Chapter 20 The Accomplished Mystery

My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work (John 4:34).

It is finished (John 19:30).

The Bible is God’s spiritual paradise. In this paradise of God believers love to sit down in those choice spots which are thickset with the Saviour’s love—where they drink from everlasting springs, where they feed on the regaling fruit of everlasting redemption.

The mystery of the Saviour’s cross is too profound for us fully to understand. But there is a wondrous perfection and glory in it which satisfies the whole character of God. It is a finished work—not merely done, but perfectly done—absolutely and totally accomplished. In His final moments on the cross, the Lord Jesus was fully conscious that His cross-work had been perfect in its operation, and that its purpose had been fully achieved.

The Fact Accomplished

The Lord Jesus had been sent by the Father to do a particular work. That work was not to deal with the circumference of things—the ills of society—but to deal with the central cause of all those ills, which is sin. Nothing could remove sin but His death on the cross. From His wounded side and pierced hands, from the cross on which He died, from the altar on which He made atonement, there was to flow blood which was to do just that!

That blood was so mighty in its efficacy—so cleansing in its power—that it would wash away every speck and stain of iniquity. His great sacrifice thus became a fathomless ocean of merit which all men everywhere could freely use, and in which all their sins would disappear forever.

This is what the Lord Jesus accomplished on Calvary’s cross. He dealt with the fact and issues of sin, broke the chains which bound men, and delivered men from that final end of sin which is hell.

No believer can now be given over to Satan. He owes no debt since the Lord has discharged all debt. He cannot receive the wages of wrath because they have been paid by His great Surety in his stead. He cannot be kept out of Heaven because the Lord Himself has clothed him with a robe of divine righteousness. He may advance to the very throne of God, and there he will find God’s acceptance of him. He is free to be one of the citizenry of Heaven. All this is an accomplished fact.

The Office Fulfilled

The Lord Jesus was God’s sent Messiah—the Christ, the Son of the living God. Three titles were bound up in this title of Messiah, and all were fulfilled in God’s beloved Son.

He is the Prophet—the One who is the eternal Word of God, and who, therefore, speaks to us with absolute authority: “Verily, verily, I say unto you!” When He speaks, it is with finality. Nothing can be added. Nothing He ever said has had to be corrected or improved. The Lord never used such words as “perhaps” or “maybe.” Whether He was speaking of God, of man, or redemption, or death, or eternity, or what is after death, or whatever—His were the words of absolute knowledge—the words of divine omniscience.

He is the Priest—“the one mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5). Sin had alienated men and destroyed fellowship with God. To become the true Priest, the Lord must needs offer sacrifice for sin and remove it by full atonement. And sins were a mighty load! Could He sustain them? The claims of justice formed a long roll. Could Jesus pay all? Indeed He could!—for in Him “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Sin called for expiation. No sinner could approach a sin-hating God without a sin-removing sacrifice. Jesus became such a Priest with such an offering.

The Blessing Bestowed

The cross has a threefold blessing.

First, it delivers from sin. Sin was man’s ruin. It drove man from happy fellowship with his Maker. It changed a loving child into a hardened rebel. It made the heart of man a nest of unclean birds, a spring of impure streams, a whirlpool of tumultuous passions, a hotbed of ungodly lusts. But the cross has overcome sin and made possible “the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). Sin has no more dominion over those who are saved by the Lord. They are no more its slaves.

Secondly, the cross delivers from shame. Sin not only bowed man down, but it filled him with shame. As soon as Adam sinned, he hid from the presence of the Lord. He was ashamed to meet God—ashamed to stand in the light of His holiness. But the cross of Christ lifts up our head so that we may say, “In the Lord have I righteousness.” Such a believer can knock at Heaven’s door without a blush, and with an irrefutable plea.

Thirdly, the cross delivers from sorrow. Sin brought many cares to man, and made woman to lie down in many sorrows. The fact of trials—afflictions, sickness, pain, suffering, and death—has driven many into deep depression and despair. But through the cross, such things have been transformed into purifying and sanctifying agents—tools to sharpen and polish believers as stones for the New Jerusalem. Through the cross, sorrow can now become blessed sorrow, and in it we have the soft and tender comfort of our Lord’s consoling grace.

Awake, my soul, to joyful lays,
And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise:
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving-kindness, oh, how free!

He saw me ruined by the fall,
Yet loved me, notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate,
His loving-kindness, oh, how great!

When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gathered thick and thundered loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His loving-kindness, oh, how good!

Samuel Medley