By John Owen
. . . . the prayer as a whole looks forward to the death and even beyond it with such assurance that it is as though these things had already been accomplished, as they surely were in Christ's mind. . . . The meaning of this verse is above everything else Christ came to die on the cross.
. . . The Father had given Jesus a great work of salvation to do. . . He finished that work, as a token of which He was subsequently raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
Do you find that satisfying? I know one person who is satisfied with that work. God is satisfied. We know that God was satisfied by Christ's death by the resurrection of Christ, for the resurrection is God's seal upon Christ's work. . . . by the resurrection God gave notice that Christ's death was the perfect substitution for sin He entered this world to make and that He, the Father, had accepted it in place of the condemnation of the sinner. . . .
This is what the resurrection is to us. It is God's declaration that the account of our moral indebtedness has been paid, that God is satisfied. This just God will never demand anything else for our salvation.
I know someone else who was satisfied by Christ's death. It was Jesus Himself. . . "I have brought glory to You on earth by completing the work You gave me to do."
What then? If God is satisfied in Christ's death and if Christ is satisfied in His death, should not we, who benefit from it most directly, also be satisfied? Yes, and more than that! We should rejoice in that completed work, knowing that it is our glory. We should sing about it:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
. . . . If Christ's atoning work is finished and if it has been accepted as such by the Father, then what folly it is and what ingratitude it shows if we think we can add to it. Millions of people, many of them serious churghgoing people, are doing this. They do not disbelieve in Christ's work especially, but neither do they trust it wholly. Instead, they try to add to it by tears and confessions and charity and by every other kind of supposed "good work." They suppose that by these things God may perhaps be moved to be gracious to them and so save them at last. What an insult to God! It is insulting to suppose that you can add to that salvation that He in His own great love and wisdom planned from before the foundation of the world and then brought to completion in time through the death of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus.
Will you turn from your work to Jesus? His work is a great work, an all-sufficient work, a certain work. It is all you need. It is all that God will accept. Accept it then, and present it to the Father in place of your works.
If Christ's atoning work is really a finished work and if God has accepted it as the sole grounds of salvation, let us proclaim it as such. . . If we have entered into it, having come to God on the basis of Christ's sacrifice, then we have an obligation to make this gospel widely known. . . They need to hear that all that is necessary for our salvation has been done by Christ. He has died, and "it is finished"
(Gospel of John, vol. iv., 1264-1267).