The media is currently full of stories about school students and exam grades, A level, GCSE and BTEC. The impact of Covid-19, and the inability of schools to hold exams, has created something of a disaster. Algorithms used across the U.K. have led to students receiving much lower grades than expected, and we’ve seen many stories of upset young people claiming that their future has been ruined. As a former headteacher, I’m fully aware of the problem of assessment, teacher or exam based, and how to produce a set of standardised results that fairly reflect student achievement. For years teacher assessments have been criticised as lacking academic rigour, but as from today they are the means by which thousands of students are being judged.

There is always a problem with assessment, and always will be. There is also a problem with the way we think we can enter heaven, or can be saved. We assume it’s assessment based, that there is a certain standard that we have to reach. It’s an incredibly high standard but we think we can reach it if we put in the effort, and it creates two mind sets. Either people will work hard to reach the standard, which may involve going to church, living a good life and avoiding anything they consider harmful. They can convince themselves they have reached the standard, or they can hope they have and expect a benevolent God to ignore one or two failings and let them into heaven. Alternatively, people will assume they can never reach the standard and live lives to please themselves. Some of these will think they can turn to God in later life, some won’t even bother and tell themselves there is no God.

Who’s right? None of them. God has never established a required standard that we have to reach. Our entry into heaven is not assessment based, it’s Jesus based. The Bible says “No one is acceptable to God! Not one of them understands or even searches for God. They have all turned away and are worthless. There isn’t one person who does right.” (1) Be thankful that God is not using an assessment system, because if he was, you’ve failed, and so have I. No one is acceptable to God. There isn’t one person who does right.

What we cannot do God has done for us. Knowing full well what our sinful condition is, and how we cannot enter heaven ourselves despite our best efforts, God has sorted by providing a means of entry. That means of entry is his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, himself, once said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (2) Jesus is the way to God, the way to heaven.

To become the way to God Jesus had to leave heaven, which he did over 2000 years ago. He lived on earth, the supposed son of a carpenter, although God was his real father. He lived in poverty and at the age of 30 commenced upon a mission that would take him to a cross. He was crucified as a common criminal, even though he had committed no crime, as the Roman governor at the time, Pontius Pilate, announced on three separate occasions.

His crucifixion was necessary, because in dying such a cruel death Jesus was acting as our Saviour. He was being punished for our sins. When we believe in this amazing truth, accept Jesus as our Saviour, and choose to live for him, our sins which stop us entering heaven, are viewed as being transferred to Jesus and we are freed from the implications of our sin. He suffers and we are given entry to heaven, and the promise of eternal life.

No assessment, no standard to reach, just a belief. That’s all that is required to be saved.

 

Bible References:

  • Romans 3:10-12
  • John 14:6