WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated its spring commencement May 27 with 174 graduates receiving degrees from the seminary and 70 from the school’s undergraduate program, Southeastern College at Wake Forest.
Students received degrees ranging from associate and bachelor degrees to master and doctoral degrees. For the first time, there were separate ceremonies for the seminary and the college.
Southeastern President Daniel L. Akin gave the charge to students at both the college and seminary graduation ceremonies. He challenged graduates to live and minister based on nothing less than a total commitment to Jesus Christ.
In his charge, which he titled, “Jesus Paid it All; All to Him I Owe,” Akin said the payment of Christ’s death for man’s sin demands a response on the part of His followers.
“What is your and my appropriate response to this One who paid it all?” Akin asked. “I believe it’s a life lived under His lordship, a life lived for His glory and nothing else.”
Akin noted from Romans 12:1-2 that God’s call for faithful service in the life of a Christian does not come without a cost. The believer must die to sin and, if necessary, die for Christ.
“In the Bible, sacrifice always involves death,” Akin said. “That’s how it is when you follow Christ. There are some things now you die to. They don’t matter anymore. There are also some things now that you would die for if you had to.”
Akin told the graduates that while living for Christ may not always be easy, God will always prove Himself faithful.
“God’s will for every one of your lives is good, acceptable to Him and perfect,” he said, referring to the second verse of Romans 12. “You notice it doesn’t say it will be easy and it doesn’t say you’ll even understand it. But it does say it will be good, acceptable to Him and perfect. You see, graduates, you can trust His heart even when you cannot trace His hand.”
Akin concluded his charge with a plea to lost family and friends of graduates to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
“What about the rest of you?” he asked. “Will you make the same decision and choice as these graduates we are here to honor?”
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, delivered the prayer of dedication for the seminary graduation service.
“I pray for each one of these graduates,” Land said, “as they go into a world of degeneracy and darkness where you have called them to be salt and light. Help them remember Whose they are, that they belong to You…. Use them to bring revival, awakening and reformation to our nation.”