When I leave Buddy alone for what he considers too long a time, he chews me out when greeting me upon my return. But he quickly forgave me this instance above when he sniffed out the lunch meat in one of the grocery bags I’d brought into our home.
I recently had to rush to Chicago in the dead of winter to witness my uncle pass away in the hospital. Since there was no hope of recovery, he was permitted visitors. (However, to protect us from the coronavirus, we were confined to his room.) He was unable to speak the final day before his death, but remaining lucid till the end, could nod “Yes” or “No” to questions.
However, the day before he could speak with difficulty. His final words were, “I am fortunate.” He knew that he was loved by his family and friends, because he was a kind man who served others without complaint. He cared for his ailing mother-in-law, brother-in-law and wife for many years. And when he needed help, his friends, family and neighbors gladly stepped in.
Before He gave up His Spirit on the cross, Jesus also had some final words to speak, which reflected the completion of His mission on earth: “It is finished (John 19:30).”
Jesus had stated that to enter heaven, “you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:30).” That must’ve struck terror into the hearts of His listeners for who is perfect but God alone?
Any honest person knows that they’re not perfect. Especially after driving in heavy traffic.
Perhaps back then it was chariot drivers cursing at their recalcitrant horses that kept a person humble?
The Jewish people were forbidden to do work on the Sabbath. During the Exodus, they were instructed to gather double the amount of manna that God provided them to eat as they were not allowed to obtain any on the Sabbath day. This rule was a foreshadow of the true Sabbath rest embodied in the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1-2).
Just as the Jewish people were to rest from their works, so those who believe in Jesus are to rest from their works: righteousness is now a gift given to believers by faith rather than earned by good works.
The Apostle Paul reprimanded the Galatian church for mixing works, ie. good deeds, with faith to be declared right with God (Galatians 3). In facts, he called them “foolish (vs 3:1) for trying to earn God’s approval through good works. Faith alone in Christ and His works, not ours, satisfies God’s requirement for perfection.
When Jesus cried out with His final breath, “It is finished,” He was declaring that He had perfectly fulfilled the requirements for righteous living: He had met the standard for being declared “good” enough to earn the right to enter heaven into the presence of a holy God.
And when He was raised bodily from the dead, it demonstrated that His sin sacrifice was accepted by the Father.
There is no way you or I or anyone can earn our way into heaven. The standard is perfection. I know I’ve blown that standard today with my words and thoughts, and likely also by what I should have done but didn’t.
If you’re an honest person, you know you’ve blown it at least once this week. If you don’t believe that, ask your family member or friend if you’re perfect.
Once they’ve stopped laughing, you might not want to hear their answer!
I hope I’ve made it understandable that Jesus has done it all to earn a spot for you in heaven. He lived a perfect life for you because you cannot. He suffered for your sin at the cross when He died in your place, so that you don’t have to pay the price for your own sin—separation from God’s love for eternity. The price of sin is death and Jesus paid it for you (Hebrews 10:12-19).
Jesus is “the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).” If you haven’t been born again, please ask Him for the faith to believe. He loves you and is just waiting for you to ask.
You don’t need to clean up your act first—it’ll never be clean enough to earn His favor.
“It is finished!” Jesus earned your spot in heaven for you.
Love from Dawn and Buddy