Akin exhorts grads to give out of Christ’s abundant grace

Friends and family gathered together to celebrate the conferring of degrees upon 251 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and College at Southeastern graduates Dec. 13.

Of those who graduated, 49 received advanced degrees, 171 received master’s degrees and 31 received bachelor’s degrees.

During this semester’s commencement address, SEBTS President Danny Akin exhorted graduates to consider how Christ’s humble sacrifice on their behalf compels them to give sacrificially as seen in 2 Corinthians 8:9.

“We give not out of obligation, we give not out of guilt, but we give out of gratitude for what the Lord has done for us,” said Akin.

Akin gave three charges for every graduate to consider based upon Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians.  

First, know the grace of Jesus. Akin built upon Paul’s statement to the Corinthians that they know Jesus. He explained that Christians are given the gift of knowing and experiencing the life-changing power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Likewise, this is all given to believers because of the unmerited grace of a holy God through Jesus Christ.

“This is something that we know as a deep, abiding, personal knowledge.”

Second, remember Christ’s humble, atoning sacrifice. Paul reminded the Corinthians that Jesus, though possessing all riches, humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. Akin explained that Jesus gave up all of the honor he had in heaven and humbled himself to a cross so that mankind could be justified before God and one day stand righteous in his presence.

“This is how much this great savior, this great God, loves you. He went all the way from the heights of heaven to the depths of humanity to death on a cross so that he might purchase you and he might purchase me.”

This, Akin said, was the purpose of Jesus coming: “Christmas makes no sense apart from Easter. If you want to look at the real Christmas tree you look at the cross on Calvary.”

Third, seek the riches found only in Jesus. Paul writes that those who follow Christ are given the riches found in God. Akin clarified that Paul is not talking about earthly wealth. Instead, he is writing about the eternal riches found in Christ. These include such gifts as justification, forgiveness, reconciliation to God and a future heavenly home.

“Because of his amazing grace, we give,” said Akin. “Yes, we give our money, but more than that, we give our lives. We give our lives to the Lord, and we give our lives for others.”

Akin concluded with a final exhortation: “Because of his amazing grace, we give. Yes, we give our money but more than that: we give our lives. We give our lives to the Lord and we give our lives for others. Graduates, you will go where others will not go. You will do what others will not do. You will serve where others will not serve. And you will give what others will not give.”


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