by Jimmy Swaggart July, 2011
“The words ‘it is finished’ proclaim the greatest words, albeit at great price, that any sinner could ever hear; in effect, the world’s debt was paid; every iota of the Law had been fulfilled.”
QUESTION: IS REDEMPTION CENTERED UP IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST OR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST?
Redemption is centered up totally in the Cross of Christ. While everything else after the Cross, the Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation of Christ, played a tremendous part, and continues to play a tremendous part, the truth is, all of this is made possible, the Resurrection, Ascension and Exaltation of Christ, because of the Cross.
IT IS FINISHED
Jesus was placed on the Cross at approximately 9 a.m., the time of the morning Sacrifice, and died at approximately 3 p.m., the time of the evening Sacrifice. The Scripture is not completely clear as it regards the last words that He uttered before He died, but most Bible Scholars believe that the following were His final words, “It is finished, Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” See Biblical References Jn. 19:30 KJV; Lk. 23:46 KJV.
When He said that, the Scripture says, “He gave up the ghost.” In fact, He didn’t die until the Holy Spirit told Him He could die (Heb. 9:14 KJV). That’s how much the Holy Spirit was in control of His Life.
The words “it is finished” proclaim the greatest words, albeit at great price, that any sinner could ever hear; in effect, the world’s debt was paid; every iota of the Law had been fulfilled.
Concerning that, Paul also wrote:
“Blotting out the handwriting of Ordinances that was against us (pertains to the Law of Moses, which was God’s standard of Righteousness that man could not reach), which was contrary to us (Law is against us, simply because we are unable to keep its precepts, no matter how hard we try), and took it out of the way (refers to the penalty of the Law being removed), nailing it to His Cross (the Law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s Death, as if Crucified with Him);
“And having spoiled principalities and powers (Satan and all of his henchmen were defeated at the Cross by Christ atoning for all sin; sin was the legal right Satan had to hold man in captivity; with all sin atoned, he has no more legal right to hold anyone in bondage), He (Christ) made a show of them openly (what Jesus did at the Cross was in the face of the whole universe), triumphing over them in it. (The triumph is complete and it was all done for us, meaning we can walk in power and perpetual victory due to the Cross.)” (Col. 2:14-15 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
When Jesus died on the Cross, two things happened:
“When Jesus died and His Soul and Spirit went down into the heart of the Earth, He went down there as a Victor, i.e., ‘a Conqueror,’ and not as one conquered.”
1. Totally and completely, He satisfied the demands of the broken Law.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (He did so on the Cross), being made a curse for us (He took the penalty of the Law, which was death): for it is written, cursed is every one who hangs on a tree (Deut. 21:22-23 KJV): “That the blessing of Abraham (Justification by Faith) might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (what He did at the Cross); that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit through Faith. (All sin was atoned at the Cross which lifted the sin debt from believing man, making it possible for the Holy Spirit to come into the life of the Believer and abide there forever [Jn. 14:16-17].)” (Gal. 3:13-14 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
2. He atoned for all sin, past, present, and future, at least for all who will believe (Jn. 3:16 KJV).
“But this Man (this Priest, Christ Jesus), after He had offered up One Sacrifice for sins forever (speaks of the Cross), sat down on the Right Hand of God. (Refers to the great contrast with the Priests under the Levitical System, who never sat down because their work was never completed; the Work of Christ was a ‘Finished Work,’ and needs no repetition.)” (Heb. 10:12 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
All of this tells us that Atonement was completed, i.e., “finished,” at Calvary.
THE RESURRECTION WAS NEVER IN DOUBT
I realize that some preachers proclaim Jesus having to fight demons and powers of darkness, etc., in order to be resurrected; however, there’s nothing like that in the Bible.
When Jesus died and His Soul and Spirit went down into the heart of the Earth, He went down there as a Victor, i.e., “a Conqueror,” and not as one conquered.
In fact, if there had been one single sin unatoned, due to the fact that the Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death,” Jesus could not have risen from the dead (Rom. 6:23 KJV), but, due to the fact that God raised Him from the dead, tells us that He atoned for all sin at Calvary and in every capacity.
In fact, John the Baptist had prophesied over our Lord when He first entered the Ministry by saying:
“Behold the Lamb of God (proclaims Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin, in fact, the Sin-Offering, Whom all the multiple millions of offered lambs had represented), which takes away the sin of the world. (Animal blood could only cover sin, it could not take it away; but Jesus offering Himself as the perfect Sacrifice took away the sin of the world; He not only cleansed acts of sin, but, as well, addressed the root cause [Col. 2:14-15])” (Jn. 1:29 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Jesus had told His Disciples more times than one:
“The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men (draws the Disciples back to the Mission at hand; that Mission was the Redemption of humanity, which would require the offering of the perfect Sacrifice, which was His Body): “And they shall kill Him (but only because He allowed such [Jn. 10:17-18]), and the third day He shall be raised again” (Mat. 17:22-23 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE LEGAL PROBLEM OF SIN
“With every sin atoned, and again as we have stated, the legal right the enemy had was forever vanquished.”
Sin was and is the legal right that Satan had to hold man captive; however, with all sin atoned, which Jesus did at the Cross, that legal right was taken away from the Evil One. Now, due to what Jesus did at the Cross, Satan has no more legal right to hold anyone in bondage. If he does so, it is only because mankind, including Believers, does not understand the price that was paid at Calvary and how we are meant to take the benefits of that price unto ourselves.
When Jesus went down into Paradise after His Death, as stated, He went there as a Conqueror. He flung the doors of that place open wide with the intention of bringing everyone out, which He did. He could do this because, as stated, Satan’s legal right to hold man captive was now gone. With every sin atoned, and again as we have stated, the legal right the enemy had was forever vanquished. In fact, every Believer in Paradise, which included all from Abel to the Crucifixion of Christ, in a sense was held captive by Satan.
That’s the reason that Paul wrote:
“Wherefore He said (Ps. 68:18), When He ascended up on high (the Ascension), He led captivity captive (liberated the souls in Paradise; before the Cross, despite being Believers, they were still held captive by Satan because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away the sin debt; but when Jesus died on the Cross, the sin debt was paid, and now He makes all of these His Captives), and gave Gifts unto men. (These ‘Gifts’ include all the attributes of Christ, all made possible by the Cross.)
(“Now that He ascended (mission completed), what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (Immediately before His Ascension to Glory, which would be done in total triumph, He first went down into Paradise to deliver all the believing souls in that region, which He did!)
“He Who descended is the same also Who ascended (this is a portrayal of Jesus as Deliverer and Mediator) up far above all Heavens (presents His present location, never again having to descend into the nether world), that He might fill all things.) (He has always been the Creator, but now He is also the Saviour)” (Eph. 4:8-10 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
“The great Apostle also said, ‘But we preach Christ Crucified’ (1 Cor chapter. 1 vs.23). He did not say, as it regards the Atonement, ‘We preach Christ Resurrected. . . .’”
In this account of Jesus going down into Paradise, we do not see one iota of evidence of Him fighting demon spirits, fallen angels, etc., but rather the very opposite. As stated, He went down there as a Victor, as a Conqueror, because at the Cross, Satan was defeated, plus all of his fallen angels, demon spirits, and minions of darkness (Col. 2:14-15 KJV).
WHAT DID PAUL SAY?
It must be remembered that the meaning of the New Covenant was given to the Apostle Paul.
Concerning this the Scripture in Galatians Chapter 1 vs. 1-12 says:
“Paul, an Apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead;) (This means Paul did not submit the authority of his Apostleship to men, neither was it conferred on him by man.)
“And all the Brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia (refers to all in that region):
“Grace be to you and Peace from God the Father (made possible by the Cross), and from our Lord Jesus Christ (Who made it possible),
“Who gave Himself for our sins (the Cross), that He might deliver us from this present evil world (the Cross alone can set the captive free), according to the Will of God and our Father (the standard of the entire process of Redemption):
“To Whom be Glory forever and ever (Divine Glory). Amen.
NO OTHER GOSPEL
“I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him (the Holy Spirit) Who called you into the Grace of Christ (made possible by the Cross) unto another gospel (anything which doesn’t have the Cross as its Object of Faith):
“Which is not another (presents the fact that Satan’s aim is not so much to deny the Gospel, which he can little do, as to corrupt it); but there be some who trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ (once again, to make the object of Faith something other than the Cross).
LET HIM BE ACCURSED
“But though we (Paul and his associates), or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other
Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you (Jesus Christ and Him Crucified), let him be accursed (eternally condemned; the Holy Spirit speaks this through Paul, making this very serious).
“As we said before, so say I now again (at sometime past, he had said the same thing to them, making their defection even more serious), If any man preach any other gospel unto you (anything other than the Cross) than that you have received (which Saved your souls), let him be accursed (‘eternally condemned,’ which means the loss of the soul).
“For do I now persuade men, or God? (In essence, Paul is saying, ‘do I preach man’s doctrine or God’s?’) or do I seek to please men? (This is what false apostles do.) for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the Servant of Christ (one cannot please both men and God at the same time).
“But I certify you, Brethren (make known), that the Gospel which was preached of me (the Message of the Cross) is not after man. (Any Message other than the Cross is definitely devised by man.)
“For I neither received it of man (Paul had not learned this great Truth from human teachers), neither was I taught it (he denies instruction from other men), but by the Revelation of Jesus Christ. (Revelation is the mighty Act of God whereby the Holy Spirit discloses to the human mind that which could not be understood without Divine Intervention.)” (Gal. 1:1-12 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
As it regards the Cross of Christ versus the Resurrection, the great Apostle said:
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Cor. 1:17 KJV).
If it is to be noticed, he did not say, “lest the Resurrection of Christ should be made of none effect.”
He also said, “For the preaching (Word) of the Cross is to them who perish foolishness; but unto us which are Saved it is the Power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18 KJV).
He did not say, “For the preaching of the Resurrection is to them. . . .”
The great Apostle also said, “But we preach Christ Crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23 KJV). He did not say, as it regards the Atonement, “We preach Christ Resurrected. . . .”
Of course, Paul preached the Resurrection of Christ, even as Chapter 15 of I Corinthians bears out, but not as the Atonement.
“The Resurrection of Christ was not merely an incident. Several things are attributed to His Resurrection.”
He also stated to the Church at Corinth and to all others as well, “For I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2 KJV). He did not say, “For I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ, and Him Resurrected. . . .”
He also stated, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” (Gal. 6:14 KJV). He did not say, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .”
As we have stated, while the Resurrection, and the Ascension, and the Exaltation of Christ were of extreme significance, these three tremendous attributes were the result of the Atonement, i.e., “the Cross,” instead of the cause.
Let’s look for a moment at the three great attributes of Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
The Resurrection of Christ was not merely an incident. Several things are attributed to His Resurrection.Death was defeated: While we do not yet have all the effects of this great Victory over death, that awaiting the coming Rapture of the Church, still, due to the Cross, and the Resurrection of Christ, death has been defeated.
When the Trump sounds, we will then be given the full reward of the great Victory won at Calvary’s Cross.
“So when this corruptible (sin nature) shall have put on incorruption (the Divine Nature in total control by the Holy Spirit), and this mortal (subject to death) shall have put on immortality (will never die), then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory ([Isa. 25:8], the full benefits of the Cross will then be ours, of which we now have only the First-fruits [Rom. 8:23])” (1 Cor. 15:54 KJV). The Expositor’s Study BibleThe Resurrection of Christ: Guarantees the coming Resurrection of the Sainted Dead with them given a Glorified Body that will never see death, and with all those in Christ who are alive treated in like manner. So, His Resurrection, while guaranteeing our Resurrection, also guarantees a Glorified Body, actually, like unto Him.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God (we are just as much a ‘son of God’ now as we will be after the Resurrection), and it does not yet appear what we shall be (our present state as a ‘son of God’ is not at all like that we shall be in the coming Resurrection): but we know that, when He shall appear (the Rapture), we shall be like Him (speaks of being glorified); for we shall see Him as He is. (Physical eyes in a mortal body could not look upon that Glory, only eyes in Glorified Bodies)” (1 Jn. 3:2 KJV). The Expositor’s Study BibleHis Resurrection: Guaranteed our Justification.
Paul said concerning this:
“Who was delivered for our offences (had to do with Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins; He had no sins), and was raised again for our Justification (we were raised with Him in newness of life [Rom. 6:4-5])” (Rom. 4:25 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Commenting on the words, “was raised for our Justification,”
“He was delivered up on account of our offences — to make atonement for them; and He was raised on account of our Justification — that it might become an accomplished fact. Paul does ascribe expiatory value to the death or blood of Christ: in a sense it is true the Work of Christ was finished on the Cross. But Paul never thought of that by itself: he knew Christ only as the Risen One Who had died, and Who had the virtue of His atoning death ever in Him; this Christ was One, and all that He did and suffered — The Christ Who had evoked in Him the faith by which he was justified, the only Christ through faith in Whom sinful men ever could be justified; and it is natural, therefore, that he should conceive Him as raised with a view to our justification.”
“Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ (plainly says that this Baptism is into Christ and not waterSee Biblical References 1 Cor 1:17 KJV; 1 Cor 12:13 KJV; Gal. 3:27 KJV; Eph. 4:5 KJV; Col. 2:11-13 KJV.) were baptized into His Death? (When Christ died on the Cross, in the Mind of God, we died with Him; in other words, He became our Substitute, and our identification with Him in His Death gives us all the benefits for which He died; the idea is that He did it all for us!)
“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death (not only did we die with Him, but we were buried with Him as well, which means that all the sin and transgression of the past were buried; when they put Him in the Tomb, they put all of our sins into that Tomb as well): that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (we died with Him, we were buried with Him, and His Resurrection was our Resurrection to a ‘Newness of Life’).
“The Ascension of Christ also opened the door for the Holy Spirit to be sent in a new dimension.”
THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH
“For if we have been planted together (with Christ) in the likeness of His Death (Paul proclaims the Cross as the instrument through which all Blessings come; consequently, the Cross must ever be the Object of our Faith, which gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives), we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection (we can have the ‘likeness of His Resurrection,’ i.e., ‘live this Resurrection Life,’ only as long as we understand the ‘likeness of His Death,’ which refers to the Cross as the means by which all of this is done)” (Rom. 6:3-5 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST
“Of Righteousness, because I go to My Father (As far as we know, the First thing that Jesus did after His Ascension, was to present a spotless Righteousness to the Father, namely Himself, which pertained to His Sacrifice at Calvary, that was accepted by God; consequently, that Righteousness is imputed to all who will believe in Him and His Work on the Cross), and you see me no more (meaning that His Work was Finished)” (Jn. 16:10 KJV). The Expositor’s Study BibleThe Ascension of Christ: Also opened the door for the Holy Spirit to be sent in a new dimension.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away (the Mission and Ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ depended upon the return of Christ to the Father): for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you (concerns the respective Office Work of Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit — Jesus as the Saviour of men, and the Holy Spirit as the Power of the Church); but if I depart, I will send Him unto you (a Finished Work on the Cross was demanded of Christ, before the Holy Spirit could be sent)” (Jn. 16:7 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE EXALTATION OF CHRISTConcerning the Exaltation Paul wrote:
“Has in these last days (the dispensation of Grace, which is the Church Age) spoken unto us by His Son (speaks of the Incarnation), Whom He has appointed Heir of all things (through the means of the Cross), by Whom also He made the worlds (proclaims His Deity, as the previous phrase of Him being the ‘Heir of all things’ proclaims His Humanity);
AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH
“Who being the brightness of His Glory (the radiance of God’s Glory), and the express Image of His Person (the exact reproduction), and upholding all things by the Word of His Power (carries the meaning of Jesus not only sustaining the weight of the universe, but also maintaining its coherence and carrying on its development), when He had by Himself purged our sins (which He did at the Cross, dealing with sin regarding its cause, its power, and its guilt), sat down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on high (speaks of the Finished Work of Christ, and that the Sacrifice was accepted by the Father)” (Heb. 1:2-3 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
GOD HAS HIGHLY EXALTED HIM
“And being found in fashion as a man (denotes Christ in men’s eyes), He humbled Himself (He was brought low, but willingly), and became obedient unto death (does not mean He became obedient to death; He was always the Master of Death; rather, He subjected Himself to death), even the death of the Cross. (This presents the character of His Death as one of disgrace and degradation, which was necessary for men to be redeemed. This type of death alone would pay the terrible sin debt, and do so in totality.)
“Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him (to a place of supreme Majesty; Jesus has always been Creator, but now He is Saviour as well), and given Him a Name which is above every name (actually says, ‘The Name,’ referring to a specific Name and Title; that Name, as Verse 11 proclaims, is ‘Lord’):
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD
“‘Anything that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the love of God, is untrue to the Revelation of God given by Jesus Christ.’”
“That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow (in the sphere of the Name, which refers to all it entails; all of this is a result of the Cross, the price paid there, and the Redemption consequently afforded), of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth (all Creation will render homage, whether animate or inanimate);
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (proclaims ‘Lord’ as the ‘Name’ of Verse 9; it means ‘Master’ of all, which again has been made possible by the Cross), to the Glory of God the Father. (The acknowledgement of the Glory of Christ is the acknowledgement of the Glory of the Father.)” (Phil. 2:8-11 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE INTERCESSORY WORK OF CHRIST
The Exaltation of Christ also includes His Intercessory Work, all on our behalf.
Paul again wrote:
“Wherefore He (the Lord Jesus Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost (proclaims the fact that Christ Alone has made the only true Atonement for sin; He did this at the Cross) who come unto God by Him (proclaims the only manner in which man can come to God), seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them. (His very Presence by the Right Hand of the Father guarantees such, with nothing else having to be done.)” (Heb. 7:25 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE THRONE OF GRACE
In regard to His Intercessory Work, Paul also said:
“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (being Very Man as well as Very God, He can do such); but was at all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (His temptation, and ours as well, was to leave the prescribed Will of God, which is the Word of God; but He never did, not even one time.)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace (presents the Seat of Divine Power, and yet the Source of boundless Grace), that we may obtain Mercy (presents that which we want first), and find Grace to help in time of need (refers to the Goodness of God extended to all who come, and during any ‘time of need’; all made possible by the Cross)” (Heb. 4:15-16 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
As should be obvious, while the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Exaltation of Christ were, as previously stated, of utmost significance, still, these tremendous attributes were the result of what Jesus did at the Cross. This means that it was and is the Cross, which made and makes it all possible.
As I close the answer to the question, “Is the Atonement found solely in the Cross or the Resurrection?”, the following word given by Oswald Chambers would be appropriate.
He titled it, the heading that I will once again use:
IT IS FINISHED
“I have finished the Work which You gave Me to do” (Jn. 17:4 KJV).
“The Death of Jesus Christ is the performance in history of the very Mind of God. There is no room for looking on Jesus Christ as a martyr; His death was not something that happened to Him which might have been prevented; His death was the very reason why He came.
“Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and He will forgive us merely because He loves us. It is untrue to Jesus Christ’s revelation of God; it makes the Cross unnecessary, and the Redemption ‘much ado about nothing.’
If God does forgive sin, it is because of the Death of Christ. God could forgive men in no other way than by the Death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted to be Savior because of His Death. ‘We see Jesus because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.’
The greatest note of triumph that ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ — ‘it is finished.’ That is the last word in the Redemption of man.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
“Anything that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the love of God, is untrue to the Revelation of God given by Jesus Christ. Never allow the thought that Jesus Christ stands with us against God out of pity and compassion; that He became a curse for us out of sympathy with us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by the Divine Decree.
Our portion of realizing the terrific meaning of the curse is conviction of sin, the gift of shame and penitence is given us — this is the great Mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the wrong in man, and Calvary is the estimate of His hatred.”Chambers, Oswald, The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers, Grand Rapids, MI, Discover House Publishers, 2000.
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, ““Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Cross””.)
Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart.