John 19:30 #7,"It Is Finished" 10/5/2003 ßà
#1. A Shadow of Good Things to Come (Heb 10:1-4)
#2. One Sacrifice For Sins Forever (Heb 10:8-14, Luke 19:10)
#3. This Is the Covenant That I Will Make With Them (Heb 10:15-16)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, chapter 19:28 (2X). We are continuing our stroll through the Bible, in this series that is called, "The Wisdom of God".
Today we have arrived at sermon #7 in this series. The present sermon is titled "It Is Finished" (2X). Let me read to you what God says about His wisdom, in 1Cor 1:23-24,
1Co 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
We preach Christ crucified. This is the topic of the present sermon. Why do we preach Christ crucified? We do that because our crucified Lord, the 2nd person of our triune Lord God, is the manifestation of the power of God and the wisdom of God. The cross of Christ is demonstrating the power of God, because thereby He destroyed the power of the Devil and the power of Sin over all those whom God intended to save. No! He did not destroy the power of the Devil and the power of Sin over all human beings, because we can still see the activities of the Devil and the power of Sin in this world, down to the present time. But the Bible declares in Heb, chapter 2, that Christ through His death abolished the power of the Devil. And since God is not a liar, we must understand that God did this only for His chosen people, the Elect of God. And in the cross of Christ we see also the wisdom of God, because only God could come up with such a fantastic plan of salvation, which was hidden even from the Devil's eyes, so that in the Providence of God even the Devil was a willing servant.
Why are we here, at this point, in the structure that God is building? Perhaps you remember that the last two sermons of this series were "Sin", and "The Penalty for Sin". And then I asked in the end of my last sermon, "Is There a Way of Escape?" from the penalty for sin? Yes, there is a way of escape, but only through Christ crucified; only through Christ atoning for our sins. Let us therefore look at this scene at the cross, in John 19:28-30,
Joh 19:28-29 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar". What is the "therefore" there for? You can see from the presence of this little Greek word how God crafted the Bible with great care. The word "therefore" refers to what has gone on before. The fact that Jesus was offered the vinegar was not enough. The fact is that He drank the vinegar, so that every last detail of the Law and the Prophets would be fulfilled. Every prophecy concerning Christ's first coming, and there are many hundreds of them, was fulfilled when Christ died and rose from the grave and ascended into heaven.
But why did He drink the vinegar this time, whereas earlier He refused to drink. The key lies in the words, "It Is Finished!", which in the Greek text is actually only one word: "Tetelestai!" The same Gr word was used also in verse 28, but there it was translated as: "Accomplished!", "Tetelestai!" Since all things were now accomplished not only the Scriptures were fulfilled, but also the payment for sins has been accomplished, and the purchase of the world has been accomplished. Therefore Jesus was now relieved from any spiritual payment, and therefore He could officially take a drink, and therefore He could loudly proclaim to the world: "Tetelestai!", or "Accomplished!", or "Finished!". The full payment has been made of everything Christ came to pay. The meaning, therefore, is that everything that contributes to the salvation of men is to be found in Christ, and we must not seek it anywhere else. The perfection of salvation is all contained in Christ. Based on this, therefore, all the ceremonies of the Law could now be done away, since all these ceremonies of the Law were now proven to be only shadows. Christ, the Substance, to which all these shadows were pointing, had arrived. Please turn in your Bibles about 195 pages to your right (ß) to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10:1 (2X). #1. A Shadow of Good Things to Come (Heb 10:1-4)
Look also at the importance of Christ's spiritual sufferings. Here He was hanging on the cross, proclaiming victory that all was accomplished, all payments were complete because God cannot lie, but He was still hanging there, nails piercing His hands and feet, He was still suffering in His body and still bleeding. Jesus counted it all as nothing compared to the suffering he had already endured. What has He suffered? He suffered in body and in Soul. His Soul was the preexisting Spirit of the 2nd Person of the Triune God that was united with His body at the moment of conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. When Christ had finished all the Soul-suffering He had to endure, He proclaimed: "Tetelestai!", or "Accomplished!", or "Finished!". His body was not dead yet. His body was still suffering. Why did Christ have to suffer in His Soul? Why do people have to suffer in body and in soul when they are cast into Hell? They sin with their bodies, but the sins are stored in their souls. When the Lord Jesus Christ took my place on Calvary, He had to endure in my place what I would have to endure for my sins, which means He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only God knows how to calculate the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, but it means that Christ had to suffer in His body and in His Soul. But the suffering in His Soul was much greater than the suffering in His body. That is why He cried out, "Tetelestai!" when His body was still suffering. Now read Heb 10:1-4
Heb 10:1-2 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Heb 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Of course "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins", because bulls and goats cannot endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. But that is required to satisfy the righteousness of God. The sacrificial bulls and goats were only shadows of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. A shadow is like a sign. It is only pointing to Christ, but a shadow has no substance. Therefore shadows cannot do anything else than point to the Lord Jesus Christ. But all the bulls and goats were burned in the fire on the altar. When we look at Christ on the cross, where is the fire? The fire was His suffering in His Soul. The great service of OT shadows is that they show us some details of the Atonement, which the NT does not immediately offer. Let us continue in Heb 10:5-7,
Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Heb 10:6-7 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
When the Lord Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "It Is Finished", the specific mission for which the Father sent His only begotten son into the world was now accomplished. The difficult work is done. A work more honorable and momentous than ever entrusted to man or to angels, has been completed. The mission for which He had left heaven's glory, for which He had taken upon Him the form of a servant, for which He had remained upon earth for about 33 years to do, was now completed. Nothing remained to be added. The goal of the incarnation was reached. This event is the focus of the entire volume of the Bible. God said it here in Heb 10:7. If there ever was a period in history that could be called the most important, it was the period in history when Christ walked on the earth: "God with us". The most important time segment of the period when Christ walked on the earth were the three days and three nights that are called: "the Atonement". The most important moment within these three days and three nights was the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ shouted out: "It Is Finished!", "Accomplished!", "Tetelestai!". What a joyous triumph He must have had when He viewed the costly work which was committed to Him and which was now completed. That which had been eternally purposed had come to pass. The plan of God that His Son would be a Substitute for those of mankind whom He had chosen had been fully carried out. It is true that the Savior had been "by wicked hands crucified and slain", and yet He was "delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). It is true that "the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ", and yet it was but for to do what God's hand and God's counsel "determined before to be done" (Acts 4:28). Again and again the Scriptures insist upon the irresistibility of the pleasure of God Almighty. God's secret will cannot be obstructed. God's counsel must stand. God's purpose cannot be overthrown. And this was the moment in all of history that God's counsel was confirmed, signed and sealed in blood. We should continue in Heb 10,
#2. One Sacrifice For Sins Forever (Heb 10:8-14, Luke 19:10)
Heb 10:8-9 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11-12 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Heb 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Look at the OT priests in Israel, and look at those NT denominations that also have priests. God says in verse 10, "Every priest stands daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins". Why can their sacrifices not take away sins? It is because the entire institution of priests ceased to exist when the Lord Jesus shouted: "It Is Finished". The entire system of animal sacrifices ceased to exist. All the priests after the cross have become abomination to God. And they are many. They are all a stink in the nostrils of God. Why? It is because they are offering unauthorized sacrifices. The Lord Jesus Christ "offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, and sat down on the right hand of God". This was the only sacrifice for sin approved by God. The apostles never offered sacrifices in the temple. Instead "they broke bread from house to house", which probably meant that they were having the Lord's Supper, which is a memorial of the Lord's death till He come. The Lord's Supper must be held in high esteem. It must not be given to those who will degrade it to some kind of sacrifice on an altar. That would be an insult to God. When the Lord Jesus shouted: "It Is Finished", it meant that the Atonement was accomplished, and it meant that His sufferings were completed forever, never to be repeated by any so-called "priest". This was the moment when "the Son of Man was lifted up". He was literally lifted up on the cross, but spiritually He was lifted up by the Father. This cross-experience of the Lord Jesus was His most glorious event. In fact, it is the most glorious event in all of eternity. But God, in His wisdom, made it so that only by faith can it be seen as glorious. That is why the heathen go to Hell, because they ignore the most stupendous act of God done for mankind, and they continue to invent other modes of worship, which God never approved of. But here, at the cross, "the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost"(Luke 19:10). And He was successful. Here "by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified". God did not say that Christ sanctified every human being that ever lived on the earth. No! He sanctified only "them". Who are these blessed ones? They are those whom the Father has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. But let us now look more carefully at verses 9 and 10.
Heb 10:9-10 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
What is meant by "the first" and what is meant by "the second"? Look at the context. "The first" refers to what was mentioned in verse 8: "Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law". God had no pleasure in these. But why did God command the children of Israel to do them? God commanded these because they were pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. These offerings and sacrifices were never meant to be an end in themselves, they were only shadows, but they were meant to point people to Christ. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to lead us unto Christ" (Gal 3:24). The Law is not to be despised. The Law is holy and good. But the Law is not an end in itself. The Law serves the purpose of leading us to Christ, and Christ is there at the end of the Law. All those who were chosen in Christ have found, or are going to find, Christ standing there at the end of the Law. But for all those who are not in Christ, the Law still stands, and the Law still makes its demands that people go to Hell who do not obey the Law perfectly. Christ is become of no effect to them. When the Lord Jesus shouted: "Tetelestai!", "It Is Finished", He had fulfilled all the requirements of the Law in the place of those whom He came to save. That Law must be kept, and must be kept by a Man, so that the Law might be honored and magnified, and that God, the Giver of the Law, might be vindicated. That is why we read: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us (not by us, but in us), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom 8:3-4). Christ did that at the cross. He purchased the right to account "that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us". That is how "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law".
And what is meant by "that he may establish the second", in Heb 10:9? Look again at the context. "The second" refers to what is being spoken in verse 10. Not only is it God's will that Christ rescued us from the curse of the Law, but also it is God's will that we are sanctified (= set apart) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, and that offering took place only once, sufficient for all time. Christ set us apart on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33. We were not saved yet. Our souls would yet be born in rebellion against God, but Christ's offering guaranteed that our souls would become saved at some point in our life. We were already set apart in the counsel of God before the foundation of the world. And we were again set apart when God sware an oath to Abraham concerning His Seed, which is Christ, and included all those who were represented in Christ. But now at the cross God signed and sealed that we are sanctified, or set apart, "once for all", meaning, "fixed for all time". God could only do that "after Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law".
Let me summarize what we have covered so far. #1, we have seen that God, in His wisdom, has designed an astounding plan of substitution: Christ, the Judge, would substitute for man and pay the penalty for man, the criminal. #2, we have seen that on the cross the Lord Jesus drank the vinegar to indicate that He had come to the end of His sufferings, the payment for our sins. #3, we have seen and read that He shouted: "Tetelestai!", "It Is Finished", all is "Accomplished", so that even we dummies would understand that He had come to the end of His sufferings for our sins. (Here is the proof that Christ suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.) #4, we have seen that the OT sacrifices were only shadows pointing forward to the Atonement of Christ; that was all the Law was intended to accomplish. #5, we have seen that "In the volume of the Book it is written of Christ" and of His atoning work. It means that the Bible is One Book; not 66 books like so many preachers want us to believe. #6, we have seen that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross is valid forever, and is never to be repeated by anyone, not even by God Himself. (Mormons and Roman Catholics, please take note of this.) #7, we have seen that Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the Law for those He came to save. It was in this way that He redeemed us from the curse of the Law.
Now we move on to point #3 of the sermon outline, and you know what this means: This is the application. We find the application right here in Hebrews chapter 10.
#3. This Is the Covenant That I Will Make With Them (Heb 10:15-16)
What is a "covenant"? A covenant is an agreement. It could be an agreement between two men, or an agreement between two human nations. But a covenant that God makes with man is totally different, because these are two very unequal parties. God does not make agreements with man. God, who made this universe, is greater than this universe, whereas man is just a speck of dust in all of God's creation. God says in Isa 40:17, "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity." But God does make a covenant with man. It is called the "Covenant of Grace". God takes all the actions, and man is the recipient of God's actions.
Heb 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
You can see who takes all the action. God says: "I will make with them", and "I will put My laws", and "I will write them". This is the nature of God's "Covenant of Grace": God takes all the initiative, and God's providence makes sure that everything works out as He planned before the foundation of the world. Satan cannot obstruct these plans of God at all. When the Lord Jesus shouted: "It Is Finished", for God's elect it meant that Satan's power was reduced to nothing. We can only see it by faith. To the human eyes it looked like this was the greatest triumph of Satan. But with spiritual eyes God and all the spirits in heaven could see that this was the moment of defeat for Satan. In fact, God announced that 40 days later Satan was cast out of heaven forever.
And then we read in Heb 10:17-18,
Here we read about the great compassion that God has for His people. God forgives, through Christ's substitutionary work at Calvary, in the year AD 33. All those whose sins were forgiven on that blessed Good Friday were those whom God had written in His Covenant of Grace before the foundation of the world. Forgiveness is a great attribute of God. So great is this attribute of God that God desires His children also to have some of this attribute. God writes forgiveness in our hearts, so that we also forgive others. In fact, if we have an unforgiving spirit, it is a sign that God has not worked a work of salvation in our hearts. God says here in Heb 10:17-18,
Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Heb 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Therefore, if our sins have been forgiven, there cannot be another sacrifice for sin. That would be an insult to God. The Roman Catholic Mass claims to be such a sacrifice, and that is absolutely abomination to God. When the Lord Jesus Christ shouted: "It Is Finished", this meant the end of sin. All our sins were transferred to the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Isa 53:6, "The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all". If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer ON me. It is true there is still sin IN me, because I still live in this Adamic body till I die, but there is no sin ON me. This difference between IN me, and ON me, is a most important difference. Everyone outside of Christ has the sentence of God's condemnation resting UPON him. But when one of God's elect believes in Jesus and receives His as His Lord and Master, he is no longer under condemnation. Sin is no longer ON him, which means that the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty for sin is no longer UPON him. Why? Because the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty for our sins, was transferred to our Substitute. Therefore, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more UPON me.
Praise God for such a beautiful Savior, who saves to the uttermost.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.