When our daughter Haley was a college student, she took a course in developmental psychology. One of the tests was administered using a Scantron machine. When the test was completed, Haley received this email from the professor: “Hi Haley, I have to give you some good (and hilarious) news. Jennifer (the person scoring the test) thought the Scantron was broken because she kept running and running your test and it was not scoring it. She ran it a number of times before she realized it was not broken - you just had not missed any! On the multiple-choice section, you did not miss a single question. Impressive!”
Sadly, this didn’t characterize me at any level of my educational career. My tests typically revealed wrong answers instead of right ones. But wouldn’t it be great if we got those results on God’s test? If all of our answers before God were the right answers? The problem is, my answer sheets are all messed up. Full of errors. Full of failures. I have way more failures than successes. And you do, too.
But the good news is that because of the resurrection, God is able to give me a perfect record. The resurrection affirmed that what Jesus came to do, He accomplished. If Jesus had remained in the grave, that fact would have announced that He had failed to live a perfect life and by dying on the cross, pay the price for sin. But when Jesus burst out of the grave, his resurrection affirmed that the work of atoning for sin had been fulfilled. The resurrection was God’s Amen! to Jesus’ “It is finished!” If Christ was still in the grave, my past would be etched in stone. I’d be consigned to all the failures in my past. But since Jesus rose from the dead, all my failures can be forgiven! No matter how defeated you may feel because of your failures, you don’t have to stay that way. Because if you put your trust in Christ, your past is forgiven and forgotten. The resurrection means that your past can be completely rewritten!
Some of you live with a constant sense of failure. You think of the countless times you’ve promised to honor Christ but failed. Failed promises. Failed relationships. Failed efforts to do the right thing. There are a lot of Fs on your spiritual report card. Maybe you’ve given up on God because you figured, He’s given up on you. But I want you to hear the gospel today. I want you to claim the promise that because of the resurrection, your past can be forgiven, no matter how sullied.