God promises to never leave, Akin reminds Fall 2018 graduates

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) President Danny Akin encouraged 30 college and 169 seminary students to trust in the steadfast promise that God will never leave them or abandon them, found in Hebrews 13:5.

Akin highlighted two points of the passage. First, he explained how God is the one who makes this promise. Noting similar Old Testament promises from Deuteronomy 31:6; 8 and Joshua 1:5, Akin explained that God has promised to never leave his children in the past nor will he leave his children in the present.

“This is a truth that was real for Old Testament saints, it is a truth that was real for New Testament saints and it is a truth that is real for you and me today right where we are,” said Akin.

He also explained that the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God of Scripture is not taken by surprise by the circumstances that will occur now and in the future lives of each graduate because he is sovereign.

“No matter where you go, he’s already there waiting on you,” said Akin.

Second, Akin explained how God’s children are the recipients of this promise. In explaining the context of the verse, Akin noted the author’s exhortation to live a life free from the love of money and to live a life with contentment, both of which follow the stated promise at the end of Hebrews 13:5. The Christian’s response, Akin said, should model that of Psalm 118:6 (quoted in Hebrews 13:6), which states, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

“Of course, the answer is he cannot do one thing that your sovereign, loving, heavenly Father does not allow,” said Akin.

Drawing from the Greek, Akin explained that the literal translation of Hebrews 13:5 uses a double negative twice to emphasize the promise.

“It’s as if God anticipated that we might have doubt,” said Akin, “and so he doubles up twice to guarantee his promise, ‘I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.’”

“Graduating class, that promise is also yours. Every one of you that is here today, that promise can also be yours. All you have to do is ask him,” said Akin, closing the ceremony with an invitation for salvation, as he does at each ceremony per semester.

Photos from graduation can be viewed here.

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