Friday, June 11, 2010

He will Save His People from their Sins

“He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)

An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to declare to Joseph the truth about the child conceived by the Holy Spirit to Mary. This was not some idea about Mary’s child but definite truth about the child. We find out about this child from the prophet Isaiah when he says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us)” (7:14). Mary was giving birth to God in the flesh the One who was said of the angel: “He will save his people from their sins.”

In Matthew 1 we read the true Christmas story. All of us ought to be aware that Christmas is about the birth of Christ not a fat man in a red suit handing out gifts. The real gift came to us in the birth of the Savior. Christmas is the birth of Jesus in human flesh. The God-man has come down to earth. In Philippians we read, “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (2:5-7). Christ humbled himself and took on humanity. He became a servant. Remember the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). This is not an ideal entrance of a king into the world. A suffering servant is not my idea of royalty. But this is exactly how God’s perfect plan played out. Immanuel humbly came as a servant to obey his Father’s will and die on our behalf.

The angel makes it clear that Jesus would save his people in a definite way. He might save his people from their sins? He could save his people from their sins? No! “He will save his people from their sins.” Jesus has a people that he was sent to rescue and the mission will be completed. On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished”, which means the sins of those he came to save, were sufficiently satisfied on the cross. The wrath we deserved he bore. The sins we ought to be punished for he took upon himself. This was the purpose of his birth: “He will save his people from their sins.” Christ’s atoning work on the cross was exactly what this angel had in mind when he made this declaration.

I hope you understand the eternal significance of this gift. Next time you receive a gift or give a gift remind yourself of the greatest gift ever given in Christ. We too often get excited about temporary gifts that fade off into the sunset. Use those temporary gifts as the shadows they are to see the great gift that Christ took upon himself on your behalf. The wrath we deserve is eternally gone in Christ. The sins we deserve to be punished for are eternally forgiven in Christ. Our filthy rags of righteousness are covered in the perfect righteousness of Christ. The hell we eternally deserve is no longer to be feared in Christ. The gift of eternally satisfaction is found alone in Christ. Jesus’ finished what he came to accomplish which is why the angel said definitively at his birth: “He will save his people from their sins.”

Grace upon grace,

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