UGHH!! Here it is again, one of the most demanding times a
student at the university must face—final exams. Without fail, they arrive
sooner than expected (or wanted), and unlike taxes, finals come at least two or
three times a year! It is a time that some find stimulating and rewarding, but for
the majority of students it is a time that they could do without. It is a time of
stress, lack of sleep, and headaches.

This is especially true if you are one of those who haven’t been
preparing all along for this week. You find yourself with projects due that you
haven’t begun, books to read that are currently paperweights on your desk, and exams
worth the majority of your grade, all staring you in the face. What do you do? At
this point, you gut it out. Hopefully you will survive, and next time you will
start preparing right from the beginning.

Unfortunately, people often approach their lives in the same
manner that they do the university, waiting for the last minute to prepare for
the Final Exam—death, and then the judgement of God. Both are certain,
“just as it is appointed for men to die once and after that comes

Why judgement? It is because mankind has rebelled against God,
going our own way and not loving God with all our heart. The Bible calls this
sin and says that the result of sin is separation from God, resulting in death.
This will become eternal on the day of judgement.

“Wait, I’m not so bad.” The Bible says that
“whoever keeps the whole law and yet fails at just one point is guilty of it all.” If you have blown it once—lied,
lusted, cheated, stolen—you’re guilty. For example, if you have driven to work
for the last ten years and always stop at the stop sign near your home, you are
law abiding. But suppose that one day you are late, so you roll through the
sign, and a policeman catches you. Is he going to let you go because you have
been “good” before? No! You are guilty and face the penalty.

The same holds true with God: “all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God,” and “the wages of sin is death” (eternal separation
from God).

What a dilemma. We are facing a final that requires a score of
100% to pass, and we have already failed! What can be done?

The professor can take the test for us, and that is what God

God became a man, Jesus, and lived among us for thirty-three
years showing us what God is like. He also came in order to die in our place,
to take our penalty for us. This He did when He died on the cross, and “He died
for sin, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us
to God.” Then He was raised to show that the penalty has been paid in full—good
news! Yet now you have the responsibility to respond to that good news.

“How do I respond?” First you must realize it is a
gift, something that you cannot earn, “for by grace you are saved
through faith—and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works,
so that no one can boast.”

Second, you must repent and believe in the gospel. To repent
is to turn away from sin (living for yourself) and turn to God, to live as He
deems fit. In essence, it is to stop trusting in yourself (your good deeds and
hopes) to get you by and to start trusting in Jesus alone for your eternal life.
Thus you must believe in the Gospel (which is that Jesus is God, that He died
for your sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day) which means to put the
whole weight of your life and future in the hands of Jesus.

If this is your genuine desire, then honestly talk to God, thank
Him for Jesus dying in your place and then raising Him from the dead. Tell Him that
you want to, and will, turn from sin and that you want Jesus to be the Lord of your
life. You are no longer separated from God because of sin and now have a
personal relationship with Him!

Like any other relationship, this one must be fostered and
nurtured. Spend time with God in prayer, read the Bible, and meet with other
true Christians.

You are now ready for the ultimate final exam!