Monday, October 3, 2011

It Is Finished

When he [Jesus] had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30).

A criminal stands before a judge and awaits his sentence. The judge pronounces the man acquitted, bangs his gavel and tells the man he is free to go. If this man returns to the judge six months later and asks him to pronounce the judgment again because he doesn’t “feel” acquitted, the judge would probably have the man committed to an institution. The judgment has been made. It is finished.

It is also “finished” for Christians. Christ, the judge, has pronounced us acquitted from the guilt of our Sin. The forgiveness won for mankind by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is full, final, and complete. His blood washes away our sin completely, making it as if they had never occured. Having fulfilled every command of the Father, and every prophecy of Holy Scripture, Jesus voluntarily died. “It is finished,” was not a cry of exhaustion. Jesus’ final words from the cross are a confirmation that all Jesus had been sent to do to seal our salvation had been completed. It is finished and the verdict has been rendered – we, though guilty of sin, have been set free, solely through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There is nothing we have to do – there is nothing we are able to do – in order to set our relationship with God right. Paul tells the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

No amount of so-called “good” things that we do can earn us God’s grace. God gives us His saving grace as a gift, through faith in Jesus Christ. Good works do have their place in a believer’s life – they are a response to the awesome gift God has freely given us through His Son. As Martin Luther explained, “A man is justified by faith alone, not by a faith that is alone.” A faith that is alone – that does not respond to God’s good news of salvation and forgiveness by producing good works – is no faith at all. Show the world the love God has shown you, and wants to show them, through everything that you do, not merely by the words that you say.