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“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." Matt. 1: 21.
The salvation of man from sin, and its fearful consequences, is the great object that God has in view in all the dispensations of His providence, and the revelations of His will that He has made to the world. As in the physical universe all things tend to one common centre, so in the kingdom of providence and grace, all things centre in one great object, to-wit: the salvation of man and his elevation to endless happiness. All the revelations and institutions of the old covenant pointed to Christ, and were designed to prepare the world for his reception. “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4: 4-5. “We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 1 John, 4: 14. Such was the great object of the mission of Christ.
The salvation of man from sin is an object worthy of God himself, and the plan of redemption is the
most glorious of all the revelations of the divine character. All nature speaks to us of the wisdom, power and goodness of God; but in Christ He is revealed as our Father, earnestly desiring the salvation of His children. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Hence the angel said to Joseph: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Let us notice :
I. The name given to our Saviour, “JESUS."
Different, beautiful, and expressive names, are given to the Redeemer of the world. The title in our text is found only in the New Testament. It does not occur in the Hebrew Scriptures. We meet with it "singly, one hundred and forty three times; Jesus Christ, seventy-four times; Lord Jesus, twenty-two times ; Lord Jesus Christ, twenty-eight times.” The phrase "Jesus Christ" occurs only four times in the Gospels. The word “Jesus” sometimes signifies doctrine. The inspired historian, speaking of the labors of Paul, at Athens, says: "He preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection.” Acts 17: 18. He preached unto them the doctrine of Jesus, concerning the plan of salvation and the resurrection of the dead. The name "Jesus”? is of the same import as Joshua, and signifies Saviour. It is given to Christ, because "He shall save His people from their sins." In connection with this, read the beautiful language of Paul, to the Corinthians : “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye, through His poverty, might be rich." 2 Cor. 8: 9. Through the medium of the prophet the Saviour said: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isa. 61: 1-3. . From this, we see with what propriety the name “Jesus” is given to Christ. He left the bosom of His Father, His throne in Heaven, and came into the world to redeem man from sin. Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men ; and, being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” Phil. 2: 6-8. This was all done for the salvation of
"With pitying eyes, the Prince of Grace,
Beheld our helpless grief;
He ran to our relief."
With joyful haste He fled,
And dwelt among the dead.”
And broke our iron chains;
From everlasting pains.”
Salvation implies deliverance. There can be no such thing as salvation without deliverance from danger of some kind. It necessarily implies that the subject of it was exposed to danger. The word salvation comes from the Latin "salvo, to save.”
Webster says that it means "the act of saving ; preservation from destruction, or great calamity.” Thus, when speaking of the miraculous passage of the children of Israel through the Red Sea, and their deliverance from the hands of Pharaoh, we say the Lord saved them. We mean by this, that He delivered them from destruction; for if the Lord had not thus opened the way for them to escape, they must have perished. This is what I understand by salvation. It is to save a man from danger. All Lexicons'testify that it is a deliverance from evils to which those saved were exposed. This, according to all good authority, is the correct meaning of the word salvation. I have been thus particular, because there are some who teach us that Christ does not save man from any of the consequences of sin; but that he must suffer all the punishment due to his sins.
The great question then is, what does Christ save man from? The text says, “He shall save His people from their sins.” That is, from the guilt, power, and punishment of sin. This must relate to sins that are past, for a man cannot be saved from sins he has never committed. He may be saved from the commission of sin, but this is a very different thing from being saved from sin itself. It is supposed by some that being saved from the commission of sin in the future is all that is meant in the text; but this cannot be its meaning, for it is affirmed that “He shall save His people from their sins.” Now, I ask, of what people is it true