“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him…When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:16-18,30
As Jesus hung on the cross at Golgotha John records His final words as “It is finished.” Those are words that give us great hope.
Jesus was not saying He was finished – the empty tomb on Easter Sunday was about to prove that death was not defeat for Him. Jesus said that it was finished – “it” being the work He had come to accomplished. He had come to break the power of sin, and on the cross as the innocent Saviour died the wrath of God was satisfied. He gave His life in a beautiful exchange for ours, and as He died the claim of sin on our life was finished. No longer were we destined for eternal judgement. Now there was a way for us to be restored to relationship with God our Father.
Right from the start, when sin entered the world as Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit mankind had been subject to the curse of sin. There was pain in childbirth, hard labour to be done to grow food and death for all. A complex system of sacrifice to atone for sins became established, a never ending cycle of animals offered up to make appeasement for our sin. Constant striving to satisfy God. But the Law system was only ever temporary. God’s intent was it would show us we could never make ourselves righteous by our own efforts. There would always be more sacrifices needed.
But because of Calvary now it is finished. Now there is no more striving. For now if we have put our trust in Jesus God does not see our sin and failure. He sees Christ’s righteousness, bestowed upon us for He died in our place. The punishment that should have been ours was laid upon Him, and by His wounds now we are healed. There is no more work for us to do. We have been saved by the grace of God, through faith. It is a gift from God, not the result of our works. (See Ephesians 2:8-9). There was nothing we did that made God loves us – “he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses” (Ephesians 2:4-5). We do not have to earn the favour of God but our works. We are saved by faith alone through grace alone. There is no more striving for us to do.
Paul reminds us in Romans 5:8 that it was not because of anything we did that the curse of sin was finished – “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were sinners Jesus died for us. He did what the system of sacrifices could never do. He made the one complete and all sufficient sacrifice to cover all our sins. And now He is seated down at the right hand of the Father, for His work is finished. There is no more for us to do. We do not have to earn our salvation, it is available to us as a free gift. And that is the best news possible, because by our own efforts we constantly fall short. But Jesus died for us while we were still sinners! We don’t have to get our lives cleaned up first. We don’t have to get our wounds healed first. We don’t have to rebuild all our bridges first. While we were still sinners Christ died for us and it was finished! There is no more striving for us to do!