From the cross, Jesus cried out, “ ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30, ESV).
Jesus wasn’t saying, “the suffering is over... finished.” He was declaring that the task was completed. The full price for atonement had been paid. Salvation for lost mankind had been accomplished. The plan, prepared before creation, had been successfully completed. Finished!
When it comes to salvation, Jesus left nothing undone! He finished the task. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV). We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do good works.
James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18, ESV).
Again, we are not saved by our good works. There is nothing that we can do to make Jesus love us any more than He already does. But, transformed by His grace and compelled by His love, we naturally bear the fruit of good works. We demonstrate the radical transformation of salvation when we act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, love like Jesus...
So, here’s my point... memorizing Scripture is hard work. It takes effort. It takes time.
That leads me to introduce three more passages of Scripture that we should memorize and meditate upon. Each of these passages reflect the spirit of the Olympic athletes who devote themselves to becoming the best in their particular areas of competition. Like the athlete, we should devote ourselves to serving our Lord and Master. We should work hard doing good works!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).
“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV). When Paul says that he was “pressing on”, he pictures the sprinter leaning forward at the finish line to break the tape and win the race.
Paul was still pressing forward at the very end of his life. Just before dying as a martyr, Paul wrote, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, ESV).
Memorize and meditate on these sections of the Holy Scriptures...
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor