102. Who is the Jesus Christ of Christmas? Part 2 of 4. Jesus THE Saviour

No wonder the baby born to Mary was called “Jesus”. Mary’s husband Joseph was told by an angel of the Lord in a dream, that the child to be born to Mary was to be called “Jesus.” Not only that but His name would represent His mission, Mat 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” The name “Jesus” meant “one who saves.” Mary also received a visitation. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and gave her this news, Luk 1:31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. She was also told about His mission but in different words, Luk 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And in verse 35, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. So from the very beginning Joseph and Mary knew that this child was special. They would come to know that He was God’s Messiah, God’s anointed One (the Christ) Who had to die for the sins of the people. Not only that but He would establish a kingdom, an eternal kingdom. He would also be called the Son of the Most High God and the Son of God. All of those truths were revealed by God through angelic messengers.  

 There are few references to Jesus as Saviour in other parts of the Gospels (but see Lk 2:11 and John 4:42). However Luke the Gospel writer also wrote The Acts of the Apostles and there recorded the words of Peter in Acts 5:31  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins, and the words of Paul in Acts 13:23  Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised. St Paul is the New Testament writer who most often used the word “saviour”. He specifically called Jesus, “Saviour”, in these references ( Eph 5:23  … Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. Php 3:20  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 2Tim 1:10  and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus.  Titus 1:4  … Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.  Titus 2:13  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus 3:6  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

 Peter is another writer who had no hesitation in calling Jesus, “Saviour”. His speciality is in combining the words “Lord” and “Saviour” of Jesus in the one phrase. For example, 2Pet 1:11  … the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2Pet 2:20  … through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2Pet 3:2  … the predictions of the holy prophets and the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He also links “God” and “Saviour” in 2Pet 1:1… the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 The apostle John (and writer of the Gospel) sums up the truth about Jesus as Saviour in 1John 4:14  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. It was God’s eternal purpose that Jesus should be the Saviour of the world. That’s why He sent Him on that first Christmas Day to fulfil His God-given role of “saving” the world.  

 If it is true that Jesus Christ is THE Saviour we need to ask a couple more questions.

From what does Jesus save people?

From God’s wrath and condemnation. Acceptance of Christ brings salvation. Rejection of Him brings condemnation, Mar_16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  Jesus came to save but rejection of Him leads to condemnation, Joh_3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Faith in Christ leads to being right with God and not having to face His wrath, Rom_5:9  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

From perishing. 1Cor 1:18  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  Paul outlines why people are deceived and perishing. They chose to reject the truth which saves, 2Thess 2:10  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

From the threat of enemies. Luk_1:71  that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Faith in Christ puts us on His side.  As Paul explained in Romans 8:31 , If God be for us, who can be against us? The risen, ascended Christ is actually praying for His followers, 8:34, and believers are more than conquerors through Him, 8:37.  

 How are people saved?

By the grace and mercy of God. Act_15:11  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Eph_2:5  even when we were dead in our trespasses, (He) made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– Eph_2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Grace not works, 2Ti_1:9  who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.  Tit_3:5  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.  God in His mercy and love longs for people to find salvation through the truth, 1Ti_2:4  who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

By trusting in Christ for salvation. Note the connection between believing and being saved in these verses, Mar_16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Luk_8:12  The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Inward conviction which leads to outward expression is necesary for salvation, Rom_10:9  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  The Philippian jailor had an experience of the power of God as He opened prison doors by an earthquake. He questioned Paul and Silas, Act_16:30  Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  When Paul thanked God for the faith of the believers in Thessalonica he saw their salvation coming from God’s action upon them by His Spirit and their response in believing the truth of the gospel, 2Th_2:13  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

By coming to God through Christ. He is the way, and the only way of salvation, Joh_10:9  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. Act_4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

By calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. To call upon the name of Jesus was to call upon Him personally. Rom_10:13  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Act_2:21  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

By believing the gospel message. Faith came through believing the gospel message, Acts 11:14  he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 1Co 15:1  Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. Preventing the gospel from being preached was a serious offence in God’s sight, for it prevented the Gentiles from responding to the message and being saved, 1Th_2:16  by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved–so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Summary: Every time we approach another Christmas period, we need to recognise that we naturally begin to think of the Christ-child on Christmas morning. However we can’t leave Him as an infant in our imagination for the weeks and months to follow. That is not honouring to Him. Nor is it real. The Christ-child became an adult human who died on a cross to bring salvation to humankind. As the verses above show clearly, this Saviour of humankind was and is none other than the eternal Son of God Himself. He alone brings forgiveness. He alone brings new life. He alone is the Saviour of the world. However He needs to be believed in, to be received, for forgiveness and eternal life to become ours. As John wrote of Him in John 1:1:9  The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10  He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. 11  He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. 12  But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13  who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. Through faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, we become Children of God! Born of God!  Halleluia! What a Saviour!

Blog No.102.  Jim Holbeck. Posted on Sunday 16th December 2012

 

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
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