As Jesus hung from the cross, He was at the end of His mission on earth. “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30). Jesus wasn’t saying that the battle over good and evil was finished. He wasn’t even saying that the missions of making disciples of all nations was finished. He was merely saying that HIS portion of that was finished. When Jesus said it, it really was finished.
We’ve all seen the pictures sent across the internet or on the news. Both Bush and Obama have famously declared victory at one point or another, only to be shown that it was NOT finished. Their claim of mission accomplished was not as definite as Jesus’ statement that “It is finished”.
So when we come to know Christ personally, and accept the Holy Spirit into our hearts, placing Christ as our Lord and savior… our salvation is complete. But which example of “complete” is it following? Is this like when Jesus said “It is finished” or more like when our Presidents said “Mission Accomplished”? Actually, it’s a bit of both.
Some look at that moment as a victory party when the enemy has been defeated. They say things like ‘with Christ on my side, who can be against me’. These statements are true, they are real and they are biblical. However they are not the full picture. Others enter that moment as a new soldier called to battle like the song, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war”. Again, this is true, we have a battle to fight, a mission to accomplish and we have only now just been called. So this approach is also true, real and biblical.
However, if you don’t recognize the reality of both of these statements you may have problems. If you believe that your salvation is the victory dance, you will let your guard down and the enemy will come against you. In your pride that you cannot be defeated, you will be. And if you believe that this moment is only the beginning and the battle has only just begun, you will miss out on the joy and freedom of knowing that salvation is once and forever, from a God that give absolute, unconditional love.
So how do we balance these two feelings? By recognizing that both are true. That moment of salvation is the END of the war for your soul. That battle is over and is worthy of a victory party. But that moment also marks the beginning of your involvement in the battle for other souls. The enemy knows he has lost you, but will still fight to make you ineffective at reaching others. He will come at you hard and you need to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”. (Ephesians 6:11) You need to live out the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Yes, it is finished. But at the same it has only just begun.