We are nearing the end of the The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross and by next week we will be finished. It seems to have gone by very quickly. You can read more about this effort here: Reading the Classics Together. If you have not been reading along with us it is probably a bit too late to start now, but stayed tuned for the next book we’ll read together (I will announce it here in a couple of weeks).
The sixth chapter looks at what may well be the best-known words Jesus spoke on the cross: “It is finished.” A.W. Pink rightly calls these “words of victory.” They were not words of surrender that proved Jesus had been defeated and was succumbing to death. Instead, they were words of triumph as Jesus accomplished the work He had come to the world to do.
The chapter follows this outline:
- Here we see the accomplished fulfillment of all the prophecies which had been written of him ere he should die.
- Here we see the completion of his sufferings.
- Here we see the goal of the incarnation is reached.
- Here we see the accomplishment of the atonement.
- Here we see the end of our sins.
- Here we see the fulfillment of the law’s requirements.
- Here we see the destruction of Satan’s powers.
These are words I have pondered more than any of the others Jesus spoke while on the cross. As with the other sayings, they are ones whose meaning we could never exhaust. If I were to lay aside every responsibility in life and spend the rest of my days pondering just these words, I’m sure I could never arrive at the complete depth of their meaning. No greater cry has been uttered in all of history. No more important cry has been uttered. This is the very center point of human history.
The first area that jumped out at me in this week’s reading was what Pink put under the heading of “Here we see the end of our sins.” Here he makes the distinction between sin in and sin on. “If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me. Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return, should he come before I die, but there is no sin on me.” The distinction is crucial. If sin were upon me, I would be under its curse and judgment. Its guilt and condemnation and penalty would still be upon me. But when Christ cried out “It is finished” He indicated that He had borne my sin and that it was no longer upon me. Sin still indwells me, to be sure, but the work of Christ has removed it from hanging over me with its condemning power. Pink points back to the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament to illustrate this. It is a powerful section that aptly describes the end of our sin. Thank God that He took that sin and rescued me out from under it.
The other area that stood out was the section describing the destruction of Satan’s power. This is an aspect of Christ’s work I particularly love to ponder. When Christ declared “It is finished,” Satan and all his host must have rejoiced. “To human appearances it looked like the moment of his greatest triumph, yet in reality, it was the hour of his ultimate defeat.” They must have thought Jesus was dead and finished but in reality this moment marked the ultimate defeat of evil. This would only become clear three days later when Christ triumphed over death, but already the work necessary to destroy evil had been fully and finally accomplished. We now properly regard the devil as a vanquished foe. Though he continues to make his presence felt in the world and though evil remains, he is in full retreat and his time is drawing to a close. We have no reason to fear him, for Christ has conquered.
We will continue next Thursday with the seventh and final chapter of the book and look at Jesus’ word of contentment.
I am eager to know what you gained from this chapter. Feel free to post comments below or to write about this on your own blog (and then post a comment linking us to your thoughts). Do not feel that you can only say anything if you are going to say something that will wow us all. Just add a comment with some of the things you gained from the this week’s reading.