May 27, 2017

It is finished

In Bible days, when a bill had been paid, the creditor wrote “It is finished” across the invoice. This is significant because each sin is a debt to God. However, when Jesus died on the cross, He loudly declared, “It is finished!” The price or penalty for all sin was paid. At this amazing grace, I weep.

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:24–28)

Christ bore my sin. His sacrifice was made once — to cover it all: past, present, future. The debt is paid, it is finished. How can I respond to this? The psalmist poured out praise . . .

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:1–14)

As today’s devotional reading says, Jesus Christ came into the world for this express purpose: to redeem hopelessly sinful people and put away our sin. He came to establish peace between us and God by the sacrifice of Himself.

Do I realize the evil of sin? This morning’s news verifies its reality. Sin says ‘no’ to God and by doing so, sinners so easily slide from pride in their own righteousness into unspeakable evils. Read the headlines. Humanity tries to rule itself and what is happening with that?

It starts at birth with ‘I want what I want when I want it.’ Good parents try to train selfishness out of their children, yet it pops up again and again. Why would a child grow up to be a terrorist, or a rapist, or a drug runner? It is the sin that we are born into, and even if that child never goes that far, doing my own thing and ignoring God is still sin, no matter how I strain at self-righteousness.

All the costly sacrifices in the Old Testament could not finish sin. Religious zeal and devotion cannot finish sin. Not even repentance, faith and a holy life can do it, nor can suffering the wrath of God in eternity do it. But the Lord Jesus Christ did it! By His one all-sufficient, perfect and eternally sufficient sacrifice at Calvary, the Son of God has put away all sin forever! It is finished.

There is only one remaining sin, the sin of rejecting Jesus and what He has done. That one seems to prevail, yet it is possible to be finished with it also. All it takes is a simple ‘yes’ from a heart that wants its sin to be done with, totally finished.

Lord Jesus Christ, what can I say to this? You have removed my sin. I stand before God, not in my own righteousness, but in You, and in all that You are. My debt is paid, my sin is finished, even what I may do next week is already crossed off the ledger. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless Your holy name!

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