When the Lord Jesus surrendered his life as an atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world, He cried out “It is finished.” He came to do the work that the Father sent Him to complete, and He completed it. Every bit of it. Not a sin, a sickness or a broken heart was left out. He accomplished it all; there are no doubts in any Christian theologian’s mind concerning the completion of the work of calvary.
As I wrote in “The Cup and the Baptism”, (and if you’re reading this I’m sure you know it anyway) John’s gospel records that He commissioned His disciples with the words: “As the Father sent me, I also send you… Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22). The Father sent Jesus to do a complete work, and He accomplished it, by the power of the Holy Spirit by whom He was conceived, who came upon him, and in whom He was immersed or “baptized.”
When we were born again, we were “created in Christ Jesus for works prepared beforehand, that we might walk in them.” (Eph 2:10) We believe that the Word of God is truth, so how does scripture compare the ministry of the Church, sent by the Son, with the ministry of Jesus, sent by the Father?
Jesus was “from above” (John 3:31). The Christian who is born again, “of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) and as such is a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:15), is also born “from above.”
Jesus was the Son of God. Romans 8:14 tells us: “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” We are also joint heirs with Christ: remembering again the Cup and the Baptism, Romans 8: 17 goes on to say: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:29 tells us that He was “The firstborn of many brethren.” If we are sons of God, every resource that the Father made available to Jesus is available to us, His co-heirs; and the fulfilment of every promise is Yes and Amen to us, through Him.
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:1 tells us “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” Because Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit as the only begotten Son of God, I have tended to think that Jesus was equipped for ministry through His unique divine nature, and that He did “the works” of God because He also was God. But that isn’t what the bible actually tells us. Luke says that He returned from the wilderness “in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:14); Acts 10:38 (also written by Luke, of course) tells us “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” So we must be clear that the anointing of the Holy Spirit that was poured out ON Jesus and that completely filled Him (baptized Him) is distinct from the divine nature that He was born with. All this is to show that the Christian who is baptised in the Holy Spirit and prioritizes being filled with the Spirit (and dead to the flesh) and led by the Spirit on a daily basis has the same anointing as Jesus. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us “and gives life to our mortal bodies.” (Romans 8:11)
“All authority in heaven and on earth” had been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18). God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly places. As His co-heirs, we share His authority when we minister in His name. Whatever we bind and loose on Earth has been bound and loosed in Heaven. (Matt 18:18) The Christian has the authority of the name of Jesus.
So the Church consists of sons (Daughters being included in all the rights of “sonship”) of God, who are born from above, filled with and led by the same Spirit that equipped Jesus for the “works of God” that He did, sent into the world to do the same works that He did and greater, with all the authority that is vested in the name that is ours by adoption. The work of Calvary was finished; complete. Jesus went to “prepare a place for us” in His Father’s house (John 14:2). That, too, is complete. We’ve already got a room in Heaven full of everything we need for our work on Earth. Finally, 2 Tim 3 16-17 says this: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” and the writer to the Hebrews prays that “the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead” will “make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Jesus completed the great work of Calvary so that we can be completely full of the Spirit in order to complete “every good work” that is given us to do. Nothing is left out: not at Calvary; not in the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has passed on to us; and not in our own spiritual growth, because we are “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in (us) will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi 1:6). The apostle John gives us the final piece of the jigsaw: “As He was, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
Today is Pentecost Sunday. Every day can be a Pentecost for us, as we come empty of self and ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill us with God. He is not interested in dusting the surface of our lives with a powdery whiteness that will last for a few hours and fall away: He wants us to know the reality of His life in us so that we really are “able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— (that we) know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that (we) may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This, and nothing less, is the complete fruit of the complete work of Calvary.
This is our inheritance. Within the context of our individual callings, all of the anointing that was on Jesus is there for us to take hold of by faith. The complete package is ours; not just a little taste. Let us be bold enough to step out from under the influence and the unbelief of any teaching that has come to us, from within or outside of our churches, that would diminish this; and let us have the faith to see ourselves as trained-up disciples who can continue with and multiply the work of the Master until He comes back and says, once more, “It is finished.”
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