Do you remember when a teacher or professor would grade on the curve? They’d give the test, take the scores and scale them out on a bell-shaped curve, declare the top 10% “A’s”, the bottom 10% “F’s” and spread the rest of us into “B”, “C” and “D” categories by default. I liked my chances in that system. There were always people who worked less than me, so I was ‘safe’ from abject failure. But I wasn’t willing to work hard enough to be one of those dudes at the top, so I faded into the mediocrity of the middle. Some teachers would ‘curve’ the scores by taking the highest grade on the test and add enough points to make it 100. If the best score was 92, then everyone got 8 points added to their score. Occasionally, someone would ‘blow the curve’ by making 100. I hated that guy. I needed those 8 points.
I don’t know how God ‘graded’ before Jesus came. There are lots of examples from Scripture that don’t seem fair. People who didn’t get what they deserved. People who didn’t get a second chance . . . others who seemed to get a free pass.
Jesus killed the curve. Through His perfection, He brought justice. He made a 100. No curve. No points added. He set the standard of perfection because God is perfection and He only connects with perfection. We ‘pass’ through perfection. Anything less, we ‘fail’. With ‘Pass/Fail’ . . . you make it or you don’t and we don’t. Doomed to failure on our own because we can’t make a 100. It’s not in our fallen nature.
But then Jesus goes to the Cross to pay the price for us (remember, He didn’t need the curve). He made a 100 for us. Everything He did was for us, not for Himself. He voluntarily took the test, performed with perfection, and turned in His test score for us. In that great study hall in the sky . . . when all the papers are turned in, God will mark through the red number at the top of ours and write “100” (per Jesus). We get full credit for His work. Totally not fair, but grace is the opposite of fairness. It’s a gift. An undeserved blessing.
Why would Jesus do this?
So you and I would be forever grateful and we’d thank our Heavenly Father constantly. We were created for God’s glory . . . we are His highest and best creation. What kind of worship tops gratitude? When we say “Thank you Jesus,” we’re acknowledging both who He is and what He’s done for us.
Gratitude. To Jesus. A life of constant humility and worship. The cure for comparison. For thinking, “Hey, I’m not as good as that guy, but I’m also not as bad as those people.”
It’s the antidote for ‘counting on the curve’.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)