Tetelestai: It Is Finished

Tetelestai is the very last word our Savior spoke when He was on the cross.

In English Tetelestai is 3 words: “It is finished.”

Do you ever need to stop and breathe in those words?

“It is finished.”

But the beginning of the story happens all the way back in the book of Genesis.

In the Beginning…

An eternal, holy, and just God created the world. Jesus spoke it into existence. And then He created mankind… and that’s where it all went sideways.

Jesus knew. He knew before humans even came into existence that they would need a Savior, and He willingly went ahead and created us. Each of us. Knowing how bad it would hurt, but loving us anyway.

And sure enough, when faced with the chance to doubt God’s Word, Adam and Eve chose to disobey their creator.

Immediately, their world changed. Sin was ushered in at that very moment and doomed mankind for eternity. Sin has been part of the world ever since and nothing we can ever do will make up for it. We are all guilty of it.

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Death for Adam and Eve, and death for the rest of us. That’s the result of what happened in the Garden of Eden.

Thankfully, God already had a plan.

God’s Plan for Us

While there were eternal consequences for their disobedience, God planned a rescue mission for the very ones who sinned against Him. He was separated from His creation and wanted to unite us, even though our separation was our fault and not His.

So, He planned to send His Son to save them. To save us. And reunite us with God forever.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The entire Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the coming Christ. The messiah who would reunite God with His people once and for all. God was sending His Son to pay the price for our sin.

And that’s what He did. He lived a sin-free life, but then died a sinner’s death. When Jesus died on the cross, He took all of our sin with Him. He loved us enough to die for us.


Loved by Jesus

When He died on the cross, the story of our redemption was complete. We were reunited with our creator and now nothing can keep us apart.

In Romans 8 Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vv. 35,37-39)

But that’s not the best part: All God asks of us is that we believe in Him. As long as we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and died for our sins, we are forgiven – 100%

It’s not something we have to earn. Or even something we can earn. It’s a free gift of God to all who believe (Romans 6:23).

That’s how we all came to Jesus.

We accepted that we were sinners in need of a Savior and that Jesus is that Savior.

There’s no other way to be saved.

But sometimes we forget that, don’t we?

Forgetting Tetelestai

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:3).

We forget we’re saved by grace and start heaping condemnation on ourselves. We think about all the things we did that we shouldn’t have done. We think about the things we said or didn’t say. We think about how much of a failure we are, and wonder why Jesus would want us.

We start telling ourselves that we are unworthy.

And when we do that we miss the point: We are unworthy. But God loves us anyway.

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Instead of looking at us as sinners, God looks at us and sees the blood of Jesus who died to cover our sins.

We are counted as righteous in God’s eyes because of our faith in Jesus.

Tetelestai – we don’t have to earn it because it is finished.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)

So what do we do now?

Now that our souls are secure for eternity?

Walking with Jesus

We do exactly what Jesus said. We listen to the voice of Jesus, we follow Him, and grow in our relationship with Him.

Back in the Garden of Eden, Jesus walked with Adam and Eve, and because Jesus died for us, we can walk with Him, too.

We can learn more about God through His Word.

We can talk to Him through prayer.

And we can let Him seep into every corner of our lives as we grow closer to Him.

Not earning a place in heaven or even a relationship with Him, but resting in His embrace and living out our love for Him.

Will we still sin? You bet. But when He convicts us we will repent.

My walk with God won’t look anything like yours, and your sister sitting next to you, hers will look different, too.

Our struggles are different.

Our pasts are different.

Our lives are different.

But do you know what isn’t different?

Our Jesus.

We all serve the same Savior.


John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus wants what’s best for us. And when we get into His Word, when we spend time in prayer, the more we understand what that looks like.

The more time we spend with Him, the better we’ll grasp His love for us.

We will walk out our love for Him differently, but when all is said and done, let us say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”



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