Dr. Gary Deddo said this short paper really needed to be passed on, so here it is verbatim from my recently-completed class, The Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Finished Work of Jesus Christ (by Karl Reinagel)

There are numerous tools or approaches to presenting the Gospel to those who have not yet come to put their faith in Jesus Christ, several of which are mentioned in the Willow Creek series “Becoming a Contagious Christian.”  This brief paper will consider what I believe to be the most helpful illustration they present in terms of capturing the Gospel and providing the fewest potential roadblocks or stumbling blocks to loving relationship with the Triune God.

Rather than try to summarize the “Do vs. Done Illustration” I will quote it verbatim from Page 168 of their Leader’s Guide:

The difference between religion and Christianity is that religion is spelled “D-O.”  It is trying to do enough good things to please God.

The problem is we never know when we have done enough and—on top of that—the Bible says we can never do enough.  (Romans 3:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”)

Christianity, however, is spelled “D-O-N-E.”

Christ did for us what we could never do.  He lived the perfect life that we could not live.  And He died on the cross to pay for all of our wrongdoings.

But it is not enough just to know this.  We have to receive what he has done for us.  And we do that by asking for His forgiveness and leadership in our lives.

Strengths of “Do vs. Done”

This illustration does well in a number of areas in presenting God’s love and our human condition:

  • It shows that authentic Christianity is different from every other religion on earth and stands apart, not to be compared to others.
  • It presents a Christological view of salvation rather than an anthropological approach.  It focuses on what Christ has done, not on what we humans must do, so there are no illusions that we are contributing anything to our salvation.
  • It highlights the human plight that we can never achieve perfection on our own and no amount of good works will save us.  It exposes our utter helplessness to atone for any sins.
  • It reveals the work of Jesus Christ as being all sufficient for our salvation.  His vicarious sacrifice on our behalf has paid our debt in full with nothing we must or can do to make it effective on our behalf.
  • It identifies Jesus as the Mediator whose offering is perfectly acceptable on our behalf.
  • Knowledge of this good news is not enough, but we must respond to Jesus in gratitude and faith to receive salvation.
  • It is a broad view and sweeping enough illustration that it avoids the pitfalls that other analogies like a “The Bridge” or “Judge” might evoke in giving unhelpful or misleading views of God’s nature and love.

Limitations and Handicaps

For all its good points, “Do vs. Done” has a few shortcomings in presenting the Gospel in a manner worthy of God’s nature and love:

  • It does not recognize the role of the Father and the Holy Spirit in the work of Christ.
  • It falls short of acknowledging that salvation involves entering into an intimate personal relationship within the Trinity that Jesus has shared with the Father and Holy Spirit for all eternity.
  • It could do a better job of bringing out God’s love in a more direct manner to show it is the reason we were created in the first place.  Reference to Colossians 1:16 would be helpful in showing we were made by and for Jesus Christ.  I feel when we identify the purpose of life, the Son’s work takes on a defining quality that makes the Gospel more than just appealing to the weary soul, but compelling.


I suggest this illustration be modified to include the following:

  • That Jesus was sent by the Father out of his love for mankind and that everything he did was fulfillment of the Father’s mission.
  • That Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and gives the Spirit to witness to the adoption of those who place their faith in Him.
  • That this adoption through Christ is the relationship our souls hungers for and that Jesus has made possible as the perfect Son of Man as well as Son of God.
  • That salvation is entering into an eternal relationship of love toward the Father, through the Son in the Spirit.

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