“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
As we study the names of Jesus, we come to find that many of His titles are well known within Christendom. The titles “Lord” and “Messiah” are especially good examples of names that have long been held dear by the people of God.
Another example of a name that the church has emphasized when talking about Jesus is the name “Savior.” This is quite appropriate given the New Testament’s emphasis on Jesus as the Savior of His people (Matt. 1:21). Today’s verse, from the birth narrative in Luke’s Gospel, shows us that this title was used for Jesus from the moment of His birth to describe the nature of His work.
Although the name “Savior” is widely used, sometimes we are unsure of what exactly the term means. Obviously it means that Jesus saves people from something. The question remains, however: “Jesus saves people from what?”
The varied usages of this term throughout the Bible does not make the question easy to answer. Nehemiah 9:27, for example, tells us that God has sent many saviors to His people. In that context, however, the title refers more to a physical salvation, a protection from physical enemies, and not necessarily an eternal and spiritual salvation.
In an ultimate sense, Jesus does provide this physical salvation. He will renew all things when He finally brings in the new heavens and the new earth. We will receive new bodies and be freed from the presence of sin. We will be glorified.
Though Jesus’ work as Savior accomplishes all these things, the physical aspects of salvation will not be completely available to us until the renewal of all things. There is one important spiritual blessing, however, that is available to us now. We have already been saved from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9).
Therefore, when we say that Jesus is Savior, we are emphasizing that He saves us from the wrath of God. The book of Romans makes it clear that all human beings store up for themselves wrath from God against their sin. This wrath is stored up to be released against unrepentant sinners on the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5). But for those of us who have put our trust in Christ, we need not fear the wrath of God, for Jesus has saved us from that wrath (1 Thess. 1:9–10).
Too many people today think that God is not terribly concerned with sin and does not really get angry with His creation. But the book of Romans makes it clear that God’s wrath will be poured out upon unrepentant sinners. However, Jesus has borne this wrath in our place, and you are saved from it if you trust Him alone.
Passages for Further Study
- Isa. 45:22–23
- Hos. 13:4 1
- Tim. 1:15 1
- John 4:14
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