The Import of the Name of Jesus
Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his peoplt from their sins. - Matthew, i:21.
This language is extracted from a communication made to Joseph before the birth of the Messiah. A name was to be given to the Redeemer, deriving its significancy from the work he was to perform. He saves, and is, on this account, called Jesus - Savior. Endearing, glorious name! None more precious on earth or in Heaven.
The Jews believed that the Messiah, when he came, would save them from their subjection to the Romans, raise them up from their national inferiority and degradation, and exalt them to the summit of worldly glory. They supposed he would establish a secular kingdom, and preside over it in all the splendor of earthly majesty. They looked forward to the time of his coming as the period when the descendants of Abraham would be saved from all their enemies, etc.
Many persons now have views of the salvation of the Messiah, almost as erroneous as those entertained by the Jews. Are there not those everywhere who think of Christ only as a Savior
from hell? They regard him as a Savior from the consequences of sin. He saves from sin itself. All other parts of the work of salvation grow out of this.
I. Jesus Saves From Sin.
This proposition I will aim to illustrate.
1. He, saves from the condemnation of sin. - Condemnation is induced by sin, for sin is the transgression of the law. The violation of God's law is the original basis of man's condemnation. His abuse of the glorious gospel greatly enhances the condemnation, but it is not the foundation of it, for the very good reason that there would have been no gospel if man had not first been condemned by the law. The gospel tells man how he may obtain deliverance from the condemnation of the law, and, therefore, it follows that the law condemns before the gospel makes its disclosure of mercy. Man's condemnation is just. This might be shown in several ways. It is, however, sufficient to state one fact. Salvation is of grace. Then the condemnation of the law is just, otherwise there would be no grace in deliverance from that condemnation. If man were unjustly condemned, he might demand deliverance as a matter of debt, and not of grace, etc.
Jesus saves from the condemnation of sin. How? As man's ruin was brought on him by a violation of God's law, his salvation must be effected in a manner consistent with the honor,
the dignity, and the majesty of the law. Hence, Jesus was "made under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law." By his obedience and death, the law was so "magnified and made honorable," that its sentence of condemnation can be remitted, and is remitted in the case of every one who trusts in his name.
"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. "Faith so unites those who exercise it to Christ, that they share savingly in the benefits of his atonement. The benefits are theirs as certainly as if they themselves had made the atonement. Faith makes them one with Christ. Faith is the pivot on which turns our deliverance from condemnation. This deliverance is effected by no external act - it is not optional with priests or ministers whether it shall take place. "By him (the Savior referred to in the text) all that believe are justified from all things," etc.
2. Jesus saves from the love of sin. - This is an essential part of salvation - it involves a change of heart. The natural heart loves sin; when changed it hates it. The hatred originates in the process of repentance and regeneration. The sinner is sorry for the sins he hates, and hates the sins he is sorry for. There is in regeneration such a change in the affections of the soul, as induces a decided hatred of sin, a cordial love of holiness, and supreme love to God. Salvation from the love of sin, furnishes the moral preparation to enjoy God and Heaven. Without this,
the legal preparation which the deliverance from the condemnation of sin supplies, would avail but little. There would be no relish for spiritual objects, and no appreciation of the "fullness of joy" at God's right hand. Sin has to do chiefly with the heart - it is the heart which hates and loves - and, therefore, we can not conceive how Jesus could save us from our sins, without saving us from the love of sin. This enters necessarily into the work of salvation, etc.
3. Jesus saves from the practice of sin. - The heart controls the life. The principles lodged in the heart determine the manner of the life. Salvation from the love, involves salvation from the practice of sin. Holiness of life follows holiness of heart. "Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good." The same "grace of God which brings salvation," teaches us that, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." The object of the Redeemer's death is not accomplished, in his disciples, till they are "purified unto himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works." These good works are evidences of salvation from the condemnation of sin. The Gospel does not, can not tolerate an Antinomian disparagement of the importance of practical piety.
4. Jesus so saves his people from the consequences of sin, that those consequences are suffered to do them no real injury. - Among these consequences may be considered suffering death, imprisonment
in the grave, etc. Suffering is sanctified. "We are expressly told that God chastens us for our profit, and, though the chastisement is a consequence of sin, it does no injury, for the chastisement is advantageous, etc. Death inflicts no real injury on the people of God. On the other hand, it is a great blessing. It dislodges the spirit from its tenement of clay, and bids it soar upward. The stroke of mortality, which sends the believer's body to the grave, sends his soul to paradise. Its imprisonment of the grave, is, for a time, a degradation, an injury of the body; but the degradation and injury will be triumphantly repaired by the resurrection, etc.
II. The Scripture Proof that we are Christians Consists in our Being Saved from Sin.
Nothing is to be relied on in the absence of this evidence. Men may imagine that their names are written in the Book of Life; that they hear voices, see visions, and have miraculous impressions; but if they are not saved from their sins, their belief that they are Christians is utterly gratuitous. If the name of Jesus, and the nature of his mediatorial work, imply that he saves from sin, how can those, who are under the dominion of sin, rationally conclude that they are the subjects of his salvation? Such a conclusion would be absurd.
I ask you, my hearers, have you been saved from the condemnation of sin? from the love of sin? from the practice of sin? If so, you will
suffer no real injury from the consequences of sin.
1. How grateful should we be that a Savior has been provided! Miserable would be our condition, if Christ had not come into the world to save sinners.
2. Let us receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior. Then shall we become sons of God and heirs of glory.
3. "Woe to those who are not saved from their sins in this life. There is no salvation from sin after death. The sinner, dying unsaved, will remain unsaved forever.
[From J. M. Pendleton, Short Sermons on Important Subjects, 1859. This book is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Wake Forest, NC via ILL through Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY. - Jim Duvall]
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