It is Finished

by Mike Ratliff

28 Μετὰ τοῦτο εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἤδη πάντα τετέλεσται, ἵνα τελειωθῇ ἡ γραφή, λέγει· διψῶ. 29 σκεῦος ἔκειτο ὄξους μεστόν· σπόγγον οὖν μεστὸν τοῦ ὄξους ὑσσώπῳ περιθέντες προσήνεγκαν αὐτοῦ τῷ στόματι. 30 ὅτε οὖν ἔλαβεν τὸ ὄξος [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· τετέλεσται, καὶ κλίνας τὴν κεφαλὴν παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα. (John 19:28-30 NA27)

28 After this, Jesus having known everything that had been completed that the Scripture may be fulfilled, said, “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of vinegar was there, so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on a hyssop branch and put it to his mouth. 30 Therefore, when he received the vinegar, Jesus said, “It is finished.” And having bowed his head, he gave up his Spirit. (John 19:28-30 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Many of those with whom we earnestly contend for the faith have a problem with the absolute truth that is presented to us in the three verses above. Many of them may deny the fact that they hold to a form of salvation that denies the sufficiency of the atoning work of Christ on the cross to accomplish all that is required for all of the elect to not only believe the gospel, but also to persevere. Those who have doubts about that do so because they either do not understand or believe the doctrine of imputation. We have looked at this many times and I do not intend to go into that here. In this post we will look at what Christ meant when he knew that everything had been completed in John 19:28 and then said so in John 19:30.

In the passage above (John 19:28-30) the Greek verb τετέλεσται (tetelestai) is used in both v28 and v30. In both cases it is in the perfect tense, indicative mood, and passive voice case of τελέω (teleō), “end, goal, to make and end or accomplishment, to complete anything, not merely to end it, but to bring it to perfection or to its destined goal, to carry it through.” Τελέω  was originally derived from τέλος (telos), which “originally meant the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends an another begins; later, the goal, the end.” From this we learn that τελέω means “to bring to a τέλος, to complete.”

In the perfect, indicative, passive case in John 19:28-30, we have described for an action that took place in the past with the results of the action continuing into the present. There is no way to directly state that in English, therefore, it is often translated as “has, “have,” or “hath.” Your English translation may translate τετέλεσται from v28 and v30 as “it has been finished” or something similar. The work accomplished at Calvary occurred over 2000 years ago, but the results have not diminished one iota through the ages. The work of redemption was accomplished for all time.

The word τετέλεσται has been found written across ancient papyri receipts for taxes to state that the one who owed the taxes had “paid them in full.” When Christ stated τετέλεσται on the cross as he was dying, he was stating that the work of paying the price for our sin had been fully accomplished. Nothing else either needs to paid because no more is owed. Salvation is by grace alone.

Soli Deo Gloria!

13 thoughts on “It is Finished

  1. “It has stayed FINISHED for all eternity!”

    The most amazing part to me is that, yes they crucified Him…But they did not kill Him, for He has the power to lay down His Life and to pick it up again!!! They accomplished nothing of their intentions, but rather were utensils in His masterpiece!!!
    Just like “The Virgin Mother” folks…tools of His work and no more!
    Because He has the power to lay down His life and to pick it up again, He defeated the vain attempts of all that are not holy but corrupt, to destroy that which is Holy…AND…we who He chose from the foundation of His creation can be assured that what is finished for all eternity is Satan, sin, self fleshness, for all who are in Him are MORE than overcomers in Him, for He too raises us up who freely lay down our lives for Him and His glory! Either sin leaves me or i am cast out with it.
    Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine, oh what a for taste of Glory Devine!!!


    DeVine is my straw preacher name as in Pastor DeVine is worshipped by the tares he gathers as his own sheep as he is another shepherd…anyways.LOL


  3. “It is finished”-phew I can REST in Christ forever and truly delight in HIM. He is truly the lover of my soul and no one can love me with such completeness and wholeness. Fully covered!

    What is so wonderful about Jesus paying for all our sins is he did it before we were even born, He did it knowing all the sins I’d commit and how ugly I’d treat him. He did it willingly knowing I would still hurt him even after He saved me. He STILL chose to love me and save me. Hallelujah to the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ who is the sweet smelling aroma forever pleasing to the Father
    He is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”.–Revelation 13:8b

    Thank you Mike for your encouragement and your passion in your writings showing your deepest desire is truly to be a man after God’s heart. It’s so great to thank the Lord for such men as you, who DO desire purity and wholeness in Jesus Christ. As a woman(me) not you lol, I’m greatly encouraged to see strength and boldness that only God can give. Please continue for us women need men raised up by God to look to as modeling Jesus all for God’s glory and for your joy in the truth!


  4. Dear Mike,

    It was a large step in my Christian walk to grasp “it is finished”.

    My confusion came from a misunderstanding with the Apostles Creed, specifically: “was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;”.

    Well, that produced a picture in my mind of Jesus being punished by Satan in “hell” for three days for my sin. It has probably been about 12 years ago that I understood that what Christ suffered on the Cross was the unmitigated wrath of God and when He said “it is finished” IT WAS FINISHED!

    For Jesus to have been tortured, tempted and terrorized by the Evil One would have been a walk in the park compared to what He actually had to suffer and endure for His righteousness to clothe our sin soiled and saturated souls. Praise be to God for His lovingkindness and mercy to unworthy ones such as we were. May we by the Holy Spirit be mericful to others and share with them the wonders of our gracious Savior.

    Only by His undeserved Grace, charisse


  5. I like getting invoices marked “PAID IN FULL!” because it reminds me of this biblical Truth. We can often be led astray and need to be reminded of God’s Word and the historical, finished work of the Lord Jesus.

    Many thanks, Mike.


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