I was reading from one of my all-time-favorite books this morning, The Power of the Cross of Christ by Charles Spurgeon. In the middle of Chapter 9 (It Is Finished!), which discusses Christ’s last cry from the cross, was this section that perfectly expands upon to my first post about Christ’s perfect obedience. I know it’s a bit long, but it’s SO very worth the time. I had never considered his point about Adam in the last part. What a gift Spurgeon’s writings are to me!
In this moment, His perfect obedience was finished. It was necessary so that man might be saved, that the law of God should be kept, for no man can see God’s face unless he is perfect in righteousness. Christ undertook to keep God’s law for His people, obey its every mandate, and preserve its every statute intact. Throughout the first years of His life He privately obeyed, honoring His father and mother. During the next three years He publicly obeyed God, spending and being spent in His service, till if you would know what a man would be whose life was wholly conformed to the law of God, you may see Him in Christ.
My dear Redeemer and my Lord,
I read my duty in Thy word,
But in Thy life the law appears
Drawn out in living characters.
It needed nothing to complete the perfect virtue of life but the entire obedience of death. He who would serve God not only must be willing to give all his soul and his strength while he lives but also must stand prepared to resign life when it shall be for God’s glory. Our perfect Substitute put the last stroke upon His work by dying, and therefore He claims to be absolved from further debt, for “it is finished.” Yes, glorious Lamb of God, it is finished! You have been tempted in all points like as we are, yet have You sinned in none! It was finished, for the last arrow out of Satan’s quiver had been shot at You. The last blasphemous insinuation, the last wicked temptation, had spent its fury on You. The prince of this world had surveyed You from head to foot, within and without, but he had found nothing in You. Now Your trial is over. You have finished the work that Your Father gave you to do, and so finished it that hell itself cannot accuse You of a flaw. Now, looking upon Your entire obedience, You say, “It is finished,” and we Your people believe most joyously that it is even so.
Brothers and sisters, this is more than you or I could have said if Adam had never fallen. If we had been in the Garden of Eden today, we could never have boasted a finished righteousness, since a creature can never finish its obedience. As long as a creature lives, it is bound to obey, and as long as a free agent exists on earth, it would be in danger of violating the vow of its obedience. If Adam had been in paradise from the first day until now, he might fall tomorrow. Left to himself, there would be no reason why that king of nature should not yet be uncrowned. But Christ the Creator, who finished creation, has perfected redemption. God can ask no more. The law has received all it claims. The largest extent of justice cannot demand another hour’s obedience. It is done; it is complete. Let us rejoice then, in this that the Master meant by His dying cry that His perfect righteousness wherewith He covers us was finished.