OK – today I need to ask you to read with grace, and hear me out. (Thanks – you guys are great!)
My text for today is one of the best verses of the Bible. It is filled with such victory and wonder.
It is finished! John 19:30
I want to talk about the fact that though it was clearly finished, it was not over. The book does not end here. The story of Jesus does not end here.
They both end with a dead Jesus.
But like Tony Campolo famously said
So what was finished and what had yet to be done?
In my understanding it is the difference between mercy and grace.
The death of Jesus paid the price sin demanded, He drank the cup of God’s wrath, every bit of it.
Yet Paul says
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (most miserable. KJV) (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NASB)
Clearly there is more to the story.
So what is the difference between Mercy and Grace?
Well – from a definition standpoint I like to say
Mercy is: Not getting what you deserve (ie. punishment – the wrath of God for a life lived in rebellion)
Grace is: Getting what you don’t deserve (ie. and abundant life here, and a glorious future in the presence of God)
Here – take a look at these 3 graphics and see if you get what I mean.
In the first illustration you see man’s life without Christ. You have a bill to pay, and every day of your life, you have racked up a debt. It is in fact payable on demand, and you do not get to save up for it. There is no payment plan.
In this second slide you see that with the wonderful declaration of Christ, “IT IS FINISHED” your debt is paid, and you can go free.
But God does not stop at Mercy – He does not simply clean the house, He fills it with Grace, He fills it with Life, He puts food on the table with 12 baskets left over.
The grace of God provides for the abundant life Jesus promised!
So though the death of Jesus Christ states categorically that “It Is Finished!” and the Cross is the great and final exclamation point, It ain’t over! [Tweet This]
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
See you again soon.