WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s passion for people throughout the world was reflected during commencement ceremonies for the seminary and Southeastern College at Wake Forest May 25.
SEBTS President Daniel Akin underscored the value of a human soul to the 246 graduates and their friends and family.
“A single soul is of great, great, great value. Heaven and hell are real, and Jesus is the only difference,” Akin said, using Matthew 16:26 as the Bible text for his message: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Pondering the value of a human soul is “a question that gets at our priorities,” Akin said. “It is a question that really reveals our heart and shows what we really do believe to be important and to be ultimate.”
In order to value a human soul, Akin said, one must value the things of God, the call to die for Him and the promises of God’s Kingdom.
“The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not sustain you,” Akin told the students. “The very best place to stand in all of life is in the center of the will of God. God’s plan will be tough. God’s will may be difficult. When you don’t understand … step back for a moment, be quiet and just listen and let the Lord speak to you from His Word to your heart. You should never, ever fear obeying the will of God. God always takes full responsibility for a dedicated life.”
Akin read an eyewitness account from Turkey of a memorial service in April for three Christians killed for their faith by five Muslim men. Akin noted that Christian leaders testified openly about the Gospel on national television and the wife of one of the slain men voiced forgiveness for the men who killed her husband.
“I don’t know if God will call you to die like these three brave men, but I do know this for all of us who claim Him as Lord: He calls us to die in following Him,” Akin said. “If indeed, you will follow Him with that same type of radical, radical devotion when you stand before Him –- you, too, will hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”
Akin reminded the students that at the end of time there will be a day of judgment for all men and women as God has promised.
“There will be no bargaining at the judgment,” he said. “There will be no negotiation with God when you stand before Him. It’s much more costly not to follow Jesus.”
The graduates represented 20 states and nine countries overseas, earning associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees to doctorates. A number of the new graduates will join the ranks of others serving among people overseas who have never heard the Gospel.