____________________________________________________________________
|                                                                    |
|                             MODERN DAY                             |
|                             PARABLES 6                             |
|                                                                    |
|                              THE EXAM                              |
|                                                                    |
|                   Another in a series of stories                   |
|                     depicting Biblical truths.                     |
|                                                                    |
|                         by Daniel Aceituna                         |
|____________________________________________________________________|


                              THE PARABLE
                              -----------

  The man was thinking how very unreasonable it was.  How could anyone
be expected to pass this exam?  He was already two hours into the
eight hour exam.  He needed to pass it to even have a chance of
getting into the company.  It was a very good company and maintained
_very_high_standards_ for all employees.

  He was determined to make it.  His family, friends and even his
minister had said, 'Don't worry.  _Just_try_your_best_.  Most of the
questions are essays so just do a _good_job_ and you will have a
_good_chance_ of passing the exam.'  'Easier said than done,' he
thought.   But he went on _trying_his_best_ hour after pain staking
hour.  Ironically, he felt a certain _pride_ in trying to reach the
goal on his own despite the exam's _difficulty_.  But what if he
failed?

  'I must not lose faith,' he thought.  'I must keep on trying my
best.  They have to see that I _sincerely_tried_.  My efforts have to
_count_ for something.  After all, _I'm_only_human_.'   Regardless, he
couldn't stop asking himself why the exam had to be _so_unreasonable_.
The last hour had come.  He still had a few questions to answer.
Would he have enough time left for review and to correct any previous
mistakes. Finally, it was over.  He had _tried_his_best_.  Now it was
just a matter of the company weighing his good answers _against_ his
bad ones.  _Hopefully_, he would make it into the company.

  The following conversation then took place.  'How do you think you
did,' asked the exam monitor.  'Not bad _I_hope_, but I must say the
exam seemed a bit too unreasonable.'  'Yes, we have very high
standards.  I hope for your sake that you answered _every_ question
_perfectly_.'  'What?' exclaimed the man.  'Don't I get partial
credit?'   'Of course not.  _It_is_all_or_nothing_.'

  The man was getting upset by now.  'But its _not_fair_ to require
_perfection_.  How could you expect anyone to pass this exam _under_
_his_own_power_.'

  'We don't,' said the monitor.  'That's why we offer the _other_
_option_.  You must have seen it written on the wall in front of you.'
Just then the man remembered the sign.  He had read it _time_and_time_
_again_.

        'IF AT ANYTIME DURING THIS EXAM, THE PERSON ATTEMPTING
         IT HUMBLES HIMSELF AND ADMITS THAT THEY CANNOT PASS
         IT ON THEIR OWN, HE MAY ASK THE WRITER OF THE EXAM
         TO TAKE IT FOR HIM.'

  Realization fell upon the man.  How could he have blown it?  He had
seen the sign but _didn't_believe_it_or_accept_it_.  He had wanted the
satisfaction of doing it on his own.  But now it was _too_late_.  His
_pride_ had done him in.  As he slowly walked away he asked, 'By the
way, who is the writer of this exam?'

  'I am,' said the monitor.  'That's why I was sitting in the room the
whole time.  I was just _waiting_ for you to _call_upon_me_, but you
_never_did_.'

                           PARABLE EXPLAINED
                           -----------------

  THIS PARABLE DEPICTS BIBLE SALVATION

  CAST OF CHARACTERS:

  The Man . . . . . . Us
  The Company . . . . Heaven
  The Exam  . . . . . God's Plan
  The Monitor . . . . Jesus Christ

  What a shock for that man.  Spending all that time struggling with
the exam only to find out that his best was not good enough.  Even
worse was the discovery that the company was willing to let someone
else take the exam in his place.

  We are all required to pass the exam known as God's Law
(Romans 3:19).  The problem is the standard is too high (Romans 3:23).
The law requires perfection (James 2:10-11) and no one can pass by
their own power (Galatians 2:16).  Yet, many try.  If they were only
honest with themselves they would have to admit that it is hopeless
(Romans 7:14-20).  Fortunately, God also knows it is hopeless.  That
is why He provided the _other_option_ which in reality is the
_only_option_.
 --
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them
 who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the
 world may become guilty before God."  (Romans 3:19)
"(10)For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
 point, he is guilty of all.  (11)For he that said, Do not commit
 adultery, said also, Do not kill.  Now if thou commit no adultery,
 yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."
 (James 2:10-11)
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by
 the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ,
 that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the
 works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be
 justified."  (Galatians 2:16)

  _Jesus_Christ_ is the only option.  Like the exam monitor in our
story, He is willing to fulfill the requirements for us.  He died in
our place to satisfy the requirements of the law on our behalf
(Romans 8:1-4; 10:4-5).  All we have to do is admit that we can't do
it ourselves.  That means repenting of our pride and sins and
believing God when He says it has been settled by Christ.  We must put
our trust in Him and not in our own ability to satisfy God's law
(Ephesians 1:12-14; Philippians 3:3-9).  Until we do this there is no
rest and no peace - only the feeling of taking an unreasonable exam
for a whole lifetime.
 --
"(1)There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
 Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (2)For
 the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from
 the law of sin and death.  (3)For what the law could not do, in that
 it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the
 likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
 (4)That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
 walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  (Romans 8:1-4)
"(4)For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
 that believeth.  (5)For Moses describeth the righteousness which is
 of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by
 them." (Romans 10:4-5)
"(12)That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted
 in Christ.  (13)In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word
 of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye
 believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14)Which
 is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the
 purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
 (Ephesians 1:12-14)

                           GOD'S ONLY OPTION
                           -----------------

FIRST THE BAD NEWS:
------------------
1.  We must realize that we are _lost_, _sinners_ that are
_spiritually_dead_.
*  "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was
   lost."  (Luke 19:10)
   ^^^^
*  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
                 ^^^^^^
   (Romans 3:23).
*  "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
                    ^^^^^^^^^^
   (John 3:3)
*  "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born
                                                                ^^^^
   of the Spirit is spirit."  (John 3:6)
   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

2.  As spiritually dead, lost sinners, God's _judgement_ and _wrath_
are upon us.
*  "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
   judgement:" (Hebrews 9:27).
   ^^^^^^^^^
*  "For which things' sake [sin] the wrath of God cometh on the
                                     ^^^^^
   children of disobedience [sinners]:" (Colossians 3:6).

3.  Our _good_works_ can't stop this judgement and wrath.  God demands
_death_ as payment for sin.
*  "Not of works..." (Ephesians 2:8-9).
           ^^^^^
*  "As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:"
                                    ^^^^^^^^^
   (Romans 3:10).
*  "the soul that sinneth, it shall die."  (Ezekiel 18:4)
                                    ^^^
*  "For the wages of sin is death;" (Romans 6:23).
                            ^^^^^

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!
---------------------
4.  God is willing to accept _someone_else's_death_ in our place.
That someone is Jesus Christ.
*  "(5)For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
   the man Christ Jesus; (6)Who gave himself a ransom for all, to
   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^                        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
   be testified in due time."  (I Timothy 2:5-6)
*  "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet
                                                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
   sinners, Christ died for us."  (Romans 5:8)
   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

5.  Jesus has _bought_ salvation for us and now God can offer it as a
_gift_ by _grace_.
*  "Ye are bought with a price;" (I Corinthians 7:23).
           ^^^^^^
*  "(8)For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
              ^^^^^
   yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9)Not of works, lest any man
                         ^^^^
   should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


How does someone accept this gift?  Through _repentance_ and _faith_.

REPENTANCE: means to change your mind and adapt an attitude of not
            rebelling against God.
FAITH: means to simply take God at His word, i.e., believe the verses
       you have just read.
*  "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance
                                                         ^^^^^^^^^^
   toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
                   ^^^^^
   (Acts 20:21)
*  "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
   saved."  (Romans 10:13)

6.  Upon being saved and born again spiritually, we become _converted_
to a _new_creature_ in Christ.
*  "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
                                                  ^^^^^^^^^
   become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
   heaven."  (Matthew 18:3)
*  "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old
                                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^
   things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
   (II Corinthians 5:17)



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