It Is Finished
It Is Finished
By: Danny Wallace
It Is Finished
By: Danny Wallace
The Church is going through a great transition. Many say that we are standing at the weakest point for the Church in the 2000 plus years since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Though Jesus was offered as the final sacrifice to free us from the bondage of the Law, the Church is bound in a way like never before. Where the early Christians fell on their faces in gratitude for what Jesus had done for them – today we say that Grace has given “us” the power to fulfill the Law. We are now reaping the arrogance of seeking co-credit with Jesus – a position no man is qualified to fill.
As a Christian I am overwhelmed by the mountain upon mountain of theories, applications, and programs offered in Christianity today that are designed to help us live in such a way that God will favor us. I call it “Gospel Wal-Mart.” Offering more from the Supercenters of religion than an occult store peddles in chants and potions – the Church in America has lost its way.
As it has always been with keeping the Law to appease a performance oriented “god,” so the story goes with each new theory, application, and program we add to complete what was finished long ago. We are no freer after applying the religious ideas than we were when we wasted the sum of their cost. The futility of this exercise can be summed up by saying that man refuses to die to self as he continues to believe that he can earn God’s blessing and favor. However, for the flesh of man to be satisfied, it must always seek credit for that which only God has freely given. Man works on behalf of the flesh. God “gifts” the spirit with absolute freedom.
We speak a lot about how advanced we are today. Much is said about “what Jesus would say,” or ”what Jesus would do,” if He lived in our advanced time. We speak of this as if Jesus had a different plan of sacrifice for each generation, country, creed, or race of people. Our knowledge and technology are advanced and developed beyond all we ever imagined they would be, this much is sure. In fact, our present state of knowledge and technological advancement is just the tip of the coming iceberg. The fact is, for what is to come; we are currently too smart for God’s free gift of Grace that frees us from the bondage of rituals, sacrifices, and personal greatness. Grace is too simple for modern man. We are now reaping the arrogance of our superior wisdom. In our opinion, Grace is worth nothing if not co-mingled with the keeping of the Law.
Therefore, we stand up each day to beat God’s creation with our interpretation of the Law anew. We do it with great pride, as if this is what pleases God. Each man has a different whip in his hand and broken people around the world bear the wounds of our righteous beatings. All around us chaos abounds and the cross of Jesus is but a pale shadow in the distance of religious history. We believe we have found a better way. Really? How is that working out for us?
While God told Moses to hold his rod and “speak to the rock,” Moses did exactly what we do. Moses shouted judgment to the people and struck the rock with his rod. Though Moses was given a great opportunity to illustrate the heart of God’s Grace to the people, Moses chose to verbally beat the people with judgment and illustrate further that it is our obedience to this Law that brings forth water and healing. Say what you will, but Moses did not do as God instructed. No different than what we offer today, Moses chose what he believed was a better way.
God set the record straight in regard to His divine heart once and for all in the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus. Jesus was sinless and yet He bore “all” of our sins on His back. We were deserving of being stoned to death for any one infraction of our inferior performance unto the Law, and yet, Jesus forgave each infraction. He not only took death for us in that moment, but for all time to come.
Jesus said, “It is finished.” There is now no further need for sacrifice. Any sacrifice we choose to offer to earn the favor of God is to spit in the face of His only Son once again. Everything was completed in His Grace that is the gift of God, and not of ourselves, or we would boast. We do this above anything else with great eloquence.
We are no different today that when the Pharisees encountered the heart of Jesus long ago. If you’re wondering what Jesus would do today, stop wondering. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He would bless, love, and forgive all over again. He would refuse to “stand against” people and their sin, and stand “for” the wonderful truth and love of His Father’s heart that had wrapped His own blood in the sinless package of His only Son for our complete freedom. The question is not what Jesus would do, but rather, ”What would we do in honor of His sacrifice?”
I believe our legacy speaks for itself. We would argue that if this man was the Messiah He would stand up for what is right. If He were the Son of God he would not stand silent about homosexuality, even though He did once. He stood silent on the issue when it was at its greatest absurdity within the Roman Empire. Why? Because Jesus didn’t come to earth to stand against homosexuality – Jesus came to stand “for” our freedom in His complete sacrifice for all people.
We would say that if He were indeed the Son of God He would not stand silent while being falsely accused of sinful men. He would organize His disciples to “stand up” and “speak out” for what is right in the sight of God! And yet, Jesus has already testified with his life and His silence that this was not the heart of His mission. He did not come to condemn men or defend what is right in the sight of God. He simply came to set broken humanity free. The question is not what would Jesus do in the midst of our great wisdom and advanced technology today. The question is, “What would we do with this Jesus who is the Beginning and the End?”
We would do what we are doing. We would continue to reject His sacrifice as being in any way complete. We would say that He simply died so that “we” could have the strength to keep the Law and thereby, be pleasing in the sight of God.
We would say that it is not finished because “we” have yet to finish it with our self-righteous greatness. How do I know this? I know it because this is exactly what we are saying. If man will try harder, sin less, attend church more, and pray at certain times of the day for certain periods of time – man can possibly “earn” God’s favor – although each man has a different idea of what is sin, which church is acceptable, and how man should pray.
And in the midst of our self-serving chaos Jesus still says, ”It is finished.”