It is Finished

by Mike Ratliff

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

As we have seen in the last two posts in our examination of the Word-Faith movement, one of the teachings from their leadership is that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was insufficient to accomplish the salvation of His people. They teach that Jesus then had to go to Hell to suffer as a lost person by being tormented by Satan. If that were true then what did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? (John 19:30)

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30 ESV)

The Greek verb that is translated “finished” carries the idea of fulfilling one’s task and in religious contexts has the idea of fulfilling one’s religious obligations. Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God completed the entire work of redemption. This Greek word that is translated as “It is finished” has been found in the papyri being placed on receipts for taxes meaning “paid in full.” What does this tell us? God is Sovereign. Jesus’ death and resurrection were all according to plan. Also, Jesus’ death on the cross was a great victory because through it He purchased or redeemed His people.

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you– his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind– so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. (Isaiah 52:13-15 ESV)

This prophecy from Isaiah tells us that our Lord was beaten and tortured so badly that his appearance was horribly marred. However through that Christ earned the victory that caused Him to be high and lifted up, and exalted. Also, this victory is felt world-wide. It affects not only His believers; it will also cause Kings to submit to His authority.

Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:1-4 ESV)

Jesus of Nazareth was a normal looking man. His attraction was not based on his looks. In fact, most despised and rejected him. He did not come fully arrayed in the robes of a ruler. Instead he arose from a lowly condition. He did not come as the conquering King the Jews wanted. Instead, he came as the suffering servant. Why? His true identity could only be discerned with the eye of faith. People despised and rejected him causing Him much grief. Most people still reject Him today. Oh, they may be following a Jesus of their own choosing, but it is another Jesus. The only ones who see the real Jesus and follow Him are His sheep whom He calls and they respond in faith to that call.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:5-7 ESV)

This parallels perfectly with the Gospel accounts in the New Testament. Jesus’ suffering and death was that which brought us peace and healed us of our spiritual death. In other words, through the washing of regeneration Christians are brought into saving faith that brings them into right relationship with God through the Son and they are given eternal life. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, all we like sheep have gone astray. God the Father laid our sins on Him then He suffered and died on our behalf. Through it all, He never complained or defended Himself. He was slaughtered to redeem His people.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:8-12 ESV)

Who crushed our Lord? God did that. He poured out His wrath against our sin onto His beloved Son. Jesus died and was buried in a borrowed tomb. He was sinless, yet was treated, on our behalf, as a sinner. What does it mean that “His soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see His offspring?” Christ’s sacrifice for our sin was completely sufficient. No other sacrifice is needed. Out of His anguish on the cross, Christ saw the result was satisfied. His death accomplished everything God intended. The Righteous one, Christ, made many to be accounted righteous by bearing their iniquities. Whose sins did Christ bear? He bore all the sins of those who are to be accounted righteous. Who killed Christ? No one killed Him; He laid down His life and poured out His own Spirit to death in bearing the sin of many. God saves sinners not those who think they are sinless.

Did Jesus’ death on the cross not accomplish what God intended? The Word-Faith teachers say that is true. How anyone can come up with that myth that Jesus went to Hell to suffer more for our sins is beyond me. Of course, the whole concept of the Word-Faith movement is to elevate Man and demote God. After what Jesus did for His people in His suffering and death then to have people treat Him this way with their heretical teachings, is beyond belief. Of course, the Jesus they teach and preach is one of their own making. Only the eyes of faith can see the real Jesus, fall in love with Him, then die to self as His bond servants for eternity.

23 thoughts on “It is Finished

  1. Good stuff Mike. All so true. Its refreshing to see His little flock is still around. I gotta be snoopy here………have you recieved any email attacks on this yet??

  2. Thanks Paul,

    No, and that is surprising. However, God has worked some in me so that I have been made especially aware of how much more I must pursue Him in all that I do. Ever since I posted that first one on this subject this has been becoming more and more apparent to me. In that, I am very grateful. We are held to a much higher level of accountability.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. At first i thought you might be doing an article on one of the pet passages of WOFers- “By His stripes you are heeealed!” Extra e’s on purpose there. But this has been a beautifully written account of our Lord’s finished work on the cross and the victory He has given us through that work. It is a shame to see that WOF teachers don’t get it. I sometimes think they say spectactular things just for the sensation of it. They love to one up each other with their new revelations- “The Lord showed me…”and off they go with some never heard of heretical blather. They love the god of their belly and not the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazereth.

  4. Thank you for these three great articles on WOF, Mike. You have really opened my eyes to just what this movement teaches. I had no idea it was this bad! My brother and his wife are deep into this. When I try to question some of their beliefs, they become very insulted and accuse me of not understanding the Bible or the work of the Holy Spirit. As much as I would like to continue to discuss this with them, I can see that it may lead to hard feelings and maybe even a break in our relationship. For the time being, I will just pray eveyday for them and ask God to guide me in what to say if He gives me an opportunity. Right now, they seem pretty closed to hearing anything I have to say. It is heartbreaking. They are so adamant in what they believe that, at times I have felt confused myself, that perhaps I was the one who was being misled. But you laid it all out so well, I have no doubts about that now. I so appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog -what a blessing it is! One the first places I go every day!

  5. Whew…I’ve recently been engaged in a truth battle with a Mormon over at my place and the word faith crowd might be surprised to realize just how much their perverse theology has in common with that of the LDS.

    I doubt it would take much encouragement to have Creflo Dollar, T.D. Jakes or Kenneth Copeland ecstatically shouting from their pimping pulpits: “Increase, increase, increase, Lord! Increase my wives, oh Lord! As you’ve promised every good gift and increase in every area of a believer’s life I’m calling forth my increase of wives! I’m confessing increase in Jesus name because by blessing me with more wives oh Lord You can bless me with more children that I can train up in Your Holy Ways oh Lord! Children are the gift of the Lord, increase, increase, increase!! Oh I know there are godly women out there without a man Lord and I know it’s not your will that they should be alone, so give them to me!! Oh give glory to the Lord, praise the Lord of the harvest because I’m calling in my harvest of wives!! Somebody give me an AMEN!!”

    But sadly that doesn’t sound too far fetched, does it?

    But on a serious note, please pray that the Lord might set “Bot” free from the spiritual bondage of the LDS cult and bring him out of darkness and into the One True Living God’s glorious light.

  6. Amen and very timely all of these last couple articles. I am currently dealing with an individual that has been influenced by the WOF teachings.

    He is now struggling with his “identity” in Christ and has been seeking out yet still resistant to yielding to God.

    He came to me talking all this stuff about Christ going to Hell and such when I challenged him to bring me 1 Scripture proving or showing this he could not.

    I told him if this is true then Christ lied to the thief on the cross when He told him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NASB)

    I asked him if Chirst was in Hell for 3 days then how could He give this assurance to the thief on the cross without lying to him.

    He also started into the losing one’s salvation and several other false teachings.

    Sometimes in dealing with these type people, you feel like the cat or dog chasing it’s own tail in circles. Yet, I thank the Lord for giving me paitence and wisdom in trying to witness and deal with these people the truth of God’s Word.

    May He alone be Glorified in all things!

    Ptr. Bryan
    Heavenly Manna Ministries Int’l

  7. You asked: How can anyone come up with that myth?
    The Agony of Deceit, pp. 51,52,53
    The impression is given that faith and intellect are in a state of war. “The mind,” says Kenneth Hagin, “is something that might trip you up and cause you to fall.” The call Jesus gave to love God “with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind” is not at all foreign to Christianity. If God is the Creator, if He did indeed send His Son, Jesus Christ, if He has revealed Scripture to all believers, Christians have nothing to fear from thoughtful investigations.

    Yet, many object, arguing that it is more spiritual and faithful to believe without any intellectual reasons. “Just love Jesus,” they say, apart from any serious knowledge of who this Jesus is or what He accomplished. Their argument, of course, is wrong. Paul wrote, ” We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” ( 2 Cor. 10:5)

    Christians often object to studying philosophy ( and even theology!) on the basis that in Colossians 2:8 Paul warns us to beware that no one takes us captive to such deceptive principles of the world. Although Paul did issue such a warning, the only way for one to beware of the negative influence of some philosophy is to study and understand it thoroughly. In order to beware of philosophy we need to be aware of it. Because the televangelists apparently do not know church history, they are unaware that they are repeating the errors of past ages. Because they do not understand Greek philosophy or Eastern mysticism or nineteenth-century theosophy, they do not know how seriously they have been affected by such thinking. To take every thought captive, we have to think.”

  8. A beautiful and glorious presentation of the work of the Lamb of God! May He receive the reward of His labour in full!

    To my dear sister Rose, if there is one thing followers of the WoF movement are god at, it is playimg around with words. You will have noticed this. I spoke with a cousin of mine who is still deep in it, challenging him about the claim that Adam was created on an equal footing with God. He nicely replied that there was a divine element to Adam simply because he was made in the image of God.

    I’ll suggest that it may be a good thing to keep from exchanges with them until you have a good grasp of the issues concerned. Study and discuss the Bible with sound believers first, and you’ll have a firm foundation to stand on and be unmoved by their play of words.

  9. Ken Copland and the other WoFers add to their blasphemy when they say that if Jesus’ death on the cross alone could pay for our sins then anybody dying on a cross could pay for our sins, even the two thieves. OBTW the largest church in our area is a Word-Faith Church. People flock to it because they think they are being offered a better deal. (health, wealth, etc.)

  10. I would second Yomi’s suggestion to study the Bible and discuss it with sound believers so that you have a firm foundation to stand on. “In their greed they will exploit you with false words” ( 2 Peter 2:1-3)

    The Greek language offers two words for “word,” whereas English has only one. In the original Greek, rhema and logos are little more than synomyns. There is very little difference between the two words as they were used. The parallel in English would be the words “big” and “large.” We select the word most appropriate to the sentence, but most are essentially the same in meaning. The same is true of rhema and logos.

    But the word of faith teachers have invented a false distinction in meaning between those two Greek words. Rhema, they say, is the “word” believers are to “decree” or “speak forth” in order to bring prosperity or healing into this dimension. It is the “abracadabra.” Then there is the logos, or “revelation word,” which is the mystical, direct word that God speaks to the initiates. The term can refer also to the Bible but is usually spoken of in the context of dreams, visions, and private conversations between God and His “agent.” So, when you hear the word of faith teachers referencing ” God’s Word,” or “acting on the Word,” and so on, they are not talking about the written Word of God, the Bible. They mean either their own “decree” ( rhema) or God’s personal word to them ( logos).

    The WhiteHorse Inn, which can be listened to at OnePlace.com, is a wonderful place to build that firm foundation of sound doctrine. “Know what you believe, and why you believe it.”

  11. Mike, as always . . . Christ is magnified by your expositions, and this one is no different.

    You wrote, “This Greek word that is translated as ‘It is finished’ has been found in the papyri being placed on receipts for taxes meaning ‘paid in full.'” To think that that Greek word study parallels truths that God’s wrath against the sins of those who trust in Christ was poured out on his Son at the cross, and was exhausted . . . that Christ was our scapegoat . . . that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover, clease, through off, and destroy the sins we have all willfully committed . . . that my sin would be exchanged for his righteousness . . . that my sanctification toward holiness would be ultimately guaranteed once for all in Christ . . . all that saying on the cross, “It is finished.”

    So Mike, you said you may be interested . . . I have posted three posts on Eph. 2:1-10, and on the newest one, a yong lady actually asked about the original readers and whether they would have needed to understand the gender stuff in Greek in order to get what Paul was saying . . . anyway, thought you might like to read them. If you forgot, or I never told you (?), my blog is now at kschaub.blospot.com

    Later! Have fun at OKC this weekend (right?) . . . I’ll be in Ft. Worth hearing great preaching.

  12. Does anyone know the history of how WOF came to be in the church? I have been looking and came up with Hagin plaguarizing E.W. Kenyon’s work and that he was the true father of the WOF movement, not Hagin. I also ran across William Branham teaching this stuff. Branham thought he was the prophet Elijah incarnate. He was very weird! I have also heard that WOF came from Mary Baker Eddy. I ldeleted where this info came from awhile back and now I can’t remember the site it came from. I remember sending a coule of WOF friends of mine to that site and they said it was demonic! And I have yet to get a word in edgewise with scriptures with my friends so I figure if they don’t want the scriptures there’s no use casting pearls before the swine. I don’t like to think of it that way but why bother if they don’t want to know the truth?

  13. Sherry, the deceived will never believe the truth unless God opens their hearts to receive it. That is what we must pray for before sharing the truth with them.

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