Christ’s Finished Work: Justified by Faith

As a new believer in Christ, I was plagued by a scrupulous conscience. I would keep a pen and notebook in my pocket to list down the sins and transgressions that I become aware of in the course of the school day. At the end of the day, I would confess these specific sins to God one by one, asking forgiveness for each sin. This practice was discouraging as I became more conscious of my weaknesses and failings than of the presence and blessings and attributes of God.

I carried the heavy burden of unforgiven and repeated sins piled up one upon another. I felt condemned, guilty and discouraged. Peace fled, and darkness hovered over my head and took away the joy of my salvation. I was a poor advertisement of the love of God. How can I look so morose and glum when Jesus loved me so much?

On hindsight, I what I lacked was a proper understanding of Christ’s finished work. There was a missing element in the teachings we received from the pulpit. We had teachings about the repentance, regeneration, baptism, baptism of the Spirit, discipleship, the holy life, and getting ready for Jesus’ return, but none about justification by faith. This is a foundational doctrine that should buttress all others. It is an essential cornerstone of Christ’s finished work. If I had received understanding of this teaching, it would have set me free from condemnation and set me on the path of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

Justified by grace through faith

Believers in Christ are justified by the grace of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; and they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:23,24). It was not something we earned, deserved or could achieve on our own. Jesus’ death on the cross redeemed or purchased us from our slavery to sin. We now belong to Christ and he has changed our status before God from guilty, to someone who has been declared righteous, and acquitted of all wrong. This declaration of “NOT GUILTY” anticipates the verdict we will one day hear on the Day of Judgement. God lets us enjoy this status now. This means that when God sees us, he sees us as men and women cleared of all guilt of all sins (past, present and future). It is a gift, and we receive it by faith. “We have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law” (Gal2:16).

Rags to riches

To what shall I liken this change in status? I think of a man hopelessly in debt to his creditors to the tune of $6 million. Someone paid up his debt out of sheer grace, and informs him that his debt has been cleared, and he does not owe his creditors any money anymore. What relief! What great joy! What wonder and gratitude fills this man’s soul. No more darkness and depression. Hope fills him. A new like beckons him. This is what has happened to the sinner who believes in Christ: the debt of sin is completely cleared. Zero. But this is only half of the good news of justification. There is much more. The story continues. That generous benefactor not only leaves the man cleared of all debt, he also added $10 million into his zeroed account. Now the man suddenly without deserving or earning or working for it is a multi-millionaire. It is the same with what Christ’s finished work did for us: he not only erased all our sins to zero; he also imputed and gave to us his generous gift of righteousness – his life of total obedience to the Father has been transferred into our once bankrupt account. Our debts of sin were put upon Jesus, and in a mind-boggling and gracious exchange, he put his perfect righteousness upon us. “For our sake he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Christ) we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

This truth dawned on me and began to permeate my being after I read the book “Pastor Roland Buck: The Man Who Talked to Angels by Sharon White” a few years after I began my torturous journey as a new believer. It brought me great peace, stability and assurance before God. Joy returned and so did gratitude and confidence in God’s love.

Lord, thank you for Your finished work on the cross. For such a gracious and generous exchange. For the peace that passes all understanding and the great joy of Your salvation. Amen.

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic of “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE. Feel free to use it in personal or group discipleship discussions to establish the faith of believers. It can also be used to inspire ideas for pastors to use as a series of messages to strengthen the faith of the congregation. 

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Christ’s Finished Work: Intercession of Christ

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic of “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE. Feel free to use it in personal or group discipleship discussions to establish the faith of believers. It can also be used to inspire ideas for pastors to use as a series of messages to strengthen the faith of the congregation. 

Fruit of the Finished Work

Christ’s intercession for believers is a fruit of his finished work. Without his death and resurrection, there would be no basis for intercession to the Father on the believer’s behalf. The basis of Jesus intercession for believers is that he paid the price for their redemption, the forgiveness of sins, once and for all, by giving his sinless life to take away the sins of the world. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:33,34). 

Picture the evil one before the God accusing believers of their faults, shortcomings and sins of omission and commission. The accusations are not without basis and the believers have to admit to them. However, there is an Advocate, a defence lawyer in the heavenly courts who speaks us for us to God. He says in effect, “These believers have sinned in thought, word and action. However, I came to earth, and I paid the price for their redemption, the forgiveness of all their sins. Therefore, I intercede on their behalf on the basis of my shed blood, that they be forgiven totally of all wrongdoing, and that they stand before you clothed in my righteousness instead”.  God listens to Christ’s valid, effectual intercession and our sins are all cancelled out and we are acquitted.

The Freedom of a Forgiven People

This is why believers can live in the freedom of a forgiven people. They are far from perfect and do sin and fail daily, but they have Christ to intercede for them not only in this life but also on the day of judgment. “But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation of our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John2:1,2).“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).

Following Jesus with such a deep and complete assurance leads to confidence instead of fear, peace instead of condemnation, joy instead of a spirit of heaviness. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this will not lead to careless, playful, deliberate sin. It does not. In fact, the opposite happens. Such generosity of forgiveness, empowers the sinning believer to again be aware of his sins and need, to turn to God and be even more grateful for Christ’s finished work, thus spiritually empowering him to love Jesus much more. 

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Christ’s Finished Work: Holy Spirit

My experience of the Holy Spirit

My first experience of the Holy Spirit was in a Saturday meeting in a home. I cannot remember what the preacher A.M. Mathew spoke about but when he gave an invitation for those who want to follow Christ to go forward I somehow went forward, to my own surprise. On hindsight I now know it was the Spirit drawing me to Christ. In my own self, I would have been too shy to have gone forward. From that day on I had different desires. My desire for God, reading the Bible, praying and attending meetings grew and my basketball passion went limp. I helped around at home more and was more at peace and joyful. 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

In the meetings God was moving in revival power. At that time, all I knew was that at every meeting there were inspiring testimonies, heartfelt praise and singing, lengthy doctrinal teachings, followed by weeping, repentance and prayer in tongues. I wept often, sometimes in repentance; other times, overwhelmed by sense of his presence and love. 

I asked about the speaking in tongues and someone passed me a booklet full of Bible passages and verses about the Holy Spirit organized under sub-headings comprising common questions people ask about the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. I remembered reading the booklet over and over again, until faith got hold of me and I believed and started praying for the baptism of the Spirit and the gift of tongues. It was several weeks of prayer and seeking God until finally I was filled and spoke in tongues aloud with my church friends in a field bench between two three-storey blocks in Princess Elizabeth Estate. I was sure it caused a stir because I saw people staring at us from their windows, wondering what the loud “noise” and crying was all about. That night I continued using the gift of tongues softly till dawn. It was a day I would never forget. I was overflowing with the joy of the Lord.

Hunger For Truth and Reality of God

The presence and person of God became so real and it drew me more frequently and for longer periods into prayer and study of the Bible and reading of Christian books. I attended conferences such as the Spiritual Renewal Seminars and wrote notes and practiced what I heard. I had a deeper sense of being forgiven, loved and assurance of sonship. I became bolder in personal witnessing, sharing Christ and my testimony to strangers and distributing tracts house to house and with others in town and the esplanade after the Saturday meetings.

Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit

I learned about the gifts of the Spirit and prayed for the gift of prophecy, and began to prophesy. I also found Ithat God used me to often to preach and teach the Word. I also prayed for the gifts of healing but I was rarely used by God in this area. 

More importantly I became more aware of the companionship and faithful gentle friendship of the Spirit. He was helping me with all kinds of things and would often help me to serve the church better, giving me wisdom and abilities and the graces to do what I could not in my natural self. The Spirit transformed me little by little from the shy, introverted, insecure, anxious youth to the person I am today – and the work will continue till Jesus returns. 

No Finished Work, No Outpouring of Spirit

The person and gifts of the Holy Spirit was made available to us because of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Unless Jesus was exalted to the right hand of the Father, the Spirit would not be poured out upon all who believe in Him.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).

When Jesus spoke these words, Jesus had not yet been crucified. Jesus knew he would be glorified and taken up to the right hand of God in heaven. Then and only then would the Spirit be poured out upon everyone who trusted him. Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear (Acts 2:32,33).

One of God’s great blessings of Christ’s finished work is the person and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This article is part 8 of 26. To access other articles about the A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work go HERE.

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Christ’s Finished Work: Gifts of Christ

The Fivefold Ministry

We have heard about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts but have we heard of the gifts of Christ, and did you know that these gifts were part of Christ’s finished work? Receiving this truth would enable us to move ourselves towards Christian maturity and the fulness of the stature of Christ.

An intriguing scripture portion in Ephesians 4 explains this. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph 4:7,8). The background is of course that of a victorious king returning to the capital to great acclaim, with captives defeated in the battlefield in chains trailing behind him. In celebration, he shares the spoils of war with the city, even though they did not fight the battles and did not deserve any reward at all. Yet the king graciously and generously gives gifts to them. Paul however was describing how Christ gave gifts to the world, particularly the church, after he had victoriously defeated Satan, sin, and death by his death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb. These must be significant gifts for they came out of the sacrifice of his life.  What are these gifts and what purpose do they serve?

The scripture goes on to explain what these gifts are: And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph4:11-13). These gifts are men and women with spiritual authority and various complementary gifts that can equip the church to do God’s will. These God-designed, holistic, complementary ministries, if welcomed in their fullness, and not partially, by the church, will bring about church effectiveness, growth, unity of faith and intimacy with God, maturity and the greater glory to God. 

The gifts of Christ are sometimes called fivefold ministry or fivefold offices, or fourfold (combining pastors and teachers into one) ministry gifts of Christ. The five are gifted people who have received grace to be used by God to bless and build the church in dimensions that complement each other to maximum impact. We need all of them.


The apostles (“sent out ones”) are those who establish churches among unreached peoples. They evangelise the lost, equip the saints, establish the church and the doctrines, set up and equip leadership and move on to new territories. Apostles love the church and have a passion for establishing and multiplying local churches.


The prophets forth-tell and foretell. He forth-tells in the sense of receiving God’s “now” word for God’s people and faithfully declares the fresh rhema message to them, often calling them to turn from modern forms of  idolatry to God himself. God may also grant them intimations of the future which they will deliver faithfully so the individual or church may take heed and prepare, or be encouraged, strengthened and comforted. In the last days, when the love of many will wane cold, this gift of Christ needs more recognition and acceptance. Prophets love the presence of God and are passionate about delivering the current word of the Lord to fire up the hearts of God’s people.


The evangelists spread everywhere the good news of Jesus Christ with convincing clarity and persuasive power to the lost. They are graced to move unsaved people to open their hearts to accept the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. They love being with lost people and they are passionate preaching Christ and his salvation to them.


Pastors are the shepherds (literal translation) of the church and their job is to feed the sheep, care, and watch for their souls. His number one task is to be a faithful example of faithful Christian living. He is the walking visual aid that inspires, encourages and comforts the congregation to be devoted and faithful to the Lord. He loves spending time with God’s people and is passionate about growing them in the love of God.


Teachers love to inform, instruct, and explain the things of God using Scriptures. They love to make fundamental teachings of the Bible accessible, clear and applicable for God’s people, whatever their level of understanding. Faithfulness to the meaning of the text, and diligence to live out the truth are their bottom line. Teachers love spending time feeding on Scriptures and are passionate about communicating truth effectively.

Welcome Mat

The gifts of Christ are God’s gifted servants appointed to bring different nutrients to the body of Christ and together they impart a balanced, multi-faceted ministry the church needs for growth into the maturity and purity and beauty of the Bride of Christ, ready to be received by Christ the Bridegroom.

God is faithful and will provide these gifted people to the Body of Christ. It is for us to recognise who they are and roll out the welcome mat so the church can receive their complementary gifts with thanks, and grow in maturity.

This is the seventh in a twenty six series of A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work. Click HERE to access the earlier posts>

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Christ’s Finished Work: Forgiveness of Sins

The forgiveness of sins is certainly one of the most precious gifts resulting from Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. It is so important it was included in the Apostle’s Creed next to other fundamental beliefs in the confession of our faith: “I believe in…the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body”.

Resolving the Problem of Sin

Few realize the full extent of the consequences of our breach of God’s laws. It drove apart our relationships with God, with one another, and with creation. Guilt, shame, cover-up and blame crept into our relationships. We saw this with Adam and Eve. It caused them to withdraw from God even as God in his mercy and grace searched for and reached out to them. In mercy and foresight, God justly punished them for their rebellion against his rule, but he had in mind a future redemption plan for the whole human race. 

The forgiveness of sins resolves the key issues that block us from having an intimate and loving fellowship with God, with one another and a proper care of creation. This cancellation of the punishment that we deserved for our sins absolves us from guilt and grants us peace with God and oneself; frees us from shame and gives us dignity; makes cover-up unnecessary and promotes authenticity; and stops the blame-game and encourages us to take responsibility.

When sin is committed, the natural tendency is for us to try to atone for it by being good and doing good deeds. We want our good deeds to outweigh our bad deeds or at least balance out the deficit, so that we stand a chance before God at the judgement, or have a better reincarnation in the next life. This leads to uncertainty right to the very end of one’s life, no matter how much good deeds or philanthropy one does.  For example, for a bad deed like slander or lust after a married person, how much and what type of good deeds must one do to atone for each transgression. No one knows. And during the final tally, can we be assured that what good we have done outweighs the bad we have committed? Uncertainty at the day of judgment is fatal because it is final and there is no way to try to increase the shortfall in good deeds. 

For Christians, we have the free gift of forgiveness of sins when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:7,8). The forgiveness of sins is free for believers but for the sinless Christ it meant paying the great price of an unjust death on the cross, and taking upon himself the punishment that is due for the sins committed by all peoples past, present and future. That cruel death was not deserved by the sinless Jesus Christ, but in a divine mystery, is God’s way of making atonement for the sins of the whole world. The forgiveness we could not deserve or earn by being good and doing noble and charitable things, was earned and deserved by Jesus on the cross and made available as a free gift to all who would repent and believe in Christ’s finished work.

Repentance and Confession of Sins

Repentance is a change of mind and heart leading to a change in one’s attitudes and action. We have to be willing to change our mind about what sin and holiness is, about who God is, about trying to earn forgiveness of sins, and how we are to live our lives. This repentance process is accompanied in varying degrees with sorrow, tears, crisis of belief, conviction, confession, and struggles and this journey continues beyond initiation and baptism.

Forgiveness of sins does not depend on a complete confession of specific sins. This would make our salvation insecure and undermine assurance and joy. Even after being Christians, we constantly fall short of God’s glory and fail to walk in God’s ways. In thought, in speech and action, we daily fall short. Furthermore we are often unaware of our failings and the sins we commit and the good we omit in our daily life. Thus if our salvation is dependent upon a perfectly complete confession of specific sins, we would all be doomed should the Lord take us home suddenly. Even if we had time to prepare, how would we know we have confessed all our sins. Christ’s finished work perfectly atoned for all the sins of the whole world and must necessarily include past, present and future sins. Believing this is the basis of our assurance that God will not hold our sins against us should we suddenly be taken home before we had a chance to confess our sins.

Confession of sins is simply nodding before the Lord that you have wronged him, or people in thought, speech or action. Being specific helps us to know ourselves better about where we tend to be vulnerable to temptations. It replaces the sense of unworthiness and unconscious withdrawal from God, with assurance and peace and joy (1 John 1: 9). It also releases spiritual energy in us that so that we want to change in order to please Him (Philippians 2:13). 

Go and Sin No More

Forgiveness is a precious gift that enables us to live godly and follow Christ faithfully. Faith in the finished work of Christ liberates me from the fear of judgment in the future, of rejection in the present, and the condemnation of the devil about my past. Because my sins (past, present and future) have all been atoned for by Christ, I feel assured and certain about facing Him on the day of judgment and being with Him forever. I am no longer haunted by past sins no matter how shameful and evil they were. I live my Christian life fruitfully, with assurance and without condemnation because I know that even when I fail or fall, underneath is the embracing, comprehensive, and fail-safe net of God’s forgiveness of my sins past, present and future. Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”(Psalm 32:1).

This blogpost is the 6th part is a series of 26 parts about the A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work. To read the other blogposts you can click on the below titles:





Eternal Life

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