The Absolute Worst Application of “It Is Finished”

Last year I read 26,448 pages, which was 93 books, about a book and a half a week. I bought very few of those books. When you are a reader, somehow books gravitate toward you. Plus I’m in good relations with a librarian, which helps.

People know I read and it is not uncommon for people to give me books to read for them. Plus, those who read good books often loan me books cuz they know I’ll read them. Plus I am from a family of readers, so I frequently get books from them.

When books are free, it is a temptation to assume you are interested in more books than you actually are. I have shelves next to my “reading chair” that are organized by books to read. I have several piles on several shelves where I know what books are there waiting to be read.

As the years go by, some books will fall down the piles, being skipped over cuz I no longer find them of any interest like I did when I first saw them.

There has been one book in particular that has slipped down my piles, was on the bottom shelf covered with dust bunnies. I remember picking up the book 8 years ago. In the last eight years I have seen that book several times and never gone ahead and read it.

Well, the last couple days I did. I should never have picked this book up. It was dreadful. It was about Jesus, and was written by a popular author whom I personally cannot stand, making me wonder what possessed me to pick it up in the first place.

But, I soldiered on, cuz that’s the kind of guy I am. I know what it is to write and be criticized, and I also acknowledge that this author is very well known in Christian circles, so he obviously is doing something more right than me.

But oh wow. I’ll give you one example.

He wrote a chapter on Jesus saying “it is finished” from the cross. His application out of this, and trust me, I’ve heard many applications on “it is finished,” the vast majority of which I find irritating, was the absolute worst I have ever heard.

“It is finished,” to this very well known Christian author, means that when life gets tough, and you’re not sure if you can go all the way to the end and accomplish a goal, just think of Jesus on the cross, who endured and did the whole job of dying for your sins.

And, I kid you not, he said that the next time you feel like quitting your diet, just think of Jesus saying “It is finished.”

When I read that, I wanted to jump in the car and drive to this guy’s house and slap him in the face.

But, then I remembered my goal in life to never slap people in the face, and even though I was tempted to fail, I thought of Jesus saying “it is finished” and I persevered and still have not quit on my goal.

7 thoughts on “The Absolute Worst Application of “It Is Finished””

  1. But Jeff, don’t you know how to read the Bible? The correct way I mean.
    You grab any verse or phrase of your own choice and then interpret it in the way best suited to making the point you want to get across to other.
    Forget about context: the word will never return void but will accomplish “what I please”.
    As for the flippant approach I’ve taken above “it is finished” – the rest is serious.
    Sadly many preachers use scripture more for what they please than for conveying God’s intended meaning.
    And even more sadly too many of their hearers will accept the preacher’s meaning without question.

  2. I actually did not know anything about this. There is always more to learn about the Bible. Please, teach on.

  3. Furthermore, I was reading yesterday an article that said that God the Father did not turn his back on Jesus when Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God why have your forsaken me?” but that that was a reference to Psalm 22. And that Jesus did not “become sin” but that that meant (could/should be translated) “a sin offering.” Both these statements are contrary to what I thought I’d been taught. It is very hard to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross, and I am wondering if understanding any of this better would help. Could you recommend a good resource?

  4. There are certainly many elements to Christ’s death and reconciliation through it. Many theological camps twist it to their own preferences of how they wished the Bible had said it. Always explain what happened the way the Bible does, which is best done by quoting the Bible. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Seems to me he was made sin.

    Jesus’ statement about being forsaken was a quote of Psalm 22, whether “God turned His back” or not I can’t say, since the Bible never says He did or didn’t. What we do know is that Jesus said “My God why have you forsaken me,” Which then must mean that God forsook Him.

    Although the concepts can be confusing, when you just take what the Bible says and stop listening to everyone’s theories, clarity often arises!

    Say things the way the Bible does and take it for what it says. That’s the best rule.

  5. Okay but when you referred back to your 4/3/10 post it got kind of complicated. Like, I don’t know exactly what, “It is finished” means and my Bible doesn’t reference all that stuff. I get that it probably doesn’t mean don’t quit your diet.

  6. Well, the original post was a pet peeve of mine about how people use “it is finished” to mean any number of things, usually along the lines of “Christ did everything, I don’t have to do anything,” which I see a lot in hyper-grace, libertine teachings. They use “it is finished” to mean I don’t have to repent or obey or do anything because Christ already did that for me.

    That is not at all what the phrase means. “It is finished” has a context and the context says that for the word to be fulfilled (or finished, it’s the same word in the greek), for all prophecies to be fulfilled he had to take a drink so he said, “i’m thirsty” and they gave him vinegar to drink, which was the last prophecy yet to be fulfilled in his suffering. Once he took the drink he said “It is finished” Finished is the same word as fulfilled that was just used to talk about fulfilling scripture, lett you know what IT was fulfilled–the prophecies of Scripture.

    It’s a long point to make the simple point that “It is finished” has a context, it is not a phrase to be ripped out and applied to some other doctrinal point, no matter how convenient it would have been for our doctrinal point if it did apply to that. We have to carefully keep scripture in alignment with scripture, not rip it out and make it apply to our point we hope to make–like keeping to your diet because Christ finished dying on the cross or whatever.

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