Sunday, May 20, 2012

It Is Finished

Last year I read a book given to me in which the author (a well-known Word of Faith pastor) wrote about living by faith instead of foolishness and presumption. Afterwards I offered the book to a friend thinking it would minister to her. She refused to read it because she only wanted to study materials about the “finished work of the cross” and mentioned several preachers, a few of whom I know personally.

I agree we need to be selective in who we receive impartation from. There is a lot of spiritual junk food out there. But it can also be a form of pride if a person insists on receiving from only one stream of ministry. 1 Corinthians 1:10 points out that God doesn’t want divisions within the Body of Christ but that we “…be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Before Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) What exactly did the Lord finish? Earlier in John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Jesus had an earthly assignment that was completed at the crucifixion. But the Lord hasn’t totally stopped working. One day the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will return to earth with His saints to defeat the forces of the Antichrist at the Battle of Armageddon.

One cannot work to earn God’s love and acceptance. But believers have a part to play to see His plan fulfilled in their lives. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Believing in the finished work of the cross doesn’t mean we just sit around and expect God to do everything for us. Our part is to obey His word and whatever the Holy Spirit prompts us to do. 

Look at what Paul stated in Acts 20…

22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul later declared in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” He never would have cross the spiritual finish line if he hadn’t fought “the good fight of faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

It should also go without saying that receiving the benefits of the finished work of the cross doesn't happen to everyone by default. Sinners need to hear the good news so they can make a decision to receive the free gift of salvation. Are you doing your part in getting the gospel out?

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
- Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

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