Last week, I spent a few minutes of class time talking about sentences with my college freshmen. I asked them to remember what defines a sentence. A sentence must have a subject and a verb; it must begin with a capital letter and end with some kind of end mark. Most importantly — at least in the context of our conversation in class — a sentence must express a complete thought; it has to make sense.
When I think of this completeness, I think back to the first chapter of Genesis; I think of God seeing all that He had made, “and behold, it was very good.” And then I move forward to a cross under midday darkness, the sinless One bearing the sins of the world; I think of the weight of His declaration, made with agonizing breath: “It is finished.” And then, further forward still, I hear a loud voice from the One seated on the throne when the first things have passed away: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
Those sentences, of course, are not simply complete thoughts on their own; they also express a larger completeness. They are complete thoughts about complete actions.
And those actions which are complete? They relate to another kind of sentence. A sentence in the legal sense, a decree of punishment for guilt. Because into the very goodness of the first creation entered the corruption of sin, for which the penalty is death. We all have sinned; we all fall under the sentence of death. But that is not the complete story.
The complete story is that, in answer to our sin and our sentence, the Sinless One — the Word — came to stand in our place. On the cross, Christ bore the sentence, took the punishment He had not earned: He finished it for those who trust in Him. And at the end of time, the first things will pass away, giving way to an incorruptible very goodness, a restoration of that first “very good,” a completion of the completeness of the cross.
“It is finished” is not just a complete sentence, but also a sentence completed.
As teacher, as writer, as sinner saved, of this I say, “Behold, it is very good.”
©2013 by Stacy Nott