Does the subtitle of today’s study surprise you? Do I have your full attention? Don’t worry, this isn’t some kind of click-bait that is propagated all over the internet today. Instead, this is a spiritual reality and truth that we seem to have forgotten in modern Christianity, and it has the effect of weakening us in all areas of life.
What I’m going to share with you today, is a truth that you can keep and take with you through the rest of your life. This truth is what is sorely lacking in Christianity today, and it is what is holding many of us back from experiencing spiritual victory.
The Finished Work of Christ
We often talk about the finished work of Christ in our studies, and for many people they immediately think of the cross. Understandably, the cross is the pivotal point and central focus of Jesus’ redemption of us. The cross was the moment of complete payment, when all of our sin and punishment was laid upon the body of Jesus Christ, as the ultimate sacrificial lamb in our place. (John 1:29)
Yet the cross does not encapsulate the complete finished work of Christ. When most English translations of the scripture quote Jesus as saying “It is finished!” It is translating the Greek word Τετέλεσται, found in John 19:30. The literal meaning of the phrase is paid in full, and it is an accounting term, which was written in ancient Roman receipts to indicate complete payment of a debt.
It is on the cross that Jesus Christ paid our debt of sin in full. Recognizing this fact is crucial to our understanding of what He accomplished for us. Understanding the complete scope of what sin entails, and the total redemption that Jesus’ payment brings is enlightening; which is why we study it often right here.
At the same time, it is also vital for us to recognize that the cross does not embody all of the work that Jesus accomplished. If we stop at the cross, we rob ourselves of everything that Jesus did afterwards, and we remain weak and powerless, when He wants us to be strong and powerful in Him!
His Resurrection is Your Receipt
A great number of Christians are stuck looking at a crucified Christ who is still hanging on the cross today, when the spiritual reality is that He is no longer there! He was crucified, YES! He died, YES! But then He was raised up! And His resurrection is your assurance that the payment is complete. Paul makes this point abundantly clear in 1st Corinthians 15:17 when he says If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile and your are still in your sin.
Notice that Paul is focusing on Christ’s resurrection, and not His death. It is the resurrection of Christ that gives life and hope to your faith, not the death of Christ according to this verse. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead is your spiritual receipt, indicating that the payment was received and complete.
The scriptures speak about this in multiple ways, that Jesus died for our offenses, and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
We need to remember this fact. And the ride doesn’t even stop here.
The Giving of the Holy Spirit
Even after Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, He did not send His disciples out into the world straightaway. Instead, He told them to wait; and to wait for a specific event… for the Holy Spirit to come.
In Acts 1:4, we can read this:
“And, being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, you have heard of me.”
There was a reason that Jesus told them to wait for the Spirit, and in verse 8 of this same chapter, we can see what that reason is:
“But you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”
Notice what Jesus says here. You receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. This power which comes from the Holy Spirit is one of the primary reasons why Jesus said that it is beneficial for us that He was going away, so that the Holy Spirit would come, in John 16:7.
If Jesus says that something is beneficial for us, we should take notice and listen! The Holy Spirit coming is a benefit for us — and one of those benefits is power as we read in Acts chapter one.
Receive Everything Jesus Paid to Give You
This point explains why stopping at the cross is so damaging, especially when it comes to victory in our spiritual battles. Jesus didn’t stop at the cross! The cross is where He made the payment, a pivotal step in the process, absolutely! However, He then went on to produce the receipt of His payment, and give us assurance through His resurrection! After which He gave us power and authority through His Holy Spirit indwelling us. (Romans 8:15)
Ephesians 1:18-23 spares no words telling us exactly what power and authority we have in Christ today:
“18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.”
We have been given the exceeding greatness of His power (aka, His Holy Spirit) which has been given to us that believe according to verse 19.
Additionally, verses 21 and 22 mention that Jesus is seated at the right-hand of God the Father, far above all principality, power, might, and dominion. Far above every name in this world, and in the world to come.
Now, turn ahead to Ephesians chapter 2, and you will read in verse 6, that today in Christ, we are seated with Christ! Do you see, my friend… all of this is part of Jesus’ redemptive work!
Take Your Rightful Place in Christ
I encourage you today, my friends. Take your rightful place in the kingdom of God and the family of Christ. Don’t stop at the cross! Continue on to His resurrection, and receive the power and authority that He has given through His Holy Spirit.
Join me again in part two, as we continue looking at how to fight and win your spiritual battles, in Christ.