“It is finished,” Jesus said, and then he died.
The image of the immortal, invisible God died. The only righteous man allowed himself to be unjustly murdered in order to bring many unrighteous children into union with the just Father, and “it is finished” were some of his last words, eternalized in the Bible for all the world to know.
Here are three implications those three miraculous, earthshaking words have for the Christian walk.
1. Guiltless Life
Before we came to Christ, we were all guilty (Romans 3:23), and a sense of our guilt was part of what drove us to him. But we have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and guilt has no place in us any longer, not under the weight of Jesus’s righteousness that is now our own.
Yet so often we still walk with guilt, that sick remorse demanding that we somehow pay. We still see stains that we can’t wash out. We think we’re still defined by the sin we knew before we knew Christ or that we must atone for new mistakes.
We feel guilty about relationships that have fallen apart. We feel guilty for the idols we still, in some way, bow down to. We feel guilty about our weak faith. We feel guilty about our half-hearted worship. We feel guilty about our unforgiving hearts. We feel guilty about our poisonous tongues. We feel guilty about things outside our control.
We feel guilty about all the habits and mindsets we know we shouldn’t have, thinking we’re too fat, too weak, too depressed, too lazy, too double-minded, too arrogant, too fickle, too unkind, too a hundred other things to serve and please God. But Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to be anxious, remorseful people still enslaved to guilt (John 8:36, Romans 8:2).But Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to be anxious, remorseful people still enslaved to guilt. Click To Tweet
No, guilt has no place in the Christian life. Conviction, contrition, remorse, repentance—absolutely. But guilt? Absolutely not.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). All of our sin and guilt was put on Jesus on that cross; he didn’t take some of it or even most of it. He took all of it, every last shred, once for all (Hebrews 7:27). When he said, “It is finished,” he meant it.
All the work of our justification has been done for us.
2. Shameless Weakness
There is nothing more for us to do to gain access to God, nothing extra for us to do because Jesus finished it on the cross. If there was something extra, we wouldn’t be able to do it because we are weak-willed and prone to failure and faithlessness.
But since Jesus took all the pressure of perfection off of us, we can finally rest and come to terms with our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can stop pretending we’re strong, stop relying on our own strength as we strive for holiness.
This is not to say we aren’t to become more like Christ because we are, but instead of vainly chasing it alone, we pursue it aware of our humanity, our frailty, our inability to succeed on our own. This truth does not discourage us because our salvation has never been based on us; it’s always been rooted in Jesus and his power.
What we started in Eden, Jesus finished on the cross, and he started something new as well—bringing many sons and daughters to glory, making it possible for the Holy Spirit of the living God to indwell us. Holiness is within our reach because of the Holy Spirit at work within us.What we started in Eden, Jesus finished on the cross. Click To Tweet
In our weakness, we stay the same, but the Holy Spirit molds and grows us up into the image of Christ.
In our weakness, we backslide into sin, but the Holy Spirit pulls us out again.
In our weakness, we don’t know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit helps us pray and intercedes with groanings too deep for words.
In our weakness, we forget our hope and lose our joy, but the Holy Spirit gives us strength to go on and reminds us of the joy of our salvation.
We know we’re weak, but we stand on the strength of our Savior. We don’t live like it’s up to us because all the work of our sanctification has been done for us.
3. Fearless Hope
With Christ, our inheritance, fixed in our minds and hearts, we press on toward him in the power of the Holy Spirit. We fear nothing and no one but God.
Our world does not give us pause. The future holds nothing but our good and God’s glory. Hell is not our home and neither is this world.The future holds nothing but our good and God’s glory. Hell is not our home and neither is this world. Click To Tweet
Sealed by the Holy Spirit, we know the enemy has no claim and power over us except that which is given him by our holy King. We rest in the confidence that every good and perfect gift is from our good and perfect Father and that the trials we meet are meant to refine us and prepare us for a weight of glory beyond comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17, James 1:2-4).
We have been bought into a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and so we stand firm. We press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God. We eagerly anticipate and look to the glorious return of our Lord, our Savior, our Jesus. We are unafraid because the promise of our glorification was made long ago, when he said, “It is finished”.