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The Finished Work of Christ

By Dan Lash

     Quite often preachers talk about the finished work of Christ.  Just what is “finished” about the finished work of Christ?

Actually, much of what we read as being accomplished in the finished work of Christ is in reference to sin. 

     Let's talk about sin. The basic meaning of this word sin is “to miss the mark.”  Sin, when used in the singular in the New Testament, is usually a reference to that inward frame of reference inherited from Adam through which we filter all the decisions of life.  When we, as sinners, filter our decisions through this corrupt, satanically inspired frame of reference, sins are the result.  This frame of reference known as sin is corrupt; therefore, it is not able to produce the righteousness of God.  The thought process which governs every decision of the unrighteous man is first filtered through this grid system of values known as sin. If you are not born again, it is the only frame of reference you have. No amount of reformation, no degree of refinement, no degree of discipline can improve or deliver you from this depraved frame of reference.  If you die in this condition, you will spend forever in torment functioning according to this frame of reference.   This is precisely what Satan was counting on in the Garden of Eden.  Satan thought that he had forever alienated God from His most cherished creation: man.  Man, whom God had created to be the object of His delight was, with one transgression, transformed into the object of His repulsion.  Satan thought that he had forever gotten even with God.

     So now God had a problem:  How could He spend eternity with people whom He loves but by whom He is repulsed?  Not only that, but how could He allow sins to go unpunished?  Every one of our transgressions is ultimately an act of rebellion against God's kingdom.  These transgressions must be addressed with an appropriate response from God, or else God Himself is not just.  So, because of His justice, God is now obligated to punish those whom His love would desire to save.

     God was not at all content to leave us, whom He created for communion, as objects of his rejection.  God's answer to the issue of sin is found in sending His Son, the eternal second person of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus, to this earth in the form of a man.  Jesus became a man in order that He might become related to us and, through that relationship, make Himself responsible to grapple with and put away our sins to God's complete satisfaction.  God is now satisfied with what the Lord Jesus has done about your sins.  Whether you are saved or not, I can tell you on the authority of the Word of God that the Lord Jesus put away your sin debt as that insurmountable obstacle between you and God.  Now sin no longer dictates to God that people whom He loves must spend an eternity alienated from Him.  Whoever you are, you are free to enter into an everlasting relationship with God because the Lord Jesus has already dealt with the issue of your sin.  All you must do is believe this good news for yourself.  All you must do to be saved is to take God at His word concerning His provision of Christ for you.  The moment you are willing to bet the eternal destiny of your soul upon the fact that Jesus has satisfied God about your sin, the moment you are willing to turn from every other confidence and by faith embrace God’s provision for your sin, you are born again. 

     The reason we are to believe that Jesus has already dealt with our sin to God's complete satisfaction is because it is true.  We need to receive at face value the testimony of Scripture concerning the finality to which the work of Christ has forever settled the sin issue for us.  As we read in Hebrews 9:26: 

…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 

     Or how about these verses in Isaiah 53:5-6:   

    But He [was] wounded for our transgressions,    

    [He was] bruised for our iniquities;    

    The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him,    

     And by His stripes we are healed.

    All we like sheep have gone astray;    

    We have turned, every one, to his own way;    

    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

     These are just two of the multitude of passages which I could cite which demonstrate that, regardless of who you are, God the Father has laid your sin upon Christ and the Lord Jesus has already borne the consequence of your sin to God the Father’s satisfaction, as we read in Isaiah 53:11:        

    He shall see the travail of His soul, [and] be satisfied.    

    By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,    

    For He shall bear their iniquities.

     From this verse we can clearly see that the sufferings of Christ on the cross for us resulted in a complete satisfaction of God’s righteous demands against our sin.  Nothing we can do can add to the complete satisfaction with which God views Christ’s sacrifice for you. Regardless of who you are, saved or not, God is now satisfied with the extent to which the Lord Jesus Christ has interceded in your behalf on the cross, for your sins.  The saving response to this good news is that you need to be satisfied with what Jesus did about your sin and be willing to bet the eternal destiny of your soul on the completeness of that work for yourself.

     One other thing, our faith does not in any way add to the satisfaction with which God the Father views the finished work of Christ in our behalf.  Faith does not complete the transaction between God the Father and God the Son about our sin; rather, faith avails itself of that transaction.

     Because of the finished work of Christ and the final way in which He once and for all settled our sin issue to God’s satisfaction, everyone is now exhorted to be reconciled to God by putting their faith in Christ and in His intercession in our behalf.  In fact, God wants us to boldly do so.  As we read in Hebrews 10:19-20:

 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, Boldly I say, not because we have confidence in our own abilities, but rather because we have confidence in God's word about the finished work of Christ.

     The Scriptures teach us that the work of Christ has so completely put away sin that man is not condemned because of his sin, for Christ has settled that issue once and for all in his behalf to God's satisfaction.  Man is now condemned because, as we read in II Thessalonians 2:10:  because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.

The degree to which a man will experience the condemnation of God does not correspond to the degree to which he has transgressed God's law, for Christ has already paid for those sins.  No, rather the degree to which a person will experience God's final condemnation corresponds to the degree to which he had opportunity to access the truth, but held the light of God at bay by preoccupation with trivial matters. As we read in John 3:19:

 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 

            Once we believe the simple gospel message for ourselves,  God makes us  His own, sends His Spirit into our hearts, and creates in us a new person, a new person who now becomes our new eternal identity before God.  He then invites us to continue to occupy ourselves with His grace so we might grow in our communion with Him and into the likeness of Christ. 

     The truth of the finished work of Christ is the primary object of Satanic blindness. The most resolute activity of Satan is directed at keeping people confused about this simple gospel message.  Satan can no longer keep people alienated from God because of their sins, for Christ has already made satisfactory payment for those sins.  The only way that Satan can continue to hold sway over the souls of men is by keeping their minds blinded to the extent to which Christ has already satisfied God's righteous demands against their sin.  It is the goal of Satan and his legion of demons to keep man in the dark concerning the relationship that he can have with God through Christ's intercessory work in our behalf.  As we read in 2 Corinthians 4:3:

 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  

     Let me close with this: have you ever understood this simple truth before?  If not, why don't you, right now tell God that you accept an everlasting relationship with Him based solely upon what Jesus has already done to satisfy God about your sin.  When you do so, you are born again and have eternal life. 

     Incidentally, if you have been going to church for some time and have never before understood this simple gospel truth, then Satan has been doing a good job at keeping this issue confused in your church.  I would exhort you to find and support a church that defends the purity and simplicity of this simple gospel message.