Friday 10 April 2020
Thank God that Christ’s work is finished! Therefore I can rest on the finished work of Jesus Christ. That is the only way I can have peace with God, the only way I can have assurance and the only way I can enter into heaven. I am not resting on my unfinished work but on the finished work of Christ.
That is the message today. We can rest on the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is about the atonement. Someone once said “one to meant”, bringing us in one with God by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross where He deals with our sins so that everyone that is separated from God, has an avenue back to God in faith and repentance.
This is at the very heart of the Gospel. Every believer needs to know what happened at the cross for it is at the centre of our faith.
Jesus spoke certain words on the cross. In the first three hours He hung there, between nine and noon on that day He spoke only three words. Then at noon darkness came over the whole land and for the next three hours He did not say a single word. He was our sin bearer and in that darkness He was plunged into all dimensions of hell. Then He cried out in a loud voice saying: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me!” A sudden sequence of events followed and Jesus said: “It is finished!”
Let us read from John 19:30;
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit”. (John 19:30)
What a privilege to minister on these words today. Jesus has come through the agony of His suffering, enduring all the pains of hell. He has cried out from the depths, but now He’s announcing his victory. He moves into death, not defeated, but triumphant: “It is finished.”
These are the greatest and most momentous words that were ever spoken upon earth since the beginning of the world. In these words chains are broken and prison walls fall down!
I am praying that this will be your experience as your hear these words of Jesus today. May you find this helpful: It is finished! Christ finished. You haven’t. But with Him, you will.
“It is finished” (John 19:30)
What was finished?
1. The long night of His suffering
John described how someone held up a sponge soaked in vinegar on a stick, and the apostle says, “When Jesus had received the drink, he said ‘It is finished.’”
This was the end of his tremendous suffering. Jesus knows suffering from the inside—more than anyone has ever known it. But He is not suffering now. He’s done with that. It is finished. He’s not in the grave either. He’s at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us.
That is of massive importance for us. A suffering world needs a Saviour who knows about suffering.
We need a Saviour who has triumphed over suffering. That is what we have in Jesus. He was plunged into indescribable suffering, but He was not overcome by it. He came through it and he triumphed in victory.
What was finished?
2. The full course of his obedience
Remember why Jesus came into the world. The Son of God became a man to live the life you and I would have had to live in order to enter heaven. Jesus lived the perfect life. There was no sin in Him. The night before He died, He was able to say to His Father:
“I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do” (John 17:4).
Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish law but to fulfil it.” (Matthew 5:17). Every commandment of God was fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout His life, Jesus loved God the Father with all His heart, soul mind and strength, and He loved His neighbour as Himself. He’s the only person who has ever done it. Jesus’ perfect life of obedience was now complete and He was about to lay it down, so He said, “It is finished.”
What was finished?
3. The decisive battle with his enemy
The life of Jesus was a life of suffering, it was a life of obedience, but it was also a life of conflict with our great enemy the devil. Look at the world today: Where does evil come from? Why do so many marriages fail? Why do wars keep happening? Why this virus?
Jesus spoke with absolute clarity about the devil. Confronting the devil was the first act of Jesus’ public ministry. The Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Throughout His ministry we see Jesus casting out evil spirits that were holding human lives in bondage.
The story of this conflict goes back to the beginning. Satan tempted Adam and Eve and led them into sin that caused them to lose the joys of being always in the presence of God.
As they enter the knowledge of evil, they came under the power of the evil one. That’s our story ever since. That explains what we see around us today. But God promised that a Redeemer would come, saying to Satan:
“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel”. (Genesis 3:15).
What a picture! The Redeemer stamps on the head of the snake, crushing it, and in the same act, the snake bites His foot with deadly poison. That is precisely what happened at the cross. In Christ’s death he breaks the devil’s power:
“Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
You might expect the Bible to say, “Jesus triumphed over satan by the resurrection,” and that’s true, but that’s not what it says here. It says Christ “triumphed over satan by the cross.
At the cross, satan was the gambler who knew he was losing, and running out options and was forced to put everything on the table. Jesus swept the boards and then he said, “It is finished.”
When Jesus died, he went beyond the reach of satan. Satan could no longer tempt Him. The devil could no longer afflict Him or cause Him to suffer. When Jesus went into death, it was “game over” for the devil and “game on” for us. The decisive battle with the enemy had been won.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14,15)
The Son of God became man. He fulfilled the law of God, and then laid down His life as a sacrifice for us. He is able to save sinners and there is nothing that satan can do to stop Him! It is finished!
What was finished?
4. The complete work of his atonement
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to give His life as a ransom for many, and on the cross He says, “It is finished.” He has borne the guilt of our sins. He has endured the punishment of our hell. The divine wrath has been spent on Him. The justice of God has been satisfied in Him.
The perfect sacrifice has been offered. Complete atonement has been made. Hell has been vanquished. The condemnation has been removed.
Now the Redeemer says, “It is finished.”
What can be added to Jesus’ redemptive work, His death and resurrection? It is finished! His long night of suffering is over. He’s no longer on the cross. The full course of His obedience is over. The decisive battle with His enemy is over. Christ finished. You haven’t. But with Him you will!
There was only one Person in the history of the world who could ever truly say, “It is finished.” No one will be able to say it when they die, because no one will be able to say it while they live. None of us will be able to say to God “I brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” I haven’t been able to say this of a single day of my life.
As a believer in Christ, you have begun the work of all the commandments, but you have not finished the work of any! I cannot identify a single day of my life that I could say, “I lived that day to perfection.”
Every day of the week, we are in the position of saying, “We have done the things we ought not to have done. We have not done the things we ought to have done.” And that will never change this side of heaven. You may grow in your walk with God, but you will never move beyond being a believing sinner.
Sinners on earth can never say, “It is finished,” and neither can sinners in hell. Christ finished. You haven’t. But with Him you will.
With Him You Will
Here’s what you get when Jesus is yours. Or rather, here’s what is yours “in Christ.” Jesus completed the work of atonement, so…
1. …In Christ you are forgiven, accepted and loved.
If you are in Christ, you don’t have to do something else to be loved and accepted. All that you need is in Christ. If He is yours then love, forgiveness and acceptance are yours. You are accepted in His love! (Ephesians 1:6 KJV).
Jesus completed the full course of obedience, so…
2. …In Christ you have already lived a righteous life.
Jesus has lived it for you. If your hope of heaven rested on your works, it could never stand. Your works are not complete; they’re not finished. If your hope depends on your own works, something you had to do in addition to what He has done, your hope could never stand.
But when your hope of heaven rests on Christ’s work, that hope is secure, because Christ’s work is complete, “It is finished.” The law says, ‘do this’, and it is never done. But grace says, ‘believe in this’, and everything is done already.
Some of us are living under the law and it is never done. You will never have joy as long as you live under the law.
In Christ you have already lived a righteous life. He lived it for you. You are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Just as your sins were laid on Jesus and counted as His. His righteousness is counted as yours.
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus completed the decisive victory over satan, so…
3. …In Christ the devil is a defeated foe.
Some of you look at your past, at your family history and you can see the work of satan, the destroyer, running over generations. You wonder if some kind of curse hangs over your family. You ask, “What does this mean for me?”
Remember that no curse can stand if you are in Christ. How could it? He won the decisive victory over satan on the cross. For you to enter into this victory asks for the renewing of the mind to know who you are in Christ.
Maybe you find yourself overwhelmed by the strong pull of temptation. Satan knows your weakness and he has been running rampant in your life because of it. You have failed so many times that you’ve got to the place where you can hardly imagine prevailing over this enemy.
In Christ your enemy is a defeated foe!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him give us all things (Romans 8:31,32).
Jesus completed the long night of his suffering, so…
4. …In Christ your suffering will lead to glory.
No suffering lasts forever. Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Look at the resurrection body and the new creation. All this is yours when Christ is yours—no more sin; no more pain; no more tears; no more death. Christ finished. You haven’t. But with Him you will!
What to Do With a Completed Work
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He was surrounded by darkness, and He was two breaths away from death. Simply hearing that Jesus said this is not going to change your life, but believing it will.
As He hung there in the darkness, it hardly looked like satan’s power was broken. It hardly looked like hell’s gates were splintered. It hardly looked like death’s sting was drawn.
A week after Jesus died, the world did not look very different. The same was true after another month, another year, another century, another millennium. Is the world different than the day Jesus said this?
Caesar was still on the imperial throne, selfishness and pride still dominated high places, the hearts of many seemed to become no better but rather worse with the passing of time.
When Jesus said, “It is finished.” this was a cry of faith, a cry anticipating all that would come from His completed suffering, His perfect life, His atoning death and His decisive victory.
It means this is a cry that must be embraced by faith. Most people have heard the words, “It is finished,” but the question is: Do you believe that “It is finished?” It was not obvious then and it is not obvious now, except to the one who has faith in Jesus.
Hebrews 2:8 to 10 makes it clear how you live a life of faith.
“Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside His control. At present we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:8, 9)
That’s what the Bible says. “But we see Jesus”. What do we see? We see wars. We see cancer. We see viruses. We do not see everything subject to Jesus.
And what is Jesus doing? Making the world a better place? Putting an end to human suffering? Ridding the world of evil? He never says any of these things. He is “Bringing many sons to glory,” and he is able to do this for you!
“For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10)
How does that happen? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the difficulties you are facing today, in this crises we all face here and now. Believe that “it is finished,” and as you believe, what He accomplished at the cross will become yours!
It is our privilege to share the gospel. It really is good news, which is what it means.
Think about what happens when a king triumphs in battle. He sends back messengers to proclaim victory. They sound the trumpets, “The battle has been won. The king has triumphed and the enemy is defeated. Now we can live in the peace and joy that flows from this victory.”
But if the king loses the battle, he sends back military advisers who say, “Man the gates. Prepare for battle. The enemy will be here soon. We all need to fight for our lives.”
Do you see the difference? Either the battle is won and we can live in the joy of it, or it is lost and we must prepare to fight ourselves. Every religion in the world says in some way, “You need to fight for your life. Say the prayers. Do the good works. Observe the disciplines.”
But in the gospel Jesus says, “It is finished.” King Jesus has won the victory and He invites all who will come to Him to share in its spoils. Our mission is not to ask people to do something for God, but to announce what God has done through Christ! We need to say; “Make this yours! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Enter into the good of all that He has won!”
It’s natural for us to feel we need to make a contribution to our salvation, but how can you contribute to something that’s already complete?
You can’t. When a new house is built, you don’t keep building, you move in and enjoy it. When a new road is opened, you don’t start digging, you get in the car and enjoy it. When a gift is given, you don’t start paying for it, you receive it and you start enjoying it.
Is He your Saviour? Christ finished. You haven’t. But with Him you will.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in his finished work today.
Let us pray:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, in my place you stood,
You sealed my pardon with Your blood!
Thank you Father God for Your Son,
Thank you for our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who redeemed us, who gives us everlasting life.
The One that has reconciled us with you my God.
All honour and glory to Christ the Lord!