“It is finished.” Yes, it is finished on the cross. But living in a world full of sin, sometimes we don’t feel like it is finished. Read about this in today’s devotion, which is drawn from Words of Life from the Cross: Resources for Lent–Easter Preaching and Worship.
Psalm 31 or Psalm 22
Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
John 18:1–19:42 or John 19:17–30
In one sense, “it is finished” with you. You, as you are in Christ, united with Jesus through Baptism into His death and life, you also are finished. “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). You were crucified with Christ; you were raised to life in Christ; you are seated at the right hand of God in Christ. In Christ it is finished also for you.
But in another sense, it is not yet finished, not as your eyes can see, not as your senses can feel. You remain in this mortal body. You are part of this old, fallen creation. You are still a natural-born child of Adam. The things you want to do, you don’t do; the things you don’t want to do, those wind up being the very things you do. When you try to do good, evil seems to lie just around every corner. We would cry out with Paul, “Wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24), and we would be correct.
We are caught in the paradoxical tension of the now and the not yet, of being sinners in ourselves and yet fully perfected saints in Christ. Simul justus et peccator goes the familiar Lutheran formula. There is a tension, and also a daily repentance. A daily dying to the old self in Adam, and a daily rising to new self in Christ.
“It is finished.” Jesus says it over you in the death of your Baptism, where you died to sin to arise to life in Jesus. “It is finished.” He says it to you again in the words of absolution that recall you to that Baptism and cover you anew. “It is finished.” He says it to you with His body and blood, confirming once again His completed work of your salvation.
Remember this Word of fulfillment in the hour when you are tempted to add to Christ’s completed work, when you doubt in your salvation or are beset by your sins. Remember this word as you gaze into the mirror of the Law reflecting back your sin, and when you face the hour of your death. Recall this word on this Good Friday, man’s creation day and his redemption day. It is finished, and it is very good.
Devotional reading is from Words of Life from the Cross: Resources for Lent–Easter Preaching and Worship, Good Friday sermon © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Hymn “No Stranger Love” is © 2018 Concordia Publishing House.