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Grading on a Curve

Portrait of high school math teacher sitting at desk working on assignments for students.


”God doesn’t grade on a curve when it comes to how little you’ve sinned.”

—Mark Jobe


The term ‘grading on a curve’ is a method used by teachers on many college campuses today to adjust the scores their students receive on an exam, one way or the other. Though it has its pros and cons, this statistical tool allows the professor to understand how to curve a grade distribution and ultimately, assist their students to strive to do their best. My math teacher used the curved grading system which caused my entire class to compete against each other which I didn’t particularly like, but it did keep me engaged and working hard to improve my grade, nonetheless.

Whether you’re a fan or not of the Bell Curve in school, a lot of people use this rationale when it comes to their spiritual lives whether they know it or not. They mistakenly assume that God grades on a curve based on how good they are and often compare their ‘petty’ sin to other Christians they know who’ve sinned a lot worse than they, in their opinion.

In God’s economy, there are only two grades: pass or fail. Since God’s standard is perfect, there are only two options: a holy God and imperfect people. Even one small sin disqualifies us from the holiness of God. The Bible is clear in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” so we are all on equal ground, in need of a Savior to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” and “present us faultless before the throne.”

How good does a person have to be in order to make it into the presence of God? Well, based on the Scriptures, as good as God is which we will never be able to attain on our own. That’s why God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin giving us His righteousness so that when God looks at us, He sees Jesus. We get a passing grade because of Christ!

Listen to the sermon series: Salvation

Part 1Part 2

Ministry Update from Mark

As I reflect on this summer, I’m grateful for the opportunity to worship with brothers and sisters around the world. In June, I preached at a church in South Korea commemorating God’s goodness and faithfulness in that country since Billy Graham’s historic crusade there 50 years ago. In July, Dee and I joined our sister church in Santander, Spain which was a time of refreshment and renewal. In August, I was back home preaching at New Life Community Church with dear friends. Three different countries but the same Spirit of God moving powerfully among people in different cultures and languages. He’s the God of the nations!

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How to Resurrect a Dead Prayer Life by William D. Thrasher

How to Resurrect a Dead Prayer Life

Transforming Your Prayers into a Spirit-Empowered, Life-Giving Adventure

by William D. Thrasher

How to Resurrect a Dead Prayer Life is a practical guide to cultivating one of the most important spiritual disciplines. Filled with constructive insight and pastoral warmth, author Bill Thrasher gives readers renewed enthusiasm for prayer. With brief chapters organized around various themes and an appendix full of tips and references for stimulating prayer, this book is the perfect tool for enriching your prayer life!

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Dr. Mark Jobe

Mark Jobe serves as president of Moody Bible Institute and host of Moody Radio's Bold Steps. He is the author of Unstuck: Out of Your Cave into Your Call (Moody Publishers). He is also the founding pastor of New Life Community Church, a Chicago-based ministry with 27 locations throughout Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children.

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Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe

Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe takes you on the path to freedom and authenticity in Christ. With candid, topical teaching from God’s Word, Dr. Jobe offers simple gospel messages with the power to transform your life.