“FINISHED WORK” & BETTER COVENANT THEOLOGY
In the last few years, the term “Finished work” has become synonymous with the “Grace” movement and its teachers.
I am not writing today to defend or attack the “Grace” movement, and I know the adherents don’t even like being called that, yet it is the identifying name which people recognize.
This week, I would like to ask you, the reader, to think with me about the power of terms. Let’s take the “Finished work” under consideration.
The idea is that when Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is Finished,” that the work of redemption was completely finished and that as a receiver of this gift, we add nothing, we only receive. While I agree that we only receive, I take issue with the implied timing of the “Finished work.”
When I look at the work of redemption, I see Jesus’ death on the cross (including His yelling, It is finished), His resurrection, His ascension, His enthronement at the right hand of the Father, His pouring out the Holy Spirit to the Church 50 days later, and His judgment of the Old Covenant Temple in 70AD.
To say that Jesus finished His work at the cross is not an over-simplification; it is an absolutely tragic way to teach all that Jesus has done.
If Jesus were done at His death, then we never would have received the new nature by being united with His life in resurrection. There would be no hope of our resurrection. The cross released forgiveness, but the resurrection gave us a new creation life!
Without His being seated at the right hand of the Father, we wouldn’t have been seated in heavenly places. Without the Holy Spirit poured out, the church would be powerless (even more so!). Without His judgment on the Old Covenant Temple in 70AD, the OC would have continued endlessly (Heb 8:13) (and Jesus would have been a false prophet: Mt 24:34).
I am not writing to pick a fight. If “Finished work” is a helpful term, then go ahead, but I find it to be confusing to many people I have talked with.
I have found that proper terms for Biblical concepts are highly important. For example, when I released the announcement on April 8th Covenant Theology (BCT). I had thoroughly thought through (say that three times quickly!), the term and implications. I knew that Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism were the other terms and thus I couldn’t use them. Also similar terms such as a Grace Covenant would have caused nightmares because that is a sub-set inside of Covenant Theology. So I decided on a term that is clearly defined and carefully stated.
Now not everyone will stick to the proper terminology (BCT), but at least the adherents have a chance to make something new of this term and communicate correctly.
I hope for the sake of those beautiful teachers of Grace that God has raised up in this hour, that they would come together and find language and a way to communicate so that the maximum amount of the church can be set free from legalism, identity crisis, and the continual begging for forgiveness from a God that forgave once for all!