Those Three Words

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Those Three Words

What are the three most important words I’ve ever heard in my life? I love you? Nope. I’ll give you a hint. Jesus spoke them on the cross just moments before he died. Here’s another hint. These words changed me when I finally started taking them seriously. I went from a life abiding in shame and guilt and pain to a life abiding in love. Ready for the answer?

It is finished.

Now I am freer than I’ve ever been in my life: free to be who God made me to be; free to believe who God says I am; free to enjoy the process of becoming. I love more and receive love more. Even in the midst of struggle, my passion is alive, well and becoming stronger every day.

But still, every once in a while, I hit road blocks. Like the other day. Suddenly I was stopped and there were yellow caution signs and orange detour signs all over the place. These allegorical signs shout out warnings to me.

  • You’re a failure!
  • You should have done more!
  • You should have done less!
  • You laughed too loud!
  • You were not prepared!
  • You were unloving!
  • You cheapened grace!

What? Cheapened grace? Hey, that’s a new one!

It happened after I wrote Being Seen. I heard about one of my favorite pastor-teachers accusing another of my favorite pastor-teachers. The accusation? Antinomianism. (That’s a big word!) It’s basically a derogatory term in Christian circles and refers to teachings that cheapen grace by discouraging personal accountability.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve seen the scene played out in many movies. The Italian gangster confesses to the priest, gets absolution, then goes out and kills again. Cheapening grace is when you decide that since Jesus paid for sin, once and for all, nothing anyone does matters anymore.

But we all know that’s not true. Sin is ugly and violent and destructive. It matters. That fictitious movie gangster went out and killed another  – after a supposed absolution! If he was real, his sin totally mattered, especially to the family of the murdered person.

And yet, in Being Seen I wrote that my sin was not mine. Isn’t that cheapening grace? And yes, that’s right. I just compared my possible sin to the sin of a murdering gangster. Sin is sin. And if I cheapened grace with my words, then wouldn’t I be encouraging some murdering gangster to continue on?

In the words of Charlie Brown, “AAUGH!”

Sigh.

The truth is this: the moment I begin to shout down the accuser of my soul with, “IT IS FINISHED! IT IS FINISHED! IT IS FINISHED!” there’s going to be some push back. Doubts and funky feelings start to fight for space. It is no coincidence that antinomianism shows up right after I wrote those words about disclaiming my sin in Being Seen.

Look, I don’t want to be someone who cheapens grace. I don’t! But even more, I won’t go back to the lies that tell me I’m guilty. Because of Jesus, I am innocent and I refuse to water down this amazing grace. If I err, may it be on the side of overstepping grace, rather than going back to the accuser’s road blocks and signage.

And I as I meditate on those famous three words of Jesus and look on my life and the lives of others I know well, I can see that He was talking about more than sin. Jesus was also talking about ending the harmful, twisted effects of sin on this world: poverty, loneliness, hopelessness, disease, fatherlessness. The list goes on.

At the cross, Jesus put an end to everything that had the authority to keep us from dwelling in the transforming power of God’s love.

And that’s where I want to remain – dwelling in His love. In this dwelling place of love I am becoming more and more like… me. The real me, the daughter made in her Father’s image. And as I do, my desire transforms from the simple goal of abstaining from sin to the complexity of magnificent dreams, filled with relentless passionate love acts that change the world around me.

And guess what? Some of those dreams are in process now. Some of those love acts are happening. Some really good stuff is REALLY happening! This is an exciting life. This is a life worth living. This is what Jesus died for.

It is finished.

 

Do you have a question for me? Write it in the REPLY box and post it to me in the Comments section!

Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.

SHINE logo blue small  SHINE is My One Word for 2013. 

© 2013, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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5 responses to “Those Three Words

  1. Yes, IT IS! (I knew those were the three words you were talking about the moment I read the first few sentences!) Thank you for the reminder! Thank you for the reminder to NOT cheapen His grace! I love you! (Maybe your second three favorite words?!) <3

    • Thank you Veronica! You know me well. I was hoping to trick people into thinking those words were I LOVE YOU with the picture of my mom kissing her newest great grandson. AND yes, I LOVE YOU are my next favorite three words.

  2. Carla, this is a wonderfully written post! It is also very timely for me, as I have been dealing with accepting God’s grace and forgiveness for the past. It’s been a very difficult 2 years…

    You are so right that we can be moving along, going forward, and suddenly everything seems to pop up in front of us to detour, stop, and delay us from reaching our destination: peace. I am learning that in those moments, it IS time to stop. To sit quietly and let the Lord speak to me – because it’s when I am moving too fast that I am not really listening to Him, anyway. I love your idea of speaking the words “It Is Finished”, for they are SO powerful!

    Blessings to you from a former classmate at SHS 😉

    • Hi Deb! Thank you for being willing to share. It seems we have been walking similar paths of accepting his amazing, unbelievable, impossible, too-good-to-be-true-yet-true grace. Also, timely is the theme for this post. You are the second person who said this came at just the right time. I was going to write about something else, but You Know Who reminded me of something in my journal, and next thing I knew, I was writing this. Those words IT IS FINISHED are so powerful. Sometimes when I feel anxiety coming on I just stop, then start shouting them. Suddenly things are different. Thanks again Deb, from a fellow Rebel!

  3. It is finished, those are good words to speak out when the liar whispers in
    our ear. I love it. There is no debating or discussing it, those words
    simply but powerfully stop it in it’s tracks now that is grace.
    Thank you for sharing that with me. Usually when those nasty thoughts
    come up for me and I catch them I say I’m not going to go there, but I like
    It is finished after all Jesus spoke those words over us. When we speak them
    it is taking what He did on the cross and really embracing what He truly
    did for us.
    Thank you again for your insightful and profound words as usual you
    have blessed me and added light to my journey.
    God Bless you my friend.

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