September 2, 2020
William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943) was a scholar, author, and professor. One day, marking an examination paper written shortly before Christmas, he came across this note: “God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas!” Phelps returned the paper to the student with this annotation: “God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year!”
David, the psalmist, would surely agree with the professor that God gets an A. Note Psalm 40:5: “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.”
One really can’t find all the words to describe the awesomeness of God. This almighty Creator is big enough to bring forth His beautiful creation with a word (Gen. 1), yet small enough to live in our hearts! Amazing! And, Jesus shares in this greatness as the Son of God. In Col. 1:17,Paul writes, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” It is the Lord Jesus who sustains this world and holds all the atoms together. Astounding! Indeed, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) gets an A.
With us it’s another thing. We are sinful. Our hearts condemn us before the holiness of the Lord. There is nothing beautiful about our lives and our hearts (Jer. 17:9). And, as Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Paul reminds us, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3:23). Yes, left to ourselves, we get an F.
But here’s the rest of the story. Our majestic God has provided for the people with the F. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-7). What love! What grace! For sinners!
Yes, God gets an A. But I think He merits an A plus. Don’t you?
Pastor Steve (and No, I wasn’t that student!)