The Salvation Image
When we celebrate and remember the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the Lord’s Supper, our minds ought to additionally focus on the salvation He has procured on our behalf. To see salvation in the image of His death and resurrection is to come to really understand the mission to which He came. Always in the Old Testament His coming is associated with His bringing of salvation. The Psalmist declares in Psalms 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Isaiah shouts a resounding acclamation in Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation...and He has become my salvation. We believe that the coming of this promised salvation is found in Jesus, and only in Jesus Alone.
Therefore in the angelic pronunciation to Joseph in the text of Matthew 1:21 His Name is given prominence and preeminence. He shall be called Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. Jesus, the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, means Savior. His errand from the Father is therefore cleared up, confirmed, and affirmed before He came into the world. Matthew goes on to say that His coming into the world to save sinners from their sins was in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of 7:14 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel. Yes, God will be with His people to save them from their sins.
When we see the image of salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus a multifaceted picture ought to emerge. We should see in this image Who He is (Savior), what He has done (saved us from our sins), and what He brings (salvation). The theological linkage here expounded by Matthew effectively links these together in the promise of the remission of sins given through Jeremiah (31:34) and the other OT prophets.
The basic idea of salvation is deliverance, preservation, or rescue from a dangerous situation. The verb “to save” occurs some 54 times in the Gospels with over 20 of these applying to or meaning spiritual salvation as opposed to physical salvation. Whenever the words save and its derivatives salvation and Savior are used, one must be clear of its context as to whether the reference is to physical or spiritual salvation. Principally throughout the New Testament the reference is overwhelmingly deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences. This deliverance is from the power, guilt, dominion, and pollution of sin. There is an assumed dependence of the ones saved upon the One doing the saving (Savior). We may not fully comprehend how God saves nor agree on the mechanisms involved in so great a salvation; but all of God’s children would agree that God does save through Jesus. Thus we all should see the image of salvation in His death and the resurrection. He rescues us from the perils of sin’s influence and ushers us into a state of salvation bliss whereby we are admitted into eternal life though Jesus Christ our Savior. The image of the Suffering Savior ought to bring our hearts to a point sweltering with jubilation toward the One Who has delivered us. In the text He is emphatic meaning it has a powerful connotation attached to its usage. Matthew wants us to know as Jonah and the OT prophets knew (Jonah 2:9) that Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord. It is He Who saves by His personal acts on our behalf at Calvary. He saves us from our sins. Look at the Cross and see that He Alone is the Savior of His people.
I would definitely be remiss in my duties, faltering in my commitment to the True Word of God, and failing in my obedience if I did not remind you at this point again of the limited nature of His Atonement. The text says, “He will save His people from their sins.” Not everybody, but whosoever will believe on Him , trust Him and never doubt, venerates Him, has a reverential fear of God, treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly, is acceptable to Him and sure of being received and welcomed by Him (Acts 11:35). This precludes those who have not faith in Him. The Bible plainly teaches that all do not have faith in Him (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Though a specific reference here is to the nation of Israel, the context suggests an application to those who trust Him in faith (Revelation 5:9). While some trust in and boast in chariots and some in horses (Psalm 20:7); others boast in their physical attributes, their knowledge, their reputation, their prestige, their position, their influential friends, their armies and weapons, their bank accounts, their preachers, their deacons, their buildings, their families, and any body and any thing else; BUT we trust in and boast of the Name of the Lord our God. They shall call His Name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.
Finally my brothers and my sisters, He not only saves us from our sins but He saves us for a reason. This salvation image in the death and resurrection of Jesus leads the apostle Paul to exclaim to us in Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright Godly lives in this present age so that we’ll receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His salvation gives us a right to the tree of life. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift of salvation in the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Amen. Amen. Amen.