It’s the night before your final examination. You have meant to study all week, but somehow you never got around to it. You frantically flip from page to page trying to get it to stick. You look over what you expect to be the most important parts, and you hope that you know them when you take the test. You stay up late cramming every possible fact into your brain before you pass out because you are so tired. You wake up the next morning as tired as you can possibly be, but you’re so nervous that you can’t even think about sleep. You walk all the way to your classroom with your textbook in your hand hoping that you find anything else that may be on the test. Your teacher hands you the exam, and you stare at it as all the color fades from your face. You can’t even remember the first answer.
No doubt, we have all experienced a situation similar to this, but there is one exam that we cannot do this with. One day, a test will come, and we will only be ready if we have studied. On this day, there will be no cheat sheets or quick hints from your friends. It will just be you and the instructor. This day is the Day of Judgement, and it will be the final exam for all time. This test is not about your GPA. It is about the final and eternal destination of your soul; and unfortunately, there will be many who are not ready (Matthew 7:21). Some will come to the end not having studied; and they, like the story earlier, will have the color drain from their face as they hear those haunting words, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 25: 41). Others will believe that they have studied, and they will be shocked to hear the same condemnation (Matthew 7:22-23). Thankfully, there will be those who have been faithful to the Lord, and who have studied for the exam (Matthew 25:34).
Now, you may be asking, “How do I study for this exam?” We study for this test in how we live our lives and by being born-again into the body of Christ through baptism. God even left us a study guide for this test. Our study guide tells us how God wants us to live and act. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that we are to study the Word of God in order to be pleasing to Him. We cannot just hope that someone else studies it enough for us and gives us the answers. It is our responsibility to study the Word for ourselves. The plan that God has given us to become one of His children is immensely simple. First, we need to hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17). This faith that we receive from hearing the Word brings us to the point that we believe the Word (John 8:24). Since we now believe that the Word of God is true, we are then willing to repent of all of our past sins (Acts 17:30). This repentance is the change of mind which brings about a change in lifestyle. After we repent of our sins, we are willing to confess that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of the Living God (Romans 10:10). Based upon that confession, we are then baptized into Christ to wash away every sin that we have committed (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). After we are baptized into Christ, it is not the end of the studying. We are to remain faithful to Christ (Revelation 2:10); but the Lord promised that if we succeed in preparing for this exam, we will have life eternal with Him. The question that we must ask ourselves is this: are we ready?