THE SON OF GOD OUR SAVIOR
There is one word in the Bible which in itself forms an entire library, one word which is the sum and substance of the entire Bible, one word which comprises all truth. That word is “Christ.” He is the uncreated, living, eternal Word, whom to know is life eternal.
When chosen, redeemed sinners are brought out of darkness into light by the irresistible, regenerating grace and power of God the Holy Spirit, when Christ is revealed in the chosen vessels of mercy, when they become savingly acquainted with the divine Word, they are “made wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (Tit. 3:15). As we are led by the Spirit in the life of faith, enabled by his grace to live upon, walk with, and rejoice in the glorious Person and finished salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are brought into what the Apostle Paul describes as - “All the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2-3).
Our Lord’s own statements with regard to this “mystery, of God,” the mystery of the perfect unity and oneness of the Persons in the eternal Godhead are crystal clear (John 10:30; 14:7-11). It is stated concisely, but emphatically, in 1 John 5:7. – “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” The Scriptures state these facts, too -- The revelation of the holy Trinity is found in Christ alone. Christ, and Christ alone, is the visible Jehovah. The invisible God is seen and known only in him who is “the image of the invisible God” (John 1:18; Col. 2:9).
Robert Hawker wrote, “Our most glorious Christ, being the only visible Jehovah, is the sole Executor, Administrator, and efficient Source of all the works and ways of God, as revealed to the church in all the departments of nature, providence, grace, and glory. And as his person is the only visible Jehovah, so his obedience is the only means of recovery from the Adam-fall and transgression” (Acts 4:12).
It is never written in Scripture that if a person believes in God, or if he believes in the Holy Spirit, he is saved. It is written throughout the Word of God, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). The fact is -- No one believes God and no one has the Spirit of God, except those sinners who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures as the Savior of his people. As the all glorious Christ is alone the embodiment and revelation of God, he is also the only Savior of sinners.
In Matthew 1:21 we have the words of the angel of the Lord to Joseph concerning the incarnation, birth, and work of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Why did Christ come?
It is reasonable for anyone who reads or hears that the Son of God assumed human flesh and came into the world as a man to want to know why. Why did the Son of God come into this world? The angel’s revelation to Joseph is unmistakable: -- God the Son came into this world for a specific purpose, to do a specific thing, on a specific mission. He came to save “his people from their sins.” This was the Father’s will which he came to perform (Heb. 10:5-14; John 6:39). This was the stipulation of the covenant which he came to fulfil (Heb. 13:20; Isa. 49:8). This was the commandment of God which he came to obey (John 10:16-18).
My mind is lost in wonder and admiration when I think of the fact of Christ’s coming into this world. Is it not astonishing to you that the Son of God would become the Son of Man, -- That he who created all things would become the woman’s Seed, -- That he who is Lord of all would take upon himself the form of a servant to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, -- That in the fulness of time he might die the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross in the place of guilty sinners? These things utterly astonish me. I say with Paul, “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh” (2 Cor. 8:9; 9:15).
Who is this Jesus?
You have heard about Jesus all your life. Perhaps you think, “Everyone knows who Jesus Christ is.” That is a mistake. The fact is, very few people in this world know who the Lord Jesus Christ is. The Christ that is worshipped in the average church is nothing but an idolatrous figment of man’s imagination, an idol, a false god carved from one of the trees in the dark forest of man’s depraved mind. Our Lord himself warned us of these days, saying, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” So when men come to you and say, “Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not” (Matt. 24:24, 23).
That makes this question very important -- Who is this Jesus? Who is the Christ of the Bible? We must know, trust, and worship this Christ, if I would know God and be accepted of him (John 17:3). If we trust a false Christ, no matter how sincere we are, we are lost, under the delusion of Satan. Allow me to show you from the Scriptures who this Jesus is, of whom it is written, “He shall same his people from their sins.”
This Jesus is the Son of God. When the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, it is declaring to us that Jesus Christ is God the eternal Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity (1 John 5:7), in every way equal with the Father and the Spirit. We who believe are the sons of God by adoption. Christ is the Son of God by nature. To say that he is the Son of God is to declare that this Man, whose name is Jesus, is himself God over all, blessed forever. He is not just a God, a likeness of God, or a creature of God. Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1-3). All the attributes of divinity belong to him. He is the Creator of all things, the Sustainer of all things, the Ruler of all things, and the Disposer of all things. Jesus Christ is the Revelation of God (John 1:18).
If Jesus Christ is not God, if he is anything less than almighty God, we have no Savior. He is an impostor, a fake, a charlatan. None but God could make atonement for our sins. That man who was born at Bethlehem, who died upon the cross, who rose again the third day, and now sits upon the throne of heaven is God (Col. 2:9).
This Jesus, who is God almighty, is the sinner’s Substitute. He is the Daysman, the Surety, the Representative, the Mediator, the Substitute by whose obedience sinners are reconciled to God, without whom we could never be accepted of God.
The key to understanding the Book of God is to understand the gospel doctrine of substitution. When I say that Jesus Christ is the sinner’s Substitute, I mean that he stood before God as the Substitute for his people before the world began as the Lamb slain (Rev. 13:8). He is our eternal Mediator in whom we were from everlasting blessed with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Surety of the everlasting covenant in whom God’s elect were given grace and salvation before time began (2 Tim. 1:9). He lived in obedience to God as our Substitute in this world to fulfil all righteousness on our behalf (Rom. 5:19). He died under the wrath of God as the Substitute in the place of his people upon the cross (Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21). He intercedes for us today as an advocate in heaven (1 John 2:1-2) as our Substitute before the throne of grace (! John 2:1-2). And he will stand before God in the last day as our Substitute at the bar of justice as the grounds of our eternal salvation (Jer. 23:6).
Be sure you understand this. If Jesus Christ is indeed God, (and he is!), then all that he has under taken to do as our Substitute must be effectually and completely accomplished by his own omnipotent arm. Those whom he came to redeem are redeemed. Those whom he undertook to justify are justified. All those whom he undertook to save must be saved. It is written, “He shall save his people from their sins.” “He shall not fail” (Isa. 42:4). This Jesus, the Christ of the Bible, who is almighty God, is the Savior of his people. Christ alone is our Savior. He is our complete salvation (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:10). This Christ is the effectual Savior of his people.
And this Jesus, who is God, in order that he might save his people, is the sovereign monarch of the universe (John 17:2). Without question, he is the Monarch of all things by virtue of his eternal Godhead. But he has been given this place of dominion as a man as the reward of his obedience to God as our Mediator (Acts 5:31; Rom. 14:9).
Do you understand who Jesus Christ is? He is the Son Of God. He is the sinner’s only, all-sufficient, effectual Substitute. He is the Savior of his people. The Lord Jesus Christ is the sovereign Monarch of the universe. If the Christ you worship is not this Christ, your Christ is a false Christ, nothing but the idolatrous figment of your imagination.
Who are his people?
Who are those people the Bible says Christ shall save? Those people he came to save were his people long before he came to save them. The angel said, “He shall save his people.” 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 (Psa. 110:3; John 10:16).
All men naturally think that Christ came to save everyone in the world. All men think that Christ died for everyone in the world. That is not the doctrine of the Scriptures. What does the Word of God say? This is our standard. If a man does not speak according to the words of Holy Scripture, it is because there is no light in him. Those who declare that Christ died to save everybody in the world do not have one ray of spiritual light in them. To teach such a doctrine is to deny the very deity of Christ.
I realize that many object to such dogmatism. Many who would not hesitate to say that those liberals are complete heretics who deny Christ’s incarnation, his virgin birth, his perfect holiness, his vicarious atonement, or his resurrection from the dead, object vehemently to saying the same thing about those who deny the glorious efficacy of his atonement. I make no apology for such a declaration. Christ’s sin-atoning work is the very heart of the gospel. To deny the efficacy of his sacrifice is to deny that he is God. He cannot be God if he fails to do what he came to do (Isa. 42:4), if his love can be changed to wrath (Mal. 3:6), if his blood does not fully satisfy divine justice and effectually redeem every sinner for whom it was shed (Isa. 53:9-12; Rom. 3:24-26; Heb. 9:12).
The Son of God did not come to save all people. He came to save his people, his peculiar people. Who are his people? They are his seed (Isa. 53:10-12). They are his sheep (John 10:11, 15, 26). They are his chosen Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:25-27). They are his elect (Eph. 1:3-7). His people are those whom God the Father chose in him before the foundation of the world, whom he loved with an everlasting love, whom he predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will (Rom. 8:28-31).
These are the people for whom the Son of God lived, died, and rose again. Those who teach that he came to save all men, that he lived, died, and rose again for all men blaspheme God in the doctrine they preach. Their doctrine makes the love of God a useless, helpless, fickle passion, the justice of God a mockery, the immutability of God a meaningless notion, and the will of God insignificant.
How does Christ save?
How does the Lord Jesus Christ save his people? Whoever his people are, they shall be saved from their sins. That fact cannot be disputed. It is Christ who saves us. We do not save ourselves, or contribute anything in the work of salvation (1 Cor. 4:7). But how does he do it? Here are three distinct and distinguishing works of grace by which Christ saves his people from their sins.
1. Redemption -- He has saved us from the penalty of our sins by the particular, effectual redemption of our souls from the curse of God’s holy law (2 Cor. 5:21). This is “how” Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3). He died in the room and stead of God’s elect as a voluntary, vicarious, victorious sin-atoning sacrifice (Heb. 10:5-14; Isa. 53:4-6; John 10:16-18; Heb. 1:1-3; 9:12, 26).
2. Regeneration -- Christ saves his people from the power of their sins by the power of his Spirit in sovereign, effectual regeneration (John 5;25; Eph. 2:1-4 Psa. 65:4). As he raised Lazarus from the dead, so he raises his people from spiritual death to spiritual life by the omnipotence of his saving grace (John 5:25). The Lord Jesus saves his people from their sins by making his people righteous before God. In justification the righteous obedience of Christ is imputed to us, just as our sins were imputed to him (2 Cor. 5:21). In sanctification his righteous nature is imparted to us (Gal 5:22-23; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:5-10).
3. Resurrection – The Son of God shall save his people from the presence and the consequences of their sins in the resurrection of the just (John 5:28; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). There shall be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust. The wicked shall be raised to suffer the consequences of their sins; but the righteous shall be raised to be forever freed from the consequences of sins.
Upon what grounds may a sinner have confidence that he is one of “his people”? There is one answer, and only one, to that question. If you trust the Christ of God as your only Lord and Savior, you are one of “his people”. He chose you. He redeemed you. He has called you and given you the gift of eternal life (1 John 5:9-13).