It is Finished!

spectral080900086On the cross, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30)! The 3 English words are actually only 1 word in the Greek—tetelestai. Tetelestai means “accomplished, completed, done, concluded, finished.” And this word is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense indicates action completed in the past, but with existing results. Thus, when Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” He meant, “it was finished yesterday, it is still finished today, and it will stay finished tomorrow.”

There was once a rather eccentric evangelist named Alexander Wooten, who was approached by a flippant young man who asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

“It’s too late!” Wooten replied, and went about his work.

The young man became alarmed. “Do you mean that it’s too late for me to be saved?” he asked. “Is there nothing I can do?”

“Too late!” said Wooten. Its already been done! The only thing you can do is believe.” (Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary)

His death covered your sin in the past, it still covered in the present, and it remains covered in the future! His blood calms the wrath of God in the past, it still calm in the present, and it remains calmed in the future! His sacrifice carries away the guilt of your sin yesterday, it still carried away today, and it remains carried away tomorrow!

Come to Christ today! Turn from your sin and trust Christ as your personal Lord and Savior! Call on Christ and you will be saved!

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To Carry Away the Guilt of Our Sin 2

images-2In the Old Testament, God provided a beautiful way by which the sins of the people can be carried away—literally. Lev. 16:15, “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” (ESV) On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest would sacrifice a goat as an offering for the sins of the people. He would sprinkle its blood on the altar called the “mercy seat.” That is the first step.

Then he will lay both of his hands on the head of another goat, which is a live goat. He would confess all the people’s sins over that live goat. The goat carried all their sins on itself. Afterward, he must send it away into the wilderness where it could never find its way back (See Lev. 16:15-22). That goat symbolized the guilt and punishment of their sins. It now carried the guilt and punishment of their sins away, where it could never come back again.

Now Christ the Lamb of God carried our sins on Himself on the cross. Heb. 10:11-12, “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (ESV, emphasis added). “Take away” here is from periaireo, literally, “to remove all around, i.e. unveil” (Strong); “to strip off all around” (JFB). The picture here is of a veil that is wrapped or stripped around your body. Periaireo means to remove or unwrap or strip off the veil all around. Thayer defines it as: “to take away altogether or entirely.”

The Bible says that every priest that offers sacrifices in the Old Testament can never strip off or unwrap the guilt of your sin. They can never remove entirely the punishment of your sin.

But Christ not only covers your sin. Christ not only calms the wrath of God against sin. Christ also carries away the guilt of your sin. He unwraps the guilt of your sin that binds you. He strips off the punishment of your sin that ties you up. He removes not just the burden of your sin, but also the guilt and punishment of it, by His death on the cross.

Every sinner must pay for the penalty of breaking the law of God. Yet Christ took our punishment upon Him. As our Substitute, He stood in our place. He carried our sin on the cross. Because He bore our punishment, we no longer bear the penalty.

In Christ alone therefore, we are saved, not just from the penalty of sin, but also from the guilt of it. In Christ alone, we are reconciled to God.

If you have trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, and repented of your sins, He will not just cover your sins. He will also calm the wrath of God against your sin. He carries away the guilt of your sin, so that it won’t come back to bother you again!

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To Carry Away the Guilt of Our Sin

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The first purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is to cover our sin. The second reason is to calm God’s wrath against sin. The third intent is to carry away the guilt of our sin (John 1:29; Heb. 10:4, 11).

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins . . . And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:4, 11, ESV). This is the deficiency of the Old Testament system of sacrifices. No blood of bulls and goats can ever take away your sin.

Why did God require those sacrifices in the first place? Because those sacrifices were a shadow of the real sacrifice—the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. They pictured and pointed to the coming offering of the Lamb of God.

That’s why when John the Baptist, the last prophet of the OT, saw Jesus, he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NKJV). The verb, “takes away,” is from airo, “to bear, to carry.” (Strong)

Now in the Hebrew mind, “take away” means not only to bear the sin, but also to carry the guilt and punishment of it. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. . . the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18:20, NKJV). The word, “guilt,” here is from avon, “guilt or punishment of iniquity.” (BDB) The meaning is that you don’t only bear your sin. You also carry the guilt of your sin and the punishment of it.

By His sacrifice on the cross as the Lamb of God, Christ takes away once for all both the guilt and the punishment of sin for us.

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To Calm the Wrath of God 2

spectral080900087You might ask, “Well, why do I need to calm the wrath of God?” Because God is angry at your sin. John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NKJV). Paul wrote that before we got saved, we are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3, ESV). Jonathan Edwards once wrote his famous sermon entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Sin is so sinful that a holy, righteous God is angry at it. You need to appease the wrath of God, because He is angry at sin. And He is angry at sinners!

The penalty of sin is death. Every sinner must pay for it. God is really angry at sin. Every sinner must appease His anger. The bad news is that no sinner can pay fully for his sin. For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, ESV). No matter how religious you are, how good you are, or how helpful to others, you cannot pay for your sin.

This Holy Week, many in the Philippines will flog their backs with whips. Many will offer themselves to get nailed on the cross. Many will walk in a religious procession under the heat of the sun, believing that it is but a little sacrifice this season. Yet no sinnner can ever sacrifice enough to get the favor of God. No sinner can ever satisfy God’s righteous demands and appease God’s wrath against sin. The Bible says that all the bloody sacrifices of men can never pay in full the strict requirements for divine righteousness (See Ps. 50:7-15; Mic. 6:6-8; Heb. 10:1-6).

What did God do that we could not? The good news is that God sent His only begotten Son, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God (Heb. 10:9-10). Christ fully paid the penalty of our sin, satisfied God’s demands, and appeased God’s wrath.

How? He was the sinless, Lamb of God. That already satisfies the demand of God for a perfect offering. He died. That’s already sacrificial. He died for us. That’s vicarious. He died in our place. That’s substitutionary. His blood covers our sin. That’s expiation. His offering calmed the wrath of God, ensuring the mercy of God. That’s propitiation.

So Christ not only covers our sin. He also calms the wrath of God against sin. He appeases and pacifies the wrath of God against sin. John wrote, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, ESV).

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To Calm the Wrath of God 1

k04710941The second parallel purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is to calm the wrath of God against sin. The verb, kapar, meant, to cover your sin, or expiation. It also means, to conciliate the wrath of God against your sin, or propitiation—“to pacify” in the Piel stem (BDB). It means, to appease the anger of God against sin.

Back when I was courting my wife, sometimes I would do something that would make her upset, like when I’d say or do something wrong . So to make her calm down, I’d bring her a peace offering. I’d bring Cadbury chocolates. It usually works. Later, I stopped bringing her Cadbury chocolates, because it got too expensive.

Now you might ask, “What’s the relationship between the two?” Expiation is to the offense of sin. Propitiation is to the One offended by it. When the Bible says, expiation or a covering of sin, it refers to the offense of your sin. When the Bible says, propitiation, or a calming of the wrath of God against your sin, it refers to the One offended by sin. John wrote, “He [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, ESV).

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To Cover Our Sin 2

k09251971Maybe you may ask, “Why do I have to make amends with God?” Because you have sinned against a holy God. Sin is a breaking of the law of God. There is the sheer sinfulness of your sin. It is a great offense to a holy God.

Now when you make amends with God, you don’t go to God with your own conditions. In salvation, God comes to you first with His conditions, then you go to God. You go to God, obeying His conditions for making amends with Him.

What are God’s conditions for expiation, for making amends with Him? The Old Testament says that you cover your sin. How? You offer a bloody sacrifice. Now in the New Testament, Christ is our expiation, our covering for our sin. All the sacrifices in the Old Testament were but a shadow of the real thing—the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

One day, Harry Ironside visited a sheep ranch. There he saw a strange looking sheep that looked a lot different than the rest of the sheep. He asked the sheep rancher, “What kind of sheep is that?” The rancher explained, “Mr. Ironside, let me tell you the whole story. On the day that sheep was born, its mother died. Later, a mother sheep gave birth to a baby sheep, and the baby sheep died. So we thought that we should put together the mother of the dead sheep, with the baby sheep of the dead mother. But the mother sheep did not accept the baby sheep. So we thought of an idea. We cut the wool of the dead sheep; and used the wool to cover the baby sheep. The next time the mother sheep saw the wool of her dead sheep, covering the baby sheep, which is not hers, she began to accept the baby sheep as her own.”

Christ died on the cross for your sin and my sin. He shed His blood on the cross.  His blood is a covering of our sin. If you’ve trusted Christ as your Savior, and God looks at you, God sees the blood of Christ that covers your sin.

Come to Christ today. Turn from your sin. Trust Christ as your Savior. And His blood will cover your sin.

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To Cover Our Sin

images5What is the meaning of the atonement? To answer that question is to explain the purpose of His sacrifice.

The first purpose is to cover our sin. “And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement [kippur]. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement [kapar] for it” (Ex. 29:36, NKJV). In the Jewish calendar, there is Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. (Yom is Hebrew for “day,” while kippur means, atonement.) “Atonement” is from the Hebrew plural noun, kippur. “Make atonement” is from the verb, kapar.

How do you cover your sin? In the Old Testament, it is by a bloody offering or sacrifice. God commanded the Levite priest to get a young bull, kill it, and sprinkle its blood on the altar as a ransom price for the sins of the people (Ex. 29:36).

The bloody sacrifice here has a dual meaning and purpose. The verb, kapar here means, “To cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for” in the Piel stem (BDB). The equivalent English word for kapar is expiation, which means, “to make amends” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Expiation is to make amends with God, by covering your sin through a bloody sacrifice. That is the first meaning of the atonement. You get a bull, kill it, and then sprinkle its blood on the altar. That’s expiation—making amends with God by covering your sin.

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The Purpose of His Sacrifice

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(This is the first of a series on the Atonement, for the Holy Week season. May the Lord bless you as you grow in knowing about the meaning of the Atonement.)

How many major projects have you started and finished already? Some of us have yet to finish college or build a house. Back in High School, every time a classmate would finish answering the exam, he’d cry out, “Finished!” That would put a lot of pressure on the rest of us who haven’t finished the exam yet!

Around 12 Noon on Good Friday, under the heat of the sun, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” What did He mean by that?

What Jesus finished is His sacrifice for sin at the cross. The offering of Christ on the cross is now finalized. Christ’s offering of Himself is fulfilled once for all and never to be repeated anymore.

When we talk of the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we are actually talking about the point (meaning) of the atonement. When you understand the point of the atonement, then you know its purpose.

Atonement is a key doctrine in the Bible. It is a key message of the Gospel. There’s no “full gospel” or “empty gospel” in the Bible. There’s only the true or the false gospel. A gospel that excludes or diminishes the atonement makes it a false gospel.  A gospel that emphasizes it is a true gospel (Rom. 5:6-21; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

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