This moment in John 19:30 when Jesus uttered these three words was pivotal. Notice how I just said was pivotal–scratch that past tense verb. It is pivotal. Jesus at the cross itself is pivotal. I never really understood how the gospel can have a daily effect on my life right now until God clearly revealed my humanness and his holiness. By that, I mean I didn’t truly see how sinful my human nature is and the more I see my sinful heart exposed, the more I see my need for Jesus. And the more I notice God’s pursuit of me. I didn’t understand that the gospel is essential to never graduate from; that it must reside as a central component and reality in my life, individually and corporately as the Church. It should not only be the foundation of my faith, but also the motivation of it.
I began reading Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger’s new book called “Creature in the Word” today. It quotes: “The gospel, in fact, provides our ongoing, day-by-day motivation to pursue holiness and experience the reality of what God claims we already are in Christ: perfect, spotless, and blameless.” This reminded me of a reoccurring theme that’s been revealed to me with the process of sanctification. It’s where the “present” gospel comes into play–sustaining and conforming me into the image of Christ. I think God truly made this clear to me through a good friend of mine, Leah. Praise Jesus for that girl and these Jesus-centered conversations we have. I used to see the gospel as an event that took place 2,000 years ago on the cross, But what I missed was the reality that the gospel not only saves, but sustains. If I am going to believe that it sustains, it has to be central. I have to preach the gospel to myself daily and die to my flesh daily by the Holy Spirit’s power within me. I’ve found myself this past week in the midst of my struggle with fear, temptation, guilt, or sin, saying “It is finished.” There is so much freedom in being able to say those words. That is the Spirit of God pressing into my heart and killing those things, because that is the same God that nailed all of those things to the cross 2,000 years ago. This is how the gospel applies today and how it sanctifies. So the next time you struggle with temptation or sin, say to yourself that “It is finished”.
When Jesus said “It is finished”, it reminds me that I am secure in my salvation. And not only so, but it brings me to a place where I can rest and gladly submit to the person and work of Jesus. So no longer should I be motivated by fear or guilt to pursue holiness, but I should delight in the work of Christ because of His wrath-absorbing death. He fulfilled the law; He didn’t abolish it. These last words spoken by Jesus are a reminder that I cannot earn what has been freely given. I’ve been set free from guilt and shame by the very work of Christ because of His imputed righteousness. He took on my sin and I was purchased by the blood of Jesus alone. I want to be humbled by the glorious grace that God richly provides through Christ.
In your fight against sin, don’t do it alone and don’t take it upon yourself. It will rob you and weigh you down with guilt and shame that’s already been paid. Jesus didn’t die for you to still take on your sin or to rob you of joy. He desires joy for you. You don’t have to keep working or cleaning yourself up before you run to God. If this were the case, then the cross is foolishness. The cross screams that He wants you as you are. He already finished the work. Remember that “It is finished.”