Our church is located in a college town. Our pastor had been a minister and teacher to youth and college kids at a church before taking on the duties of our new church plant as teaching pastor. He also teaches High School Bible. As a result of all these connections in the youth demographic, there are a lot of 18-25-year-olds in our church. Most of them attend college or graduate school. We also have several college professors, Christian school teachers, and principals in our demographic. The end of the semester is grueling for many in our church family.
This time of year is rife with photos on Facebook of students studying diligently, or pictures of relieved and happy students finished with exams, or mortarboard-tasseled graduates with families smiling ear to ear.
At the end of the semester when you ask one of these young believers how they’re doing, their reference point will usually be oriented to final exams, bar exams, or thesis defense. “Exams are coming so I’m busy studying.” “I’m halfway through finals, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” “I’ve got the bar exam next week!” Or they say, “I’m done, I have a few weeks off!”
Final examinations loom large. I hadn’t realized just how large until I was surrounded by folks whose future decisions, careers, or sometimes jobs depend on how well they do. They or their parents have spent a lot of money to support them through their college career. They all work at jobs to contribute to their sustenance so they can continue on the path toward these finals. Like a vanishing point, the life’s effort up until this moment all draws down to the few hours in the final exam rooms. And just so, they take it all very seriously.
How often do we consider the ultimate final exam? There is one. (Hebrews 9:27). We will appear in a room, for a few ‘hours’ as time passes in heaven, our turn will come and we will stand before the judge to defend our life’s thesis. We will be examined. The results will be final.
The experience will be different for believers versus unbelievers of course. Believers will be held accountable for everything we thought, said, or did after salvation, but not in a judgment sense. (2 Corinthians 5:10). Only to go through a process where our orientation will be checked to see how much of it was done for the Lord and how much was done for ourselves. The self part will be burned away and what is left will be the trophy. In turn, we will give the trophy over to Christ, because He was the originator and sustainer of all the efforts that was revealed to glorify Him. It’s more of a graduation/celebration/rewards ceremony. It is based on His love. We are children of grace.
For the unbeliever, they will go through a harsher process. Because they rejected the Messiah and they did not repent, they are still in their sin. They will be examined at life’s finals to see what measure of punishment they will receive for their sinful deeds. (Matthew 25:32, Matthew 16:27). They might protest, they might argue, they might try to explain or justify, but they will be found to remain in their sin and justly punished for their deeds against the Holy Savior. (Matthew 7:21-23). This process is based on God’s wrath. They are children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3).
All flesh, saved or unsaved, will be examined before the Great Judge. (Revelation 20:11-15). He knows minds. He sifts hearts. There will be a final exam. How much, fellow believer, do we actively think about that moment we are called to account?
It is THE final. Once a person stands before Christ and is judged for their deeds in the flesh, there is nothing else that can be done. It’s final. Fellow believer, please think on the finals, orient ourselves to its certainty, and live as though it will happen any moment, because it could.
If you do not believe in Jesus and you’re somehow reading this, you will stand before Him to be judged for your life.
for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Then you will be sent to hell to be punished for those deeds. It will happen, whether you believe it will or not. Please, friend, repent before the final exam. By then it will be too late.
We all should live with this reality in mind.