When Christ said “It is finished!” (John 19:30), what exactly was finished? What was Christ referring to? What was executed or accomplished? The answer can only be found in the testimony of Scripture.
REDEMPTION – THE SIN OF BELIEVERS ATONED FOR
Redemption was an Old Testament concept.
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.”
The Old Testament also talks about the kinsman-redeemer.(See Leviticus 25:25-28; Ruth 4:1-6)
Redemption is a marketplace term that has to do with a transfer of ownership by paying a purchasing price, a ransom.
The Greek term, ἀπολύτρωσιν, is derived from two Greek words ἀπο, meaning “from” and λύτρωσι, meaning liberate, free(presupposes captivity, bondage).
Thus, redemption is that Christ paid the ransom, the price of purchase, namely the giving of His life(Matt. 20:28), to liberate the sinner from bondage!
The important question is what is the sinner in bondage to that he needs to be freed from?
First, the sinner is in bondage to the Law, namely to the curse of the Law.
“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
But here is the good news.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”
The sinner is also in bondage to the law of works. That is why Paul made the statement that “if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”(Galatians 2:21)
Again, Murray in his book Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, says,
“The truth expressed rests upon the recognition that the law of God has both penal sanctions and positive demands. It demands not only the full discharge of its precepts but also the infliction of penalty for all infractions and shortcomings.”
Secondly, the sinner is in bondage to sin.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
Thirdly, the sinner is in bondage to Satan.
“and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
2 Tim. 2:26
So, when Christ said, “It is finished!”, he meant that redemption was accomplished for His people because He paid the price of ransom, His own life, to free them from the Law, sin and Satan.