WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Referencing Hebrews 12:1-3, Danny Akin urged graduates of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to run the Christian race with endurance to the very end.
On May 10, 263 seminary and The College at Southeastern graduates walked across the stage of Binkley Chapel to receive their diplomas during their spring commencement ceremony.
“If you’re going to run the race well today [and] also finish well, I believe the Bible provides some real insight into how that can be accomplished in your life for your good but, ultimately, for our Lord’s glory,” Akin, president of SEBTS, told graduates during his address.
Akin provided three ways in which graduates are to live out the Christian faith.
First, Akin noted, graduates can be encouraged in their pursuit of Christ by looking to examples in Scripture of those who demonstrated great faith, as seen in Hebrews.
Akin spoke about Larry and Jean Elliot, graduates of SEBTS who were killed March 15, 2004, while serving overseas in northern Iraq. Noting their faith and willingness to serve Christ no matter the cost, he charged students to live with that same commitment to Christ.
“It is my prayer that, like Job, you will say, ‘Though he slay me, I will still praise him,'” said Akin, a reference to Job 13:15.
Second, Akin encouraged graduates to focus on the essential as they run the race. Drawing from the analogy given in verse 1 of Hebrews 12 about “laying aside every weight,” Akin explained that while weights in exercise can be used for good, sometimes they are a hindrance. In order to run the race well, he noted, the believer must learn to put aside the good desires for the best God has in store.
“Weights often in ministry are not bad things; they are good things that get in the way of the best things,” Akin said.
Likewise, the believer must beware of “the sin that so easily ensnares us.” Akin noted this phrase references the sin of unbelief that causes a person to think Jesus plus something else will bring ultimate fulfillment.
Running with endurance, Akin explained, means not only starting well but finishing the Christian race well.
Third, believers are to have their focus narrowly fixed on Jesus, Akin said, and no one else. He reminded graduates that when life and ministry challenge them, Hebrews 12:3 is an encouragement to look to Jesus who endured the ultimate suffering for sinners.
“He found joy in the cross because He knew it would make a way for you and me to be saved,” Akin said.
Akin closed his address with an invitation for visitors to place their faith in Christ before the conferring of degrees.
To view photos of graduation, click here.