What did Jesus mean by "It is finished"?

What did Jesus mean by "It is finished"?

Last week I posted a blog about a popular term, the "Finished work of the cross."

This week I will follow up on the question that I keep receiving in response to that blog. The question is, “What did Jesus mean when He cried out on the cross, ‘it is finished!’”

There are basically two answers to this question, and I quote from Malcolm Smith’s work, The Blood Covenant:

  • The phrase “It is finished” was used in at least two ways in the days of the New Testament.

    In Roman warfare, the general would be positioned on a high elevation so that he could watch the battle taking place below him. From where he stood he could see when the battle had been won, while a foot soldier in the thick of battle would not know it. When he could see that the enemy had been routed, he would shout the same phrase Jesus cried – “It is finished” – and every other foot soldier would know that the battle had been won.


  • But the phrase has also been found written across the bottom of statements of account in ancient Greece answering to our “paid in full.”

    Jesus emerged from the spiritual death He died as us and shouted through the smoke of battle that the battle had been won and the sin of man had been cancelled, paid in full.

By Jesus crying out on the cross, “It is finished.” He wasn’t saying He was done; He wasn’t. He still had to die (moments later), resurrect, ascend, be enthroned, pour out the Holy Spirit (50 days later), and bring the destruction on the Old Covenant (40 years later).

He was saying that our debt was cancelled (Col. 2) and the enemy was defeated (Heb. 2). “It is finished!”


The other question I keep getting is, "What is the hyper-grace movement?"


First, the label "Hyper-Grace" was coined by Dr. Michael Brown. Having read his book on the topic, I believe that he has some very valid concerns and some very invalid concerns. 

When I use this term, I use it as a blanket statement which is inclusive of Universalists, Ultimate Reconciliationists, Inclusionists, Trinitarian Theologians, etc.

The point that they agree on, which I do not, is the idea that "All people are already in Christ and simply need to wake up to enlightenment." I would side with Paul that said people are dead and lost in their trespasses (Eph. 2:1-5) and "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!" (Romans 5:17) We must actively participate in the receiving of the New Covenant, we are not forced into New Creation without our decision being involved. 

I have wasted countless hours discussing and debating with those from this perspective and the selective plucking of verses out of their context makes for a very painful exercise. I personally am not interested in debating further. The understanding of the gospel of Jesus and the New Covenant which I currently have, I am willing to be tortured and die for. If the hyper-grace movement can say the same, then God Bless, hopefully we are both pointed at advancing the kingdom. 

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