If you’re reading this, I suppose you may well be a student, getting results this month or next.
My Facebook news feed has been full of Wolverhampton students last week, and Birmingham students this week, getting their grades. It’s a big moment, and for no-one more than those in their final year. Three years, maybe even more, and it all boils down to one moment, one “log-in”, a scroll down, to see the verdict. Will I have made it?
For me at Uni, I experienced the thrill of scrolling down, and finding a bizarrely high mark – far higher than I’d expected – and what a thrill it was! A sweet sensation!
I also experienced the stomach-churning moment where I found out that I didn’t get away with it after all, that the lack of revision really did matter. Worse, the moment the low mark arrived, despite a huge amount of effort. I tried. I really did do my best. I wept tears over this exam, pushed myself, and yet at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough. And it stings.
Whether you’re celebrating today, weeping, or somewhere in between just quietly unsure, if you’re a Christian, and you’re like me at all, then your heart could be in grave danger today…
For any time in which we find ourselves awaiting a verdict, we face a battle in the warzone of our hearts to place our confidence elsewhere, in the one true Verdict that counts.
What do I mean? Well the world sets before me a brand new exam each day. A new mark to reach. A new height to attain. A new set of qualifications to fulfill. Take walking through the Bullring, for example. I do it a few times a week, and if I’m not careful, I leave feeling strangely glum, silently excluded. For I rarely reach the standards.
Do I have the right computer, as I walk past the apple store?
Do I look like the guy on the poster?
Do I look the the people on the escalator?
Do I wear the clothes like the model in the shop window?
Am I slim enough to get into the Medium clothes in Topman?
Am I tall enough to fill out the Large clothes in Topman?
Am I as happy as them?
Am I as beautiful as them?
Am I as successful as him?
Is the holiday I have booked as good as that one?
I put myself on trial. A simple stroll from New Street to Aston becomes a mini-Judgement Day, as I stand exposed, feeling that I’ve missed out on life’s best by not attaining the standards set all around me.
Exams at Uni have this same power, don’t they? As we log-in for the verdict, awaiting a thumbs up or a thumbs down, it leads us to joy as we are declared good enough, or condemnation if we’re declared a failure. How should we respond?
Well if your heart is like mine, there’s good news.
For in the courtroom of God, in the assessment that matters, the Divine Decision has been made. It’s done. It’s signed. It’s sealed. And the result? I’m justified.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I feel the weight come off. For a word has gone out that declares how I’m viewed by God, how I’ll be seen by the eyes that matter. And the word is this: justified.
And there’s more. The Judge has declared words over me, that are more beautiful than “Not Guilty”. More beautiful than “Pass”. For in Christ, I’m not just “not guilty”, I haven’t just “passed”.
No, in Christ, I receive the declaration that belongs to Him and Him alone. It’s too good to be true, for a non-Redbrick, non-Mac-owning, non-Topman-sized sinner. But it’s true.
I don’t have to type in my own name, my own password, and fear the results. No, I get Christ’s log-in. And as I scroll down, I find this final, decided, steady, certain, passionate, beaming declaration from the Father:
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”