What Does “It Is Finished” of Seven Last Words From the Cross Mean?
There was a knock at the door.
When opening the door, Huimin saw her mother, Wang Xue. She said gladly: “Mom, what brings you here?”
Li Jun, Huimin’s husband, went out of the room when hearing the voice of his wife.
When Wang Xue came in and sat down, she hurriedly said: “Early this morning, Pastor Zhang came and told me you two have accepted Eastern Lightning, is that true?”
Huimin replied with a smile: “Yes, Mom. Lijun and I have accepted Eastern Lightning. After investigating for a period of time, we have seen that Almighty God’s words have revealed the mysteries in the Bible, the mystery of God’s name, and the mystery of the incarnation. These words have authority and power. After listening to them, we have understood the truth we didn’t understand before, and our hearts are enlightened. We have made sure that the words are God’s personal utterances, and that Almighty God is the returned. You’d better make an investigation.”
After hearing the words, Wang Xue said with worry: “Xiaomin, you clearly know Eastern Lightning is testifying that God has returned and done a new stage of work of judging and purifying man. How could that be possible? The Lord Jesus clearly said ‘It is finished’ on the cross, which means that God’s work of salvation was complete. As long as we confess and repent before the Lord, our sins will be forgiven. When the Lord returns, He will lift us directly up into the kingdom of heaven. So, there will be no more work.”
Li Jun gave a glass of water to Wang Xue and said: “Mom, in regard to investigating Eastern Lightning, Huimin and I had pondered it carefully before we decided. In the beginning we had the same viewpoint as yours, but after a period of investigation, we finally understand that the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ on the cross, doesn’t mean that all of God’s work of saving us mankind was complete.”
After hearing this, Wang Xue immediately put down her glass, waved her hand, and said: “What you’re saying is incorrect. In saying ‘It is finished’ on the cross, the Lord Jesus meant that God’s work of salvation was complete. How can you say God’s work of saving mankind hasn’t been accomplished? Isn’t that denying the Lord’s words?”
Huimin said with a smile: “Mom, please calm down. Let us explain this to you. When the Lord Jesus was crucified, all He said were the words ‘It is finished.’ He did not say all God’s work of saving mankind was finished. However, if, only according to the Lord’s words “It is finished,” we determine that all of God’s work was accomplished and that the Lord will have no more work to do, isn’t it too arbitrary? Mom, let’s think about this. If the Lord Jesus’ words ‘It is finished,’ means that the work of God’s salvation of mankind utterly finished, then God will not have more work to do. But it is prophesied in the Bible: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (John 16:12-13). ‘He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). So how would these words be fulfilled? From these prophecies, we can clearly see that the Lord will return and express the truth to perform the work of judgment. If it was how we understood it that the Lord Jesus had already finished the work of saving mankind and that He wouldn’t need to express truth to do the work of judging and chastising mankind, how would these prophecies come true? Wouldn’t the Lord Jesus’ prophecies that He will return to express truth to do judgment work come to naught? So, we can’t define that God’s work of salvation was entirely completed based on the Lord Jesus saying the words ‘It is finished.’ That is our own imagination and understanding, and is not in line with the Lord’s intentions. If we define God’s work by our notions, we will easily resist God.”
Wang Xue felt Huimin’s words made sense, so her attitude became a little gentler, and she said: “What you fellowshiped is based on the Lord Jesus’ words. According to the Lord’s prophecies, when He comes again in the last days, He will surely express truth and do the work of judgment and chastisement. But if so, what do the Lord Jesus’ words ‘It is finished’ refer to?”
Hearing this, Li Jun said: “Mom, in reality, the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ on the cross, means that His work of redemption in the Age of Grace had been accomplished. As long as we accept the Lord Jesus’ work, confess and repent to Him, our sins are forgiven. So we are qualified to pray to the Lord and enjoy the grace He bestows. This is the effect of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. However, though we are redeemed, don’t commit obvious sins, and also have some good behaviors, we are not totally delivered from sins and are often bound by sins. For example, we often lie and deceive others; we can also hate and envy others in our hearts, and we are filled with greed and evil thoughts; we still follow the worldly trends, coveting money and pursuing vanity. Some people, when caught or persecuted by the Chinese Communist government, blame God and even provide written statements in which they deny God and betray God. Many people can judge and condemn God’s work according to their notions and imagination. These behaviors are sufficient to prove that we only gain pardon of sins. But within us remains Satan’s nature and Satan’s disposition. This is the source of our committing sins and resisting God. Before our sinful nature is resolved, we are able to resist God, betray God, and consider God an enemy. So, how could the Lord directly bring this kind of people into the kingdom of heaven?”
Huimin then said: “Yes, Mom. God says, ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). And Hebrews 12:14 says, ‘And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ Now we often commit sins, and we are far away from being holy. So we need God to do a stage of work of judging, chastising, and cleansing mankind. Just as God’s words say: ‘A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.’
‘Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.’”
Hearing this, Wang Xue nodded her head unknowingly.
At that time, Li Jun said: “Therefore, when the Lord Jesus said ‘It is finished,’ He only meant that God’s work of redemption was complete. He was absolutely not saying that all of the work of saving the human race was complete. God is faithful. Since God has decided to save mankind, He will thoroughly do it. There is no way He’ll stop the work of saving mankind before it’s done completely. So, on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work, God carries out a stage of work of resolving man’s sinful nature to entirely save man from sins. Only when we experience God’s work of salvation in the last days, shake off the corruption and are cleansed, will God’s management of saving mankind be completely finished. Then it will be just as Revelation says: ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely’” (Revelation 21:6).
The fellowships of Li Jun and Huimin surprised Wang Xue. She thought to herself: “Their fellowships are in line with the Bible and the words of the Lord. It turns out that the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished,’ only means that His work of redemption was complete. It doesn’t mean God’s work of salvation was finished. Indeed. We are still bound by sins, and frequently commit sins and resist God. How can we see the Lord? Their fellowships do make sense….”
When seeing Wang Xue bowing her head and not speaking, Huimin slightly shook Wang Xue’s arm and asked, “Mom, what are you thinking about?”
Then Wang Xue came to her senses, and raised her head to look at Li Jun and Huimin. She smiled, saying, “I never imagined. I haven’t seen you for only a month, but you have understood so much. After your fellowship, I also understand somewhat. It turns out that what the Lord Jesus did was only the work of redeeming mankind. And that this work of redemption was to atone for man’s sin. As long as we believe in the Lord, our sins will be forgiven. And we qualify to pray to the Lord and enjoy His grace. But the redemptive work isn’t the work of judging and cleansing mankind. So, although we have been forgiven by the Lord after sinning, the problem of our constantly sinning and confessing isn’t really resolved. Therefore, we still need God to perform a stage of work of judgment to thoroughly save us from sin. Am I right about this?”
Li Jun and Huimin replied happily: “Yes, you’re right!”
Wang Xue felt embarrassed, saying: “Ah, when I just arrived, I was worried about you. I was wondering: You have believed in God for so many years, so how could you easily accept Eastern Lightning? I originally wanted to persuade you not to accept it. But through your fellowships, I find I’ve been confused in my faith these years, for I don’t know God’s work of saving mankind, and define God’s work relying on my own thoughts. Isn’t this resisting God? How am I fit to enter into the heavenly kingdom? Thank God! Now I understand that only when God carries out a stage of work of judgment and expresses truths to resolve the root of our sins, can we be purified. In this way, God’s work of salvation will completely finish. My journey here is not in vain.”
The family put an end to the debate in laughter. At that time, the sunshine outside was so radiant.