Excuse Busters

When I was in college, there were some professors who would grade exams on a curve.  This meant that each student’s grade would be scored in relation to the highest score in the class.  For example, if the highest score in the class was 80, then twenty points would be added to every student’s grade so that the highest score would then be 100.  Typically, the professors who graded on a curve gave such difficult exams that no one could make a perfect score without help.  Therefore, they used the student with the highest score as a measure of what could reasonably be expected from the rest of the class.

Sometimes students in such classes would depend on the curve to save them from getting a poor grade.  Rather than giving the effort in their studies that was necessary to learn the subject, they hoped that the whole class would be equally lazy and incompetent as they were.  If their hope was realized, then the professor would have no choice but to give them all passing grades, for certainly he would not fail everyone.

However, there were almost always students who were the “curve busters.”  These were the students who studied and prepared themselves so that they made high scores without the help of the professor’s curve.  They proved to the professor and the class that it was possible for a student to do well on the exam and that no curve was necessary.  As a result, those students who had depended on the curve were exposed as failures, and for this, they despised the curve busters.

Now let us make a spiritual application of the situation that I have just described.  In our age of relativism, it is often believed that one way of life is as good as any other.  It is often considered unreasonable to expect people to live by the ancient principles of God’s holy word in our modern world.  Rather than having an absolute standard of morality, people tend to behave as if morality changes from age to age, situation to situation, and person to person.  They seem to believe that if everyone lives in contradiction to God’s will, then He will have no choice but to save everyone, for surely He would not condemn them all.  Such reasoning is the height of foolishness.

In spiritual terms, there are also curve busters.  Perhaps they are better identified as excuse busters, for they invalidate any excuses that a person might present for his own failure to comply with the word of God.  The Bible is filled with these excuse busters, whose godly lives exposed those around them who refused to obey God.  For example, Noah, by his reverence and godly obedience, “condemned the world” by proving that others were without excuse for their own ungodly behavior (Heb. 11:7; 2Pet. 2:4-9).  Others such as Moses, Joshua and Caleb, and Daniel and his friends showed that it was possible to remain faithful to God while others fell away.  Certainly the greatest excuse buster was the Lord Jesus Himself, who was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).  If these and others were able to serve God faithfully, then the rest of us have no excuse for failing to do the same.

Today, all those who believe and obey the gospel of Christ invalidate all excuses made by those who refuse to submit to the Lord’s will.  By walking as “children of light,” they expose the “unfruitful deeds of darkness” (Eph. 5:7-12).  The sin in the world that seems so insignificant to those who are in spiritual darkness is exposed in contrast to the brilliant light of those who walk with God.  As a result, those who are Christians are often despised by those who are not, for the faith of the Christian proves that the sinner is condemned by his own stubborn rebellion.

Even within the community of believers, those who work and prosper for the Lord cancel all of the excuses made by those who fail to do their parts.  Just like the two servants who prospered for their master in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), Christians who give their efforts to Christ prove that their Lord does not expect more than His servants are able to give.  This exposes the wickedness and laziness of those servants who fail to give their efforts to Him and waste their Lord’s resources.  No excuse will be sufficient to pardon the servant who will not work.

Therefore, let us never make excuses for failing to believe and obey our Lord.  No situation or set of circumstances will exempt us from our obligations to Him.  The success of those who have served Him faithfully in the most difficult circumstances prove that His yoke is indeed easy and His burden is indeed light (Matt. 11:28-30).  Rather than despising those who have succeeded, let us be thankful for them.  They have shown us how to overcome the obstacles that we would have otherwise used for excuses.  By removing the excuses, they have blazed the path to success in the Lord, and we can follow it to salvation.

Stacey E. Durham


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