When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It is finished! It is finished! It is finished! What? You didn’t hear me? Let me say it again. IT IS FINISHED! Redemption is complete! We cannot, through our acts, add to what Christ did for us on the cross! Isaiah 53:4-6 says, “Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Being without sin Himself, He paid the price for our sins. Even the penalties for sins we commit after salvation when we stumble and fall have been paid. He did this so we could have eternal life with Him in heaven. He did this so we could have peace and freedom in our lives. He did this so we could stand blameless before Him without any barriers. This is how much our God desires to commune with us. He gave His only begotten Son to allow us to stand in His presence.
He gave His Son as a gift to us. Yet I’ve seen people receive a gift card to Chick-Fil-A with more graciousness than they receive God’s gift to us. Romans 3:24 says that we are justified freely through His grace through the redemption of Jesus Christ. Christians reject this premise and this gift by refusing to accept fully the grace, forgiveness, right-standing with God and unmerited favor extended to us by God Himself through the sacrificial giving of His Son. When we reject the gift, we reject the Son and we reject the fact that the suffering that Christ did on the cross was good enough. By not receiving the mercies for which Christ suffered, we are saying His blood wasn’t sufficient for the forgiveness of our sins. We are saying it fell short of the mark of salvation.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
There isn’t a sin or a multitude of sins that can withstand the cleansing power of Christ’s blood. His blood is stronger and greater than all of humanity’s sins combined. Christians say they believe this to be true, but continue to shroud themselves in shame and guilt. Christians continue to work themselves ragged by doing works, thinking if they do enough to prove their love for Christ, they will be deserving of His love in return. We fail to acknowledge that His grace is enough! His blood is enough! If we gave our life to serving the church and the Lord 23 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year for 100 years, we would never be able to outdo what Christ did when He shed His blood on the cross. In fact, your efforts have the opposite effect as intended. Your works are a rejection of the love you seek. Christ’s love for you is already complete and finished. You cannot add to it and you cannot obtain it through works.
The gift is free! You need to do only one thing to receive the unmerited favor, love, grace and forgiveness of God. Believe. Believe “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25). Accept Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior. That’s the free gift. We aren’t required to earn God’s grace. How can you earn something that is already freely given? The payment was stamped received when Christ died on the cross.
Why, then, do we work in service to the Kingdom of God? We do so to further the Great Commission. In Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus instructed the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We also have instructions to care for widows and orphans (James 1:27). If we live free from the bondage of sin and shame by receiving unmerited love and forgiveness through Christ, then our desire is to share the good news with others so that they may receive it as well. We are propelled by the same love towards others that has been given to us. The enemy would tell us we must earn love. Since we cannot earn something that has already been freely bestowed upon us, we are like hamsters on a wheel. Eventually, we’ll be frustrated with the hamster wheel and feel unchanged in our quest to earn God’s favor. However, if we receive it as the free gift it is, we are renewed and energized when others receive freedom from the bondage of sin and death. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). We cannot perfect nor can we improve upon what Christ did on the cross. It is finished!