is ongoing, of course — just look around. People cling to their elementary texts and refuse to leave the lower grades as a matter of course. People who claim to know God, but who keep trying to work their way into heaven, have not yet graduated from grammar school, and it is these very people who have not heard Jesus Christ speak at their graduation.

Fortunately, I have the full transcript of his speech with me, so let me read it:

"It is finished" (end of speech).

Did Jesus Christ waste his time dying for you? Are you saying to Christ, "It is not finished — move over on that cross! I must add my own sacrifice to yours.” Are you saying to God, "You are incompetent. You cannot save me — I must help!" Are you saying, "I know the Bible teaches about faith, but I still feel like I should work my way into your Kingdom." If you are saying any of these, what you are really saying is, "God, you don’t know what you’re talking about."

It’s time to graduate! Cross that platform; flip that tassel from Law to Faith… and please — will you listen to the commencement speaker! After all, it took him an eternity to get here — and it cost him everything to bring us this message.

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