"It Is Finished Forever!"
St. John 19:25-30
April 14, 2006
IN NOMINE JESU
In the great Reformation hymn, "A Mighty Fortress," we sing with great gusto that one little word can fell the devil. One word did fell him, one Greek word: tetelestai. It comes from the root telos, meaning "end" or "finish." This one word, tetelestai, is translated into the perfect tense in English, meaning "it is finished" or "it has been completed (or perfected)." This one word, tetelestai, defeated the devil once and for all. This was the penultimate word, the next-to-last word, that our Lord spoke from the cross on the first Good Friday. When the Lord spoke this word and died, the devil went through a hell he himself could never have envisioned, for this word and this death of the Christ meant permanent defeat for the evil one. If you saw the movie "The Passion of the Christ," you saw the devil screaming in horror when Christ died. The devil could no longer tempt Him, nor could he work through the scribes, Pharisees, chief priests, and elders anymore to dissuade the Christ from His mission. On that first Good Friday the devil knew that he had been beaten once and for all, for the Lord's work in defeating him, sin, and death was, is, and will forever be finished. This is good news for us this day…and every day of our lives. Yes, the Lord's work to defeat the devil is done; it is finished; it has been perfected by the perfect suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
Tetelestai! Yes, it has been, is, and will forever be perfected, for the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is once for all time and has power through the end of time. His death still has its effects today, the Fourteenth Day of April in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six, and it will still be good and perfect tomorrow and forever. Why? Because it is the Lord's death, for He is holy, a Lamb without blemish or defect, the only Lamb that could be sacrificed on our behalf for all time. The sacrifice in the temple was repeated each year on the Day of Atonement. That first Good Friday marked the last Day of Atonement, for on that day on that hill our Lord sacrificed Himself as our Sacrificial Lamb. It is finished, for
"Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. …For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. …By that will [of God] we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb. 9:11-12, 24-28a; 10:10-12).
What does this mean? Tetelestai, it is finished! You are redeemed! You have been purchased and won from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death. All He asks is that you come to your heavenly Father in repentance and faith, for Christ has opened the way to Him for you, giving you access to the Father through the Son, praying with the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts, words, and prayers. He died, tearing the veil in the temple apart, giving us access to the Most Holy Place through Jesus Christ, our great High Priest.
Tetelestai, it is finished! Though you may have sins that you still cling to and are afraid to confess them because of your terrorized conscience, know this: Jesus Christ died and won the total and complete forgiveness of all your sins. There is no sin, except for unbelief, that was not paid for with the blood of Christ. You have no need to fear the sting of eternal death, for it is finished; Christ has won eternal life for all who trust in Him. You have the promise of eternal life, a promise you will behold in its fullness when the Lord calls you to your eternal home or when He comes again on the Last Day to receive you unto Himself. One little word has felled the devil, the same word that lifts us up, as Christ was lifted up for us on the cross, from whence He cried, "Tetelestai!" It is finished. It is perfected. It is perfect, that you would be made perfect in Christ, who died for you, thanks be to God!
SOLI DEO GLORIA
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