What did Jesus “finish” at the cross?

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 (NIV)

The Holy Bible teaches us that as soon as he cried out in a loud voice “It is finished” he died and the curtain separating the most holy place from the holy place in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

What did Jesus finish or fulfil at the cross which opened up this new and living way for the new testament believer to “worship” his father in heaven, 24/7? There are many interpretations saying he finished the work of redemption, he finished the work of his father etc. and they are all true.

But if we observe the passage more closely, we find that Jesus was more specific in his uttering. He said “it is” or “it has been” finished and the fulfilment of the same resulted in the splitting of the curtain. Jesus said, he came to fulfil the law (Matthew 5: 17).

What is the relation between fulfilment of the law and splitting of the curtain?

Romans 8:2 declares that the Law of Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the Law of Sin and of Death (Young’s Literal Translation).

The Law of Death came through the sin of Adam. It reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who didn’t sin by breaking a command (Romans 5:14). It declares that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

The Law of Sin came through Moses. The Law of Moses is also known as the Law of Sin as it brought the knowledge of sin (Romans 7: 7). Before the Law was given sin was dead (Romans 7:8).

The third and final Law, Law of the Spirit came through Jesus and interestingly it’s found in the “Life of Jesus”; the law giver and mediator whereas even Moses could not obey the commandments that were brought through him.

Jesus Christ was born under the law (Galatians 4:4). It meant that he was subjected to the Law of Sin and the Law of Death, though he didn’t violate them even once. How did Jesus fulfil the righteous requirements of the Law? The answer is found in his “life”. He led a life of constant self-denial crucifying his flesh to the point of shedding blood and death on the cross. According to Apostle Paul, a New Testament believer is freed from the Law of Sin through the “flesh of Christ” (Romans 7:4). Please do remember, whenever Jesus Christ was tempted to sin, he suffered (Hebrews 2:18) in his flesh.

Constant suffering in the flesh as a result of rejecting the self-will for the will of the one who send him meant, the rendering of the veil which represented his own flesh bearing witness to the fulfilment of the Law of Sin and of Death.

It is true; there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). But it is so because our loving heavenly father condemned your sins and mine in the flesh of Jesus (body of Christ) that the requirements of the Law of Sin might be fulfilled in US who walk not according to the flesh but after the spirit. (Romans 8: 3,4). It was as if all our sins, past present and future were written down on that veil and God condemned that “Certificate of Debt” having decrees against us by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13, NASB) of Jesus His son thereby cancelling it by tearing in two.

What about those believers who are born again but still walk according to the flesh?

There is a huge risk that after a period grace from God is over; they could be subjected to the Law of Sin and eventually Law of Death, resulting in spiritual or physical death or both since they bring back the condemnation on themselves.

Let us examine ourselves. It’s true we are under grace and not under Law (Romans 6:14). But it should be a constant warning to us that even a born again child of God can fall away from the grace of God if he continues to live according to his flesh.

How can we crucify our flesh daily in each and every circumstance? How can we die to sin, world and our flesh? The answer is; only by grace. How do we find God’s Grace? James 4:6 states God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. If we slip-up somewhere, lose our temper and sin its only because we were “proud” in some areas of our life. Let us be humble to the core and follow our elder brother, the man Jesus (Romans 8:29, Hebrews 2:11) in his footsteps.


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