Why Jesus’ last words “It is finished” is so important for Mormons


Right before Jesus died on the cross, he said: “It is finished”. In the Greek language for which the New Testament was written in, this short phrase is just one word. This same Greek word was sometimes written across bills of debt in the same way we stamp a bill today with the words, “Paid in Full”. When Jesus uttered these words from the cross, he was announcing that mankind’s debt of sin had been paid in full – by him.


On Easter morning, God the Father dramatically showed that he accepted this payment by raising Jesus triumphantly from the dead. Jesus’ empty tomb is our receipt from God Himself that Jesus paid for all our sins – that God used the indelible ink of Jesus’ blood to write across our debt of sin the wonderful words, PAID IN FULL.


This short message is something that not only do we need to remind ourselves of often, but it is also something your Mormon friends need to hear repeatedly. Mormonism teaches that they have to pay the vast majority of the debt back themselves. The Book of Mormon says, “For we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23) That phrase, “after all you can do” not only contradicts what Jesus said, but can also serve as a tremendous burden to conscientious Mormons. Who can at the end of each day confidently proclaim that they had done all that they could do? Honest persons will quickly see instances where they hadn’t. In striking contrast are Jesus’ words: “It is finished – your debt has been paid in full.” Friends, that is the wonderful news your Mormon friends need to hear.


My encouragement for you today is to speak that wonderful truth in love to Mormons.



16 Responses to “Why Jesus’ last words “It is finished” is so important for Mormons”

  1. July 26, 2008 at 3:46 am

    If I understand you other posts, then each individual is required to at least accept Christ as their Savior. Can you explain for my benefit how Christ did everything for everyone, but each individual still has to do something?

  2. July 26, 2008 at 3:47 am

    If I understand you other posts, then each individual is required to at least accept Christ as their Savior.

    Can you explain for my benefit how Christ did everything for everyone, but each individual still has to do something?

  3. 3 markcares
    July 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Let’s say that I incurred a huge debt. But you paid the entire debt – every last penny of it. Would you say I did something to pay off that debt if I was grateful to you for doing that and gave you the credit for doing that, and no longer worried about paying off that debt because you already did? I don’t think any of tht qualifies as doing something.

    But the Bible goes even further than that. It says that God is the one who creates that reaction within me. Just like God created the light, so also he has enlightened me about Jesus. “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

  4. July 27, 2008 at 5:24 am

    I really don’t think the LDS doctrine is that far off from your thoughts. Christ paid the debt of sin for everyone; now He invites everyone to receive His grace by accepting His teachings. It’s not that we believe our works will save us; it’s not like when a person reaches their 1000000th good deed then they’re saved. Instead we believe we’re here on this earth to learn to become like our Heavenly Father. Just like eagles nudging their babies out of the nest, we were sent here to gain experience and to learn to become like Him. No unclean thing can return to heaven, and so a Savior was sent to pay the price we cannot pay.

    Christ set the perfect example. He learned line upon line, fulfilled all righteousness by following all the commandments, and surrendered His will to the Father, even when He would not. We are to do the same. We must surrender our will by being obedient to all of God’s commands and following the strait and narrow path rather than the meandering ways of the world. However, since we’re imperfect, when we fall down we can ask Christ to lift up that which we cannot. This process is called repentance, and is required for all who wish to partake of Christ’s gift. This life is a journey leading the followers of Christ back to God’s presence through His grace and our willingness to strive every day to put off the natural man and become perfect like Him and our Heavenly Father.

  5. July 28, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Reggie is right!
    Thank you for saying this so correctlly Reggie, I could not have done any better.
    I do want to add that it is not our works that “save” us, it is our faith. Our Faith in the savior Jesus Christ, but remember that Faith without works is Dead and thus not faith at all.
    How can this be? Well it is simplified thus: Jesus dies and resurected for our sins and so we can have faith in him and be “Saved” so to reep the benifit of that salvation we put out faith in him (this could be a work in itself) and that Faith prompts us to do good and follow the Comandments and example of Jesus Christ. this action of doing good and following the Comandments and example of Jesus Christ is what many do call works. So do our works marrit anything? Not really but it is evident by our works that we have faith in Christ.

    This is not to replace or admend what Reggie said but to add to his statment.

    Thank you,

  6. 6 markcares
    July 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I assume that you are familiar with the illustration Elder Boyd K. Packer gave. It is recorded in my copy of “Gospel Principles” starting with p. 75. It’s quite lengthy so I don’t want to copy it all here. I will summarize much of it. Heavenly Father is the creditor. We are the debtors. After awhile we realize that we can’t pay back the debt. After a discussion about justice and mercy, Jesus, the mediator, steps in. He asks the creditor if he will free the debtor from the contract, if he, the mediator, pays the entire debt. The creditor agrees. Let me pick it up there by quoting a few sentences:

    “The mediator turned then to the debtor. ‘If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?’

    “‘Oh yes, yes,’ cried the debtor. ‘You saved me from prison and show mercy to me.’

    “‘Then’ said the benefactor, ‘you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be posssible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.'”

    I wanted to quote that because that illustrates the difference in how we believe. Christians don’t see Jesus as their creditor. We don’t think we have to pay the debt back to Jesus. But, as that quotation clearly indicates, official Mormonism teaches both. That makes our beliefs quite different.

  7. July 28, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    In that respect, let me polarize this a bit, do you beleive that you can accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and continue to do Evil? Is that accepting him as your Savior, In truth Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my ccommandments.” (John 14:15)

    And it is writen in Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

    No matter if you see Jesus as a debt payer or your new Creditor you cannot deny the Biblical implications of Works being evident by Faith.
    James 20:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
    James 20:20 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
    James 20:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

    You may quibble over perception but the Scriptures remain Clear about this.
    Yes, it is faith in Jesus Christ that is important to be “Saved” but without the works that Faith is naught.


  8. 8 Jesse
    July 29, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Nice posts Reggie and ditchu.

    Let me quote what you said Mark in another one of your responses:

    “According to the Bible, works are a result of salvation. They spring out after a person is brought to saving faith. They are expressions of gratitude for what God has done. I do good works not because I think they are a requirement that I need to do in order to be accepted by God, but freely and joyfully because God has already accepted me in Jesus.”

    Works are definitely brought out after our faith, as you stated in the second sentence. But by the rest of your very statement, you, too, imply that works are required.

    If works are brought out because of faith, then what would an absence of works signify? They would signify no faith. This is preached by James in his epistle:

    “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:20-22

    Our faith truly is “justified” and “made perfect” by our works.

    God bless.

  9. 9 markcares
    July 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    The question, as I see it, is: Do works contribute to our salvation? Since I see them as resulting from salvation, they can’t be a cause of salvation. Here is a link that might be useful for you to look at. http://www.thecityofzion.com/postoffice/Faith/TheBreathOfFaith/Faith.htm

  10. July 29, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Does the chicken come from the egg or is the chicken the reason for the egg?
    We could refuse to see the other’s point here abd keep going around and around with this argument. If you want to simpilify it that you are “Saved” by Faith in Christ, that’s fine but without the fruit of that faith you really do not have faith. Thus we show forth works (“After all we can do”) as a result of faith.

  11. July 29, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    That was not to be a simily face but a . and a )

    Think of it like a marathon that you know you cannot finish on your own. Jesus does not carry you all the way else you have not gained anything from it. No you must do all you can to finish and then he picks you up and helps you to the finish line. this way you have gained from the experience.

  12. 12 JLFuller
    August 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    If I can add a little to this well hashed out conversation, don’t take other people’s “lessons” as absolute. I suppose we all tend to lean too much on other people’s understanding to find our own. May I suggest you research all sides of a question reading pro and con, come to a conclusion based on reason and logic and then follow James’ admonition and pray about it. Ask God to provide you with the correct understanding. Resist the temptation to look only for support for your preconceived ideas but rather ask for a correct interpretation of scripture. Ask for confirmation for what you read and believe you understand. And do your home work. Keep an open mind. God can’t teach a closed mind.

    The Bible is not inerrant. It has been translated countless times and mistakes have crept in and some things were purposely left out. That doesn’t mean it is wrong though. It is accurate where it has been translated correctly. But no one has the original copies to reference. The earliest texts, the Latin Vulgate, were compiled by Jerome in the late fourth century. But the manuscripts used by the editors of the current KGV used only the Latin version, not the Greek which is the laguage the original writers used. Jerome translated the Greek to Latin and the KGV editors translated the Latin to English. Bart Ehrman writes about the process in his book “Misquoting Jesus”. It is widely available in book stores. He is a professor at U of No Carolina Chapel Hill religion department. He got his PhD in Theology from Princeton and is a legitimate scholar. He also attended Moody Bible Institute, and Wheaton College where he became well grounded in Evangelical theology. One more thing – you won’t see him hawking “Bible Retreat” timeshares on religious TV which means he isn’t trying to “sell” his religion for profit.


  13. November 3, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    First, one has to understand the context of what Christ meant by “It is finished”. What was he referring to that prompted this statement? Christ was on the Cross. He was scourged and nailed, lifted up for all to see. When we look at the context of Christ’s statement, it is finished, we find that Christ was referring to his mortal ministry and accomplishing the will of His Father. What was his father’s will? We only have to look to the repitious statements Christ made throughout his earthly ministry, “I did not come to do my will, but the will of the one who sent me.” Why did the Father send Christ? To preach the gospel of Grace, to redeem unto himself fallen man and provide fallen man a way to salvation. Not only this, but rise up in glory and perfect righteousness to overcome, not only sin, but death as well.

    Yet, his death on the cross was not the end-all-be all event. Lest we forget, Christ rose the third day with a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bone. He appeared before Mary, His Disciples. He ministered unto them for forty more days and then ascended into heaven with his glorified resurrected body. What was finished? The answer is not Christ’s death on the cross to redeem mankind, but Christ accomplishing the will of the father and doing that which he was sent to do. It was Christ’s accomplishment of his Fathers will that was finished.

    Therefore, your assertion that Christ’s statement is essentially saying that the sinners debt is paid in full is to negate the full aspect of the nature of God’s plan of Salvation, in that not only to redeem mankind from their fallen state but to bring to pass man’s immortality and eternal life. Much like Christ was risen from the dead, so also will every person be risen from the dead. Their spirit and physical bodies will be reunited and they will stand before God to give an account of their mortal life. Those who have rebelled and sinned against God, having died in their transgressions, rejecting the gospel message will receive a lesser reward than those who have embraced the powerful truth of God’s true gospel.

  14. 14 ADB
    February 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Don’t know if this thread is the perfect spot for this post, but here it goes …

    This morning my study/devotion was particularly enlightening. The author expressed his devotional thoughts under the title “Penitence, Not Penance.” Here’s what he wrote (from the standpoint of one speaking to God): “You have taken my iniquity, so willingly, so completely. Why do I try to take it back and carry it myself? Why do I insist on paying a debt that is no longer there? What you really want is for me to let go of it, to let you have it forever. Penitence, not payment – that is what you want.” One of the passages referenced was Is. 53:6, which supports his thoughts so well (BTW, I’m happy to cite the author at anyone’s request).

    The more I pondered these thoughts in light of Scripture, I found myself asking a simple question: Why has God given us the Holy Scriptures? Isn’t it because through them he had something he wished to reveal to man, something that man could not know on his own? If that is the case, then how would we sum up what God wants to reveal to us through Scripture?

    Is it that I need to do something to get right with him? If that were so, then I would not need the Holy Scriptures to tell me that, for my own guilty conscience, without ever hearing one word of Scripture, will tell me that I’ve done wrong and somehow need to make up for it. Surely the Holy Scriptures seek to tell me something more, something that I cannot know by nature.

    They do just that. They tell me that Jesus has done it all, not some, not part, but all of it. That needs to be revealed to me, for I cannot know that by nature.

    To make the message of Scripture say anything less than that Christ has done EVERYTHING for me is to render it unnecessary, because anything else I could figure out on my own. At the very least, I could draw the conclusion (as many have) that God expects something from me, and so long as I try really hard he’ll throw me a bone to make up for wherever I fall short. Is that all Jesus is, the “bone” God threw us to make up for what we couldn’t achieve on our own? If so, I don’t need the Holy Scriptures to tell me that. Multitudes of people already believe that God will “grade on a curve” and don’t need a Bible to tell them that. Sadly, they will find out one day how mistaken they were.

    God gave us the Holy Scriptures to reveal something foreign to us, something we could not otherwise know. That message is that Jesus did it all for us, and God wanted me to have 100% confidence that because Jesus did it all, I WILL be in heaven. I couldn’t know that unless God revealed it to me so clearly through the Bible.

  15. 15 markcares
    February 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts. You are so correct. Hope to hear from you more.

  16. 16 Adam
    November 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    thats really great, thanks alot,

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