When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
These are the last words recorded that Jesus spoke before His death on the Cross. It begs the question, ‘What did He finish?’ The words themselves imply work that was begun at one point in time, and accomplished at another.
As a disciple of Christ (remember Disciple means follower or learner), I am told in Acts 17:11 to “examine the Scriptures every day” for answers to any questions. So, that is what I do for questions I may have to begin to understand what Jesus meant when He said the words “It is finished!”
Men and Women have been trying to get to heaven on our own merits and by our own efforts since the fall of Adam and Eve. The Devil used the lie “You can be like God” to bring about that fall and still uses it to this day!
We have all been trying to be ‘good enough’ to get into heaven, but God tells us we are all like filthy rags – “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
We will never be good enough on our own, that is why we need a Saviour. Jesus is the only One who can make us holy enough through the shedding of His blood, to sanctify us for Heaven. “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people.” Titus 2:14a.
Our sinful nature still wants to believe we can give God a hand in this process so we come up with all kinds of beliefs that justify/sanctify ourselves because we just don’t want to give up our sinful pleasures.
One such belief that I have come across lately, is that Saints who still have unresolved sin, go to a special place when they die. Here in this special place they can work out their unresolved sins to cleanse themselves before they are pure enough to enter heaven. Loved ones who are still living can pray for them and help to hurry this process along. If this is true, I need to find the Scriptures to support it!
An even more important question is“Why do we need a Saviour? Why would Jesus say “It is finished” if we can purify ourselves after death, by our own efforts and prayers?
In my research I could find no Scripture to support this thinking, but I did find many Scriptures to support Jesus claim that he had done all that was needed and it was indeed finished!
These are the Scriptures I found that I had room to put into this article, but be assured there are many more that I was unable to include.
The first one is in John 3:3 – Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Okay, that is what makes us a Saint, by realizing we are sinners in need of a Savior. The only way we can enter into heaven is by His rules not ours. We may not like what we are hearing because of our pride, as well as recognizing we are sinners isn’t something we are prone to think about, as it brings to mind our failures and our need for God.
The Old Testament was about sacrificing lambs, goats, bulls and birds with no blemish for all the sins of mankind. That is why Jesus is known as the “Lamb of God” as in John 1:29 “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He is the last sacrifice needed as Hebrews 7:27 relates. “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 9:12 “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” Hebrews 10:2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.”
Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us that we were saved by grace and not by works lest anyone should boast. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God’s grace is by Jesus work on the Cross. Man can do nothing in and of himself. Those who die with sin have not repented for Romans 6:1-2 tells us – What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? And in 1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” Hebrews 9:27a says –“Just as people are to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many;”
Jesus death on the Cross, taking all our sins upon Himself, would be nullified and of no use if we can get to heaven by our own efforts of purifying ourselves by our own works or prayers. Scripture is God’s way of communicating with us and He gives us a warning to not add or subtract any of His words with our own words or traditions or religions. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ … things done while in the body whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
I encourage you to search the Bible and if you can find Scripture that tells us we have a chance of redeeming and cleansing ourselves from unresolved sins we committed while here on earth, after we die, please share them with me or someone who believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God.
Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice for all mankind that gives us the reassurance that when we are ‘born again’ as your child, when we leave this earthly life, we will live with you forever having been purified by your work on the Cross.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I believe you Jesus when you said – “It is finished!”