August 11, 2016
A Scholarship to Heaven?
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. – Acts 26:19-20
Soon after entering high school, we are reminded that even in basic education, academic achievements can have a lasting effect on our lives. Counselors, teachers, and parents tell us that most college scholarships require a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA), positive recommendations from teachers, and other requirements, all meant as a clear incentive for us to do well in our studies.
For many students, scholarships are necessary to pay college expenses. Beyond applying for financial aid, for most people the only other option of financing an education is taking out loans. That is why scholarships are so great—the money does not have to be repaid. Anyone can apply, though applicants have to meet some conditions before being awarded. Those selected to receive scholarships must demonstrate the ability to benefit by them. Work habits, GPA, achievements in student governments, volunteer activities, and many other characteristics are evaluated in the selection process.
When I think of scholarships, I am reminded of the saving grace of God. While salvation cannot be earned, there are conditions we must meet before God can give it to us. In our focus verse, Paul recounted how he had told both Jews and Gentiles that to receive salvation they would need to do “works meet for repentance.” This phrase is what reminds me of scholarships, because it points out that just wanting salvation is not enough. In fact, asking is not enough either. We must have truly repentant hearts, and that attitude will be evidenced in our actions. Once we meet His conditions, God freely bestows His salvation to us.
Salvation is not the only instance when we need God’s grace. For deeper experiences, divine guidance, protection—anything we would receive from God—we rely on His free grace. Yet we also must meet His defined criteria. Certainly, we cannot earn His blessings and we never deserve them, but we must come in obedience before we can receive.
In education, there are a limited number of scholarships available, which means students have to compete for these awards. However, there is no limit to the amount of grace God has for His children. For each and every need we may have, we can all meet the conditions for receiving His blessings.