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The Finished Work of Christ

John R Gavazzoni

Sept. 15, 2003

Thousand Oaks, CA

In the light of the true relationship with our heavenly Father that we share with our Lord Jesus Christ, the expression, "the finished work of Christ," tends to be misleading. What do I mean? Allow me to explain:

  • I've come to realize, though it is an expression that commands great respect among evangelical Christians, albeit with various shades of interpretation as to its meaning, that it has a shady past with roots sunk deep in the soil of a perverse perception and portrayal of God.
  • Christians of the Protestant tradition are most often unaware of how they have had Romish doctrines handed down to them in disguise. Such is the case with our subject.
  • Though things are changing,
  • still, a most basic tenet that helps to energize the religious system called the Roman Catholic Church, is the diabolically crafted thesis that merit is at the heart of a true relationship with God.
  • From this has evolved, directly or indirectly, such other expressions as, "the meritorious work of Christ" "through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc.
  • Since that "church" cannot avoid the biblical fact that salvation is through Christ and that, by some definition, grace must be considered a factor,
  • it has come up with the idea that Christ has gained merit for us by His obedience to the Father's will in all His life, especially in His suffering and death,
  • and that we can access or appropriate the grace of God earned (merited) for us by Christ through our faithful reception of the sacraments of the "church."

Ingenious, isn't it? With that doctrine they can claim to honor the grace of God and what Christ has done for us while putting a theological spin on both so as to effectively lock the faithful into a system that dishonors grace and makes salvation a matter of gaining points with God, claiming that they don't really teach that you can be saved by your own works, but only through the works of Christ. Don't forget though---here's the biggie: the grace provided by Christ is only available, to repeat, through the sacraments of "the Church."

Out of the murky depths described above has come the idea of the finished "work" of Christ. This is utterly contrary to the relationship of (within) the God Family which extends to us in Christ. God does not relate to His Son or us in Him according to a point system. The Son of God does not merit anything for Himself or for us before the Father.

The Father does not relate according to a merit system. He relates to us according to the value that His own unconditional love places upon us which flows out to us freely, that is, by grace. If we must speak of merit, let us speak of such love and grace meriting our joyful reception. God values us as He does His Son, and the Son of God does not need to earn His place in Father's heart.



Giving and Recieving

In the dynamic interaction of the true Deity and Humanity of our Lord Jesus, Deity gave its all and it was fully received by the Humanity of Christ, which is our Humanity. Such is the full measure of the mediating ministry of the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

If, for instance, we are to accept the truth of 2 Cor. 5, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, and that it is particularly in respect to God's work of reconciliation that Jesus had in mind when He cried, "It is finished," then we must realize that the reconciliation could not have occurred unless both the conciliating overture of God and the surrender to that overture had to have been finished in Christ.

I think I've made myself clear. I have NOT maintained that NO further experience is necessary in our lives. What I am standing firmly for is that our experience completes nothing, it manifests a perfection, a completeness that is wholly of God and has been accomplished in Christ, with us, in Him, (in)cluded. There is a carnal mentality that struggles with this and resists such a conclusion, thinking that honesty insists we admit to being something less than complete in Him.

That is not the mind of Christ speaking. That is the mind that insists on subjecting the truth to the darkness of the lie, the lie that seeks to steal from God the principle of incarnation, modifying the truth to accommodate the lie and claiming that its incarnation in our flesh is proof that it is the truth or part of the truth.

I have spent many years in the leather business.

Some of you ladies may remember how popular tooled purses were many years ago.

Tooled Bag

You cowboys out there like your tooled (carved) western belts, wallets and saddles.

Tooled Purse

For this purpose, some leather is tanned in such a way that it is "toolable." You can easily press an image into it, and you can carve designs into it that will "hold" on its surface indefinitely. Other tannage resists being tooled. Of course, any leather surface can be, to some degree, altered, so the illustration is not perfect. But it serves to give us a helpful mental picture.

The devil may stamp his image on us temporarily, but it won't hold, it can't, and it will only serve to confirm whose we really are, to whom we really belong and the divine origin of our humanness that subjects itself to the false brand, only to prove the true nature of our corporality.

Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.

John Gavazzoni

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John R Gavazzoni
758 N. Woodlawn Dr.,
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.