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“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
The promise here given is that the Lord Jesus Christ “shall save his people from their sins.” Who are his people? Who are these people specifically designated “his people,” whom he came into this world specifically to save?
Already His People
Obviously, his people were his people long before he came here to save them. The angel said to Joseph, “He shall save his people from their sins.” He did not say, “He shall save those who shall be his people.” Whoever his people are, they were his people before he saved them; and they were his people before he came to save them. They were his people from eternity (Psalm 110:3; John 6:39; 10:16).
Not All People are His People
Almost everyone presumes that Christ came here to save everybody. Lost preachers everywhere love to please their lost hearers and tell them exactly what they are hired to tell them: — “God loves you.” — “Jesus died for you.” — “The Lord wants to save you.” — “But the decision is yours.”
That is not what we read in Matthew 1:21. That is not the doctrine of our Holy Scripture. If Christ came to save everyone in the world, if he died for everyone, where is the love of God? If Christ died to redeem and save all men, if he loves all, then his love is meaningless. — Where is the justice of God? If Christ died for all and some yet perish under the wrath of God, the justice of God falls to the ground, for he punishes sin both in the sinner and in his Son. — Where is the immutability of God? If he gave his Son to die for all because of his great love for them, and then sends many to hell, his love changes to wrath. — Where is the divinity of Christ? If he tries to save any he fails to save, he cannot be God.
What does the Word of God say? That alone is our standard. If a man does not speak according to the words of the Book, it is because there is no light in him. To teach that Christ came to save those who are lost at last in hell as well as those who are saved is to deny the very deity of Christ. He is not and cannot be God; he is not and cannot be our Savor, if he fails to do what he came to do, if people whom he loves now can become the objects of his wrath later, if his blood does not fully satisfy the justice of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to save all people everywhere. He came to save his people everywhere, his distinct, peculiar, chosen people. Who are his people? They are his seed (Psalm 22:30; Isaiah 53:10-12), his sheep (John 10:11, 15, 26), his chosen bride (Ephesians 5:25-27), his elect (Ephesians 1:3-6), all who trust him (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
Who are his people? They are those people whom God the Father chose in Christ before the world began, whom he loved with an everlasting love, whom he predestinated unto the adoption of sons from eternity by Jesus Christ to himself, to the praise of the glory of his grace, according to the good pleasure of his own will (Romans 8:28-31).