Does God grade on a curve?
July 3, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (july 3, 2013) -- Throughout my years in school I took a lot of tests. Some I did well on, some not so good. Prior to taking exams, particularly in college, I always wanted to know whether or not the professor would grade on a curve -- I always hoped the professor would. If the professor graded on a curve, no matter how difficult the test was, I could still pass if my score was comparative to everyone else's score.
In theory, even if I only received a 45 percent on the test (far below the passing grade scale standard) I could still pass, if everyone else had a similar or lower score than me. Back then, I would shamefully take comfort in knowing others were not prepared for the exam or did poorly, because their failure made me look better in comparison. Grading on a curve essentially allows the other test takers to set the standard rather than the instructor who developed the test.
In many ways life is like a test. We have an assigned "textbook" (the Bible) that contains all the answers needed. We choose to prepare for the test, or not, and then attempt to select the right answers on the test.
Unlike college, God is the instructor who issues this exam; and it is he, not the students, who sets the standard.
God's test (his laws, such as The 10 Commandments) is unlike any other we will ever take and the only passing score is perfection. In this test, if you fail (sin) one single question (commandment) you have failed the entire thing.
God, not people, sets the standard and he does not grade on a curve.
That is exactly what James, the half-brother of the lord Jesus, is saying in James 2:10, 11.
James knew that Jesus was the only one who ever lived to score a 100 percent on God's exam. Only Jesus, in his perfect obedience to the Father, achieved the standard. James also knew that on his own he could never receive the passing score required for eternal life. He knew his entrance into heaven would only come through being justified by faith in Christ (Romans 3:20-25).
Jesus' forgiveness and righteousness, freely given to the believer, will be the only way you and I can pass this test. On the cross, God, the Father, gave Jesus our "F" and gave the believer Jesus' "A" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Many people have adopted a false theology that says their entrance into heaven is relative to the performance of others.
"I'm not as bad as the other guy," is the poisonous salve that soothes the guilty conscience. The dangerous and fatal belief that there is safety in numbers is pervasive in our culture.
"Surely, the professor will not fail all of us, for we are many in number," is the thought of the unrepentant sinner.
Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it." (Matthew 7:13,14)
Here, Jesus destroys the common false assertion of safety in numbers for the wicked. In this life, if we trust in our own efforts and compare ourselves to others we will fail. When we trust in Christ, looking to him as the example to follow, we will experience victory. Only then, will we pass the test.