The Final Exam
For several years now I have taught some remedial mathematics courses at a community college. The material I teach is content that should have been learned by students successfully completing high school. However, some individuals, for various reasons, never master basic mathematical skills, and they need help relearning the basics so they can be successful in the higher level courses and eventually complete an Associate's Degree.

At the end of each semester, after spending a week reviewing and preparing my students, I administer a cumulative final exam. I test the class on all of the major concepts we have learned from the beginning of the semester. Such should not be exceedingly difficult since much of the course is sequential; that is, many of the basic concepts learned in the first couple chapters are still being used to solve more complex problems in later chapters. Thus, in a sense, we are always reviewing. If a student has kept up with his work and comprehends the principles that have been taught, he will do fine on the final. fs

Each semester, while grading the final exams, I am always amazed at a few of the scores. Typically, I will have one or two students do exceedingly well on the final--students who need a good grade in order to pass the class. They study for the final for hours and prepare themselves to the best of their ability. However, there are others who simply need a decent grade on the final, yet they end up bombing the exam because they do not adequately prepare for it. Their poor exam grade sometimes lowers their overall average so much that they end up failing the course. Such always comes as a blow--both to them and me. I don't particularly enjoy failing students, but I really have no choice, for I give them what they earn. They are almost always angry with themselves, and rightfully so, for failing to prepare for the final to the extent that they should have. Their only real remedy is to take the course again in the future.

Well Stephen, that's very interesting, but what does that have to do with us and the Bible? Allow me to explain. II Corinthians 5:10 says - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Friends, every human being--which includes you and me--will have to stand before the Lord Jesus and give an account of his or her life. You might say that there is a final exam coming that all of us must take! Jesus, in John 12:48, said something exceedingly important about that examination - "He who rejects Me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." When I help my students prepare for their final examination during the week of review, I tell them, as specifically as I can exactly what they should expect to see on the test. I don't want them to be surprised by the final. I want them to prepare for it, confidently take it, and succeed. Our God is the same way. He doesn't want anyone to be surprised by the final exam He is going to administer, yet He knows that many will be caught off guard (I Thess. 5:2,3). He doesn't want any to fail, yet He knows that most will (Matt. 7:13,14). The Lord has told us everything that we need to know about this day of reckoning. Although we don't know when it is coming, we do know that the standard of judgment used will be His word, the New Testament. What more do we need to know? The only way we can fail is if we, through unbelief or laziness, fail to prepare! Let us resolve to be faithful students of the word, growing in knowledge and understanding daily, always striving to properly apply the truths we learn in humble obedience. And let us never forget that although you can fail a math class and retake it, such is not possible with the final exam God will administer. We only get one chance at life (Heb. 9:27). Don't blow it! Are you ready for your final exam?