As our breakfast plates were pretty empty, Ricky came by and asked, “You guys finished?” We both nodded and he picked up the dishes.
“You see the spiritual significance in Ricky’s question?” Stan asked as Ricky left.
“What’s spiritually significant about some dirty dishes?” I asked.
“Not the dishes,” Stan said, “it’s the question about being finished.”
“In what way?”
“Jesus finished what He came to do,” Stan replied, “but there’s alway the question about me and my faith walk.”
“Oh,” I said, “whether you will ever be finished with it. If that’s the question, what’s the answer? Do you think you will ever be finished with your Christian faith walk?”
“Yes and no,” Stan replied.
“How can it be both?”
“Let’s look at it this way,” he said. “Jesus finished on the cross what His Father sent Him to do.”
“Provide the way for salvation and redemption,” I replied, “so all who believe can know they will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time. Right?”
“That’s right,” Stan said. “Jesus was obedient in finishing why He came. I, too, will be finished when my time here is done, simply because my time here will be over, but there’s still the question of what about before then.”
“Will I be and will I do all that God has for me?” Stan said. “Will I ever be finished with that?”
“And what do you think?” I asked.
“I think I will never be finished,” he replied. “And I think that’s what God intends. I am to continuing maturing in my faith for as long as He keeps me here.”
“Keep on maturing in the sense of continuing to work out the salvation that has been worked in by Jesus’ finished work? Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And if I ever think I have matured in the sense that there’s no more need or room for spiritual growth, no more need to be working out that salvation, I will not only have stopped growing, I will be heading in the wrong direction. It’s not for me to determine if and when I’m finished!”
Bible verses to consider:
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Because He was obedient in finishing what you sent Him to do, I know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for all you want to do in and through me while you keep me on this side of eternity, working out the salvation that was worked in. I confess that too often I do not pursue what you have for me to be and to do because I choose something else apart from you. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life without being who and doing what you intend. Help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, seek to work out the salvation you worked in by the cross of Christ. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One who finished why He was here. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted the finished work of Jesus’ cross so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not know it is a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with working out that salvation? How would you explain to another person what it means to work out your salvation? If you sense the need for change in any of this, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?