It is Finished
The Sinless Life and Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ Are the Only Meritorious Basis of Acceptance with God
No man or angel can add anything to His finished work (Eccl. 3:14; Gal. 3:1-17). All that Christ did was for us. His incarnation was for us (Isa. 9:6).
He never would have been the Son of Man but to make us the sons of God. He never would have been made in the likeness of sinful flesh but to raise us up into the likeness of God.
All His miracles were performed to confirm our faith (John 11:42). While He lived here on earth, He was wholly set apart for us (John 17:19). He was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13),
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), NKJ Galatians 3:13 and He died for us (2 Cor. 5:14).
He was bruised for us and buried for us (Isa. 53:5; Heb. 2:14-15).
He arose and ascended to heaven for us (Rom.4:25; John 14:2). He lives for us (Heb. 7:25). And when He finally comes again, it is for us (John 14:3).
He who intends to build high must lay the foundation broad and deep. The plan of salvation is founded on the infinite humiliation of the Son of God. He was the brightness of God's glory (Heb. 1:3), yet was so humbled in the form of humanity that He looked not like Himself, nor scarcely like a man (Ps. 22:6; Isa. 52:14; 53:3). His humiliation was real and voluntary before God and man. It is not said that He was humbled, but that "He humbled Himself." Phil. 2:8. He came to this earth in the body of our humiliation and was made "under the law," yet He was "God blessed for ever." Rom. 9:5.
The eternal God was born in time. The Creator became a creature. He who was equal to the Ancient of Days became an infant of days. For the sun to fall from its sphere and become a wandering atom, for an angel to be turned out of heaven to be converted into a worm, would be no such great abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would abide still, though inferior creatures. The distance between the highest and lowest species of creatures is a finite distance. But for the infinite Creator of all to become a creature is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. The distance between God and the highest angel is an infinite distance. Yet Christ became a man, not an angel. He humbled Himself, and the world scorned Him (Isa. 53:2, 3). He was called Beelzebub, an illegitimate child or just "the carpenter's son." At His trial one could only refer to Him as "this fellow." (Matt. 26:61).
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." 2 Cor. 8:9. He came into this world, and there was no place to lay the infant. He walked the earth, and there was no place to lay His head. He died, and there was no place to lay the body. When He took our place, He had nothing. As one has said, "He went lower and lower until there was no lower place to go." As Christians we may be humiliated, but irrespective of how low we go, there is always a lower place. But not so with this Man. The infinite God, who is all wisdom, could truly say, I can search heaven and earth, but I cannot find a lower place to go.
Did man offend and violate the law of God? Behold, God Himself became man to repair the breach and to satisfy for the wrong done. The highest honor that ever the law received was to have such a One as the man Christ Jesus stand before its bar and make reparation to it. This is more honor and far more glory to the law than if it had poured out all our blood and vindicated itself upon the ruins of the whole creation. It is not so much to see the stars overcast as to see the sun eclipsed. The greater Christ was, the greater was His humiliation; and the greater His humiliation was, the more full and complete was His satisfaction; and the more complete His satisfaction, the more perfect and steady is our consolation. If He had not stooped so low, our joy and comfort could not have been exalted so high. The depth of the foundation is the strength of the superstructure, and "ye are God's building" which is built upon that "foundation" (1 Cor. 3:9-11).
In the light of the cross, the heart can cry out —
And because of this,
Though we cannot perfectly and fully satisfy the claims and demands of God's holy Law, yet Christ's complete obedience is imputed to us and stands us complete and without fault before God. Oh, what a complete and perfect thing is the righteousness of God in Christ! Let the searching eye of a holy and jealous God turn it every way, view it from every side, and He will not find the least flaw or defect in it. Let Him thoroughly weigh it and examine it, and it will ever appear pure and perfect, containing in it all that is necessary for our atonement. How pleasing, therefore, and acceptable to God must be that faith which presents so complete and excellent an atonement to Him. Hence the acting of faith upon Christ for righteousness, the approaches of faith to God with such an acceptable offering, are the work with which He is well pleased (John 6:23, 29). One such act of faith pleases Him more than if we should toil all our lives at the task of obedience to fully satisfy all the demands of the Law. It is more to God's honor and our comfort to pay all that we owe Him in one payment, in one lump sum, than to be paying by very small degrees and never be able to make full payment or see the debt cancelled. By one such act of faith, God counts that all is paid and the debt is cancelled.
Because we are accustomed in this world to time payment (buying a thing and paying it off by degrees), in our Laodicean blindness we bring that system over into our spiritual life. We think that by some keeping of the Law – and that poorly done – and other services and reforms, we will satisfy the demands of the Law. But it is all an abomination to God because it comes from a wicked heart of unbelief, for the debt has already been paid and we are free in Christ. We are inclined to cry out like that poor man in Matthew 18:26, "Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." But, like that man, we have no just conception of the greatness of our debt or the greatness of our wretched poverty.
We are not called to Mount Sinai, to the covenant of works, but to Mount Zion, "to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:18, 22-24). It speaks not a debt to be paid, a life to be forfeited, but of a debt already paid and a life already given.
It is he that has been forgiven much that loves much. If we examine the Scriptures, we will see that in one sense there is no such thing with God as being forgiven little or much. God either forgives all or nothing at all, and we either pay all in one lump sum or nothing at all. For in this matter there are no degrees with God. If Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36).
The words of Paul to Philemon are but an echo of the words of Jesus to His Father concerning us: "If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he has wronged you, or owes you anything, put that on my account . . . I will repay." Philemon 17-19.
Personal Repentance Towards God and Faith In Christ's Doing and Dying
Let us then hear His cry, "It is finished!" and let us come to God by and in Jesus Christ. Then we will not only go away free, but new men and women in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). Now let our loving heavenly Father daily and always hear our heartfelt prayer made in the name of Jesus Christ, "O Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, cover me with your robe of righteousness and wash away my sins and make me clean."
Because of the cross of Jesus Christ He now can answer us in the full assurance of the everlasting good news of Jesus Christ,
Even so, return soon, Lord Jesus! Amen.