“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

Read, pray, serve; I can do more. Read, pray, serve, sing; I need to do more. Read, pray, serve, sing with lifted hands; still not enough. Read, pray on bended knee, serve, sing with lifted hands; what more can I possibly do? Read for hours, pray on bended knee, serve, sing with lifted hands; I must do more. Read for hours, pray on bended knee, serve to exhaustion, sing with lifted hands; will this be enough to hear those words at the end of my race, or must I do more? The words I have longed to hear since reading Mathew 25:23 as a maturing Christian were, “Well done good and faithful servant.” I wanted to show God and those around me the genuineness of my faith by being faithful so that there would be no doubt that when someone thought of me, they would think of a good and faithful servant. The problem was, my indwelling sin. It tormented me. I would see how I would fall short of God’s standard and ask myself, “How could God ever call me good and faithful?” So, I would put my nose to the grind, trying to do more and more to cancel out my sin, but this was an uphill battle that I could never find a foothold in. No matter what works I produced, no matter how faithful I tried to be, my assurance of hearing those words and entering into Jesus’ joy was nonexistent.

Have you ever felt this way, weary from constantly looking towards your faithfulness for the assurance of your faith? If so I want you to know this, you are not alone. Many of us have or are still in the middle of this fight to feel assurance, but it doesn’t need to be this way. I would also go as far as to say it shouldn’t be this way. After all, Jesus says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mat.11:30.) Our Christian walk should not be one of constant wonder of our assurance. Rather, it should be based on the faithfulness of the finished work of Christ. This is what makes Jesus’ burden light on us, He is the one who’s already done the heavy lifting. In His life, He lived the life we could never and credited that to us. In His death, Jesus died the death we deserved to die, and once again, credited it to us. It's there, in Jesus’ dying last words He gives His sheep the most powerful statement of assurance, “It is finished.” The “it” being referred to here is the work of salvation, He had fulfilled the law and made perfect atonement for our sins. If we dig just a little deeper though, we see another layer of assurance. The Greek word that we have translated “it is finished” is the word tetelestai. This was a word used by a collector when a debtor would pay off their loan, the collector would mark their account tetelestai, paid in full. Christian, Jesus has paid the price of all your past, present, and future sins. You owe nothing more. There is nothing that you need to do to gain favor from God because He has already done everything necessary. You can stop looking to your own faithfulness for your assurance.

When I first realized that my assurance rests in God’s faithfulness instead of my own, it put me in a better position to be faithful to the Lord. We live a life of faithfulness not to earn a position but from a position of rest, because we know the work for our salvation has been done and was finished on the cross. Live the life God has called you to live out of adoration for what He has done, see the joy of doing good works because you adore God. Feel the weight lift from your shoulders to know that when you stumble and fall, and Christian you will, Jesus our Savior knew that you would commit that sin and still stayed on the cross and covered it with His blood. Brothers and Sisters, if you get nothing else from these words please internalize these, if you have faith in the work of Jesus for your salvation then when He calls you home you will hear “Well done good and faithful servant,” not because of your faithfulness, but because of Jesus’. There will be struggles with sin in this Christian life but take heart they are paid for by the work of Jesus, Tetelestai.

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