Were it based only on my external examination results high school would have been a total waste and going to university would have remained but a distant wish. But thanks to a Mature Age Examination policy that the university (Northern Caribbean University) where I read for my first degree had, and having satisfied the minimum age requirement of 25 years, along with passing the entrance examinations, I was at length admitted into university. Wow!
Of course, the fact that a major part of the motivation to enroll into university came from a youthful desire to be eligible for the girl I had a major crush on is another story. The fact was, even though I flunked high school I still made it to university. It was like Grace to me.
Typically, persons who move on to university would have been successful in high school, and would usually be within a certain age range. Otherwise, you would simply hope to find a place in life… somewhere, especially when you weren’t equipped with a skill. I was older than my average classmate, and unlike most of them I didn’t boast impressive external examination passes. But I was every bit a university student as any of them.
When God created our first parents and placed them in the Garden of Eden, they too had flunked their test, a legacy that was passed on to the human species – we were all born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51). The Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23 also reminds us that we’ve all sinned and come short of God’s glory. In Romans 6:23 he further underscores that because of our sins we deserved to die, but, thanks to Grace, God has offered us the gift of eternal life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
I am happy for my university education, but I’m even more jubilant about God’s amazing Grace!
There are three phases that the experience of Grace takes us through: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Here I find that my university experience relates beautifully with these as well.
The day that I got the result of my entrance examinations and was told that I was accepted into university I was overjoyed. It didn’t matter now had badly I had done in high school. I was declared good enough to be enrolled in university, and if I didn’t say it no one would know that I flunked high school. That was justification. Justification declares us righteous, “good enough.” It is the process by which the righteousness of Christ is imputed (credited) to us. But to be declared righteous doesn’t make us righteous. It only means that the sentence of death is stayed, giving us the opportunity to be recreated by God; changed; made righteous; sanctified.
Following my acceptance into university the work had only just begun, because for the next four years I was subjected to the most grueling process of transformation into a professional worker; becoming what I’d look like in the world of work. That was sanctification. Of course sanctification is not regulated to a time frame, except that it has been described to be the work of a lifetime, and must take place within this lifetime on earth. It is the process by which the righteousness of Christ is imparted (given/transferred/implanted in) to us. Once this work is complete we look and sound like Christ; our characters (natures and mannerisms) are changed. Romans 12:2 talks about our being transformed by the renewing of the mind – this is the work of sanctification taking place; becoming what we will look and sound like in the earth made new – the destiny that ultimately awaits us. And once this work is complete and we are ready to transition into the new phase, it will call for celebration – the glorification phase.
After four years things had come down to the final set of courses, the final set of examinations, and the completion of my programme. It was time for graduation - an occasion attended by pomp and pageantry, and exuberant celebration. Present at my graduation were my family and friends, and fellow graduands. As I marched in to the familiar strain of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the theme music used for graduations around the world, I knew I had made it!
John in the book of Revelations tells us that there is coming a time on earth when the last sermon will be preached, the last soul baptized, the last prayer prayed, and God shall say, “he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still”; probation will be closed; the chosen destiny of each soul will be granted; and we shall never return to this earth under conditions similar to what we now know it to be. And there will be singing in Heaven, and all the saved of all ages will join with the holy angels singing, “Holy , Holy Holy, LORD God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come.” And we shall sing another song, the song of Moses and the Lamb. It will be a time of glorious celebration, with an abandon resplendent of the sure knowledge that we are forever safe. Praise the Lord!