The Hopelessness Of Scorecards

MUINT002585_250In a 2011 interview with Stephen Colbert, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff was asked if he was currently a member of a religion. He answered, “No, I’ve graduated from them.” Colbert asked, incredulously, “You’ve graduated from religion?” and Cliff said, “Yes.” Colbert then said that God is sitting up in heaven when we graduate from this life with a scorecard, and asked Cliff which scorecard (Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc) he wanted to be graded on. Cliff said he would like to be graded on the scorecard of “truth and facts.” Colbert’s inspired response? “I’ll take faith and grace.”

This interview brings to mind Jesus’ words: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jimmy Cliff has decided to “graduate” from religion and wants to be assessed on truth and facts. Well, what are the facts? What is the truth? When the requirements are things like, “Honor your father and mother” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength,” the truth seems to be that we’re not doing so well. The facts are that we’re coming up a little short. Or a lot short.

To be judged on the scorecard of truth and facts is a hard yoke and a heavy burden. Jesus must, then, be talking about something else. And thankfully he is. Truth and facts lead to a heavy burden because it involves a righteousness earned. Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light because he’s talking about a righteousness given. He’s talking about faith and grace. Truth and facts mean we’re judged on our own merits, or lack thereof. Faith and grace mean that we’re judged on Jesus’ merits, and judged righteous.

May we always rely on a righteousness that is given and never fear a righteousness that is required. And may we never ever “graduate” from a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

  • a. says:

    “truth and facts lead to a heavy burden”


    truth and facts and …..math…way=truth=life=Jesus

  • Yup, Tullian! ;-) Or in other words,

    “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:4 ESV)

  • Steve Martin says:

    Truth and facts are the last thing that I want around.

    His Truth…is another story.

    ‘I am Baptized’. That is the only fact I want brought up at my trial (before Jesus).

  • Kenton says:

    For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ ESV)

    Seems as though grace and truth are juxtaposed against the Law, and that grace and truth are not at odds. The truth is that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, finds forgiveness of sins and eternal life as God’s own. Jesus is the true judge, who will judge the world in righteousness, wrath and fury to those who persist in unbelief and unrighteousness, but life and glory to those who obey him in faith.

    • a. says:

      amen. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

      • Amy says:

        Kenton and a. –what are you really arguing against? I think you missed the point here. Just a wild guess, but I am pretty sure Tullian is not saying that truth is bad. The truth that will set us free is the truth that we are sinners in need of a Savior, which is the beautiful point of this article.

  • Steve Martin says:

    The law’s job, theologically, is to expose our sin.

    It is needed.

    But it can NEVER make us righteous. And NONE of us wills to keep the law, anyway.

    We know what the law demands of us…but we just flat out refuse to do it.

    If anyone believe that he/she IS up to the task….then theory have a serious problem. The deadliest of problems. Pride.

  • BT says:

    If Jimmy Cliff was a believer that Christ interceded on our behalf and died the death we all deserve to impute righteousness on us as a free gift, he wouldn’t need a scorecard (aka truth & facts, law, standards, etc.) to know where he stands relative to merit. “Fact” is, none of us will ever measure to Christ and that is the point here, and that is the point of scripture. It is not about us and what we do, but about Christ’s work through us. It all points to Jesus. No question Jesus Christ is “Truth”, just not the “Cliff’s” notes definition of Truth portrayed in the interview.

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