Thursday, December 31, 2009

It Is Finished

"It is finished". Ah, those words can bring relief. I think of many situations in which "it is finished" marks an end to something long, laborious or difficult. In most recent history, we have said "it is finished" to 2009. This completion was celebrated by most with an exuberant countdown marked with a renewed sense of anticipation and excitement for something good to come. We usually approach the end of a year with a time of reflecting on our successes and failures and hopes and dreams for what the next year may hold.

Graduation is another moment in time when the completion of something lends itself to the anticipation of something good. The labor of education is over, complete, finished. Walking across the platform with right hand extended to receive that piece of paper that proclaims "it is finished" creates an upsurge of joy that can fill your heart. Suddenly all of the work that went into that diploma is replaced with a sense of accomplishment and promise of something great to come.

Likewise, I can remember after the very long and difficult birth of my son, repeating the words, "it's done, it's finished" over and over again. It was in that moment that the completion of nearly 10 months of pregnancy had culminated to this incredible pinnacle of time that held both great relief and great anticipation. Yes, it was finished....and yet it had just begun.

While all of these things can have great significance in our lives, there is nothing that compares to the moment in time when Christ uttered the very words "it is finished" from the cross. In that exact moment in time, Christ took all of history, all of the very present, and all of the future and completed the transaction needed to save the world from sin, once and for all. I have heard some say that they feel as though they are heaping more sin on Christ's head when they sin. To this I most heartily disagree. While I believe it grieves the Lord when we sin, I also believe that when He said, "it is finished", there was nothing more that needed to be done. He did not say "it is finished for now", or "it is finished for awhile". The task of taking my sin (all of my sin), your sin (all of it) and the sin of the world (all of it) was complete.

And not unlike the previous examples, I can't help but imagine the great sense of anticipation and promise that came with those very words. In that moment when the veil was torn and the ground heaved in a violent sigh of relief, creation knew that the finishing work of salvation was complete. And, because of this, I now have a choice.

Because He said, "it is finished", I can now say, "I have begun".

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