When Jesus spoke from the cross, saying, “It is finished!” He meant that the system of religious legalism was finished. Because of this, the Jewish high priests didn’t have exclusivity in entering God’s presence in the Holy of Holies in the temple, once and for all. Now, all people could enjoy His presence directly, speak to Him, and hear His voice. Here’s how it went down.
29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:29-31 NLT
50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.Matthew 27:50-51 NLT
God Opened a Communications Gateway
If you’ve ever been to a live theater, even a high school play, you’ll notice that the curtain that rises and falls at the beginning and end of the performance is usually a heavy curtain. That’s the type of curtain we’re talking about here. Not some light material that could tear easily. Moreover, it was torn by supernatural means — from top to bottom. God was opening up a communications gateway so the average person could speak to God directly without the need of an intermediary like a priest. Likewise, humans now could listen to God, also. (If you want to dig deeper into this concept, check out the Bible Study on the Book of Hebrews.)
Growing up Catholic, I always thought that God — the Trinity — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — was some impossible entity to reach, let alone have a relationship with.
Legalism in the Catholic Church
This is what legalism looks like Roman Catholic style. You can’t…
- get married in a Catholic Church unless you’ve been baptized in one.
- partake in the Eucharist in Mass until you’ve confessed your sins to a priest and received a penance.
- get into Heaven until you’ve worked off, paid off, or prayed off your purgatory points.
Before Jesus died for us, the only way to get into Heaven, was to live a perfect, sinless life (by being very legalistic), or to offer a blood sacrifice of animals for sin. (Hence were we get the phrase, the “Lamb of God”.) Given that, you can never be good enough! When Jesus died and paid for all the sins of humankind — past, present AND future — with His own blood, He opened up a way for every person to enjoy the presence of God and have a personal relationship with Him.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He invited us to a life of freedom rather than fear. However, you are NOT FREE if you are a slave to religion!
With this new freedom, we are led by the Holy Spirit instead of rules, rites, rituals and regulations. Ordinary, sinful people, can now enter freely into the presence of God by repenting of their sins. Repentance means doing a complete 180 degree turn in your life and stop sinning! It’s not like you’re OK once you go to confession, then you can sin again and then go to confession — again. NO! It doesn’t work like that!
Jesus died taking your sins away once and for all. If you accept that, believe that, wholeheartedly, sincerely, repentantly, Jesus WILL forgive your sins and give you the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Freedom from legalism doesn’t mean we can live in lawlessness or laziness. It is up to each and every one of us to get to know God. He wants to be YOUR friend.
How do you get to know God?
- STUDY THE BIBLE DAILY! Don’t just read the Bible, study it. The Catholic leaders would have you think that the Bible is too difficult to understand. It isn’t. God didn’t make it that way. The Bible is simply God talking to us humans. Short devotionals are good, but by themselves, not enough.
- PRAY. Simply talk to God. God the Father is just that, “Abba,” “Daddy”. You don’t have to have a prayer ritual or repeat the same prayers over and over again. Jesus is your brother. He and only He is your mediator, intermediary, conduit, and connection to God the Father, through the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
- JOIN A CHURCH. Find a non-denominational, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church and join a small group Bible Study. You need the camaraderie of other believers. They become your church family. They will pray for you and support you when you are in need. More mature believers can guide you in your new walk following Jesus.
Two Major Points
- Jesus didn’t die such a painful, horrendous death on the cross so that we could have religion! He wants to have a relationship with you. He want’s to be your friend!
- If purgatory exists, then Jesus died for nothing!
It’s Your Choice
The choice is simple — Heaven or Hell. Salvation is through Jesus Christ ONLY — not through a church or any rites and rituals. Yes — what you’ve been taught all your life have been lies. Lies construed and invented by greedy, power-hungry men. If you’re not convinced, read the series I did of in-depth articles on Where the Roman Catholic Church Went Wrong.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
In Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone be the Glory!