“Christianity is a strange thing” contended Watchman Nee (Nee To-sheng), that great Chinese church theologian of the last century. “If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing… For Christianity begins not with a big DO but with a big DONE.”
Redemption cannot be purchased by us but is freely offered by God. Salvation in Christ is not achieved, but simply received by faith. Since we came into sin through our birth relationship to Adam, we must be delivered from sin by a blood sacrifice – that of Christ, the second Adam. (Romans 5;18-21, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
And so ‘Tetelestai’ was the Greek translation of Jesus’ final word, as John recorded in John 19:30. It simply means ‘It is finished!’ The implications would have been widely understood in their day. It was an accounting term signifying full payment. The debt of our sin had been completely written off. He paid and we are freed – from the awful hold of sin and its wages of death, if we would trust Him with our lives.
But as we receive Him and all He did for us, a life-changing alteration ensues. Once we were separated and estranged from God, but through the passion of Christ, we are brought near and made one with God.
Through and in Christ alone, we come to God and now stand in Him (John 14:6, Hebrews 10:19-22; Romans 5:1,2). God justifies us of our past and sanctifies us in the present by placing us in Christ.
This affects and transforms every aspect of our new life with God from here on. Our identity, purpose, characters, circumstances, words, works and worth, in fact, all we are becoming, is viewed now from a vantage point far different and superior than our past. We who are seated with Christ in heavenly places, are called to think and be different (Ephesians 2:4-7; Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 1 Peter 1:13-16 etc.) Christ in us becomes our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Therefore, our faith lives or dies on the basis of whether we remain in Christ and He in us (John 15:4,5). In fact, being ‘in Christ’ is a central theme in the New Testament. The expression occurs 216 times in Paul’s epistles and 26 times in John’s writings – Who we are ‘in Christ’ makes all the difference to God and us, today and for eternity.
The difference this makes (or ought to) in our daily lives in this world should be monumental. A disciple of Jesus has simply recognized that his life is not his own anymore – it belongs to Jesus. It is hid in him – and every aspect of his past, present and future with it.
NT Wright, in his book ‘Following Jesus’ said: “The longer you look at Jesus, the more you will want to serve him in this world. That is, of course, if it’s the real Jesus you’re looking at.”
Will you take a good look at the real Jesus today, then forsaking all, take up your cross and follow him today?
And, for the sake of the Gospel of God’s kingdom, bring someone else with you!