The above words were spoken by an angel of the Lord to Joseph concerning Mary, his betrothed. Here is the full context from Matthew 1:18-21:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Emphasis mine)
Those 7 emphasized words, “he will save his people from their sins” perfectly describe the reason Christ came to this earth. If you are reading this, you might be asking yourself (and me) “What else is new?” After all, we who profess Christ know that Jesus died so that we who believe might have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus was crucified to make our salvation possible.
But is that all there is to this short passage? Is there a deeper meaning to these few words? Let’s break it down and see.
“He will save. . .”
This is the Christ child’s great business in this world. It is He who will save and He alone. This is an emphatic statement. He WILL save, not just make salvation possible. He will save perfectly and completely. Those whom Jesus grants eternal life will never perish (John 10:28). Jesus is God and God cannot fail in any of his purposes.
“He will save his people. . .”
Who are his people? In the first instance they are lost sheep of Israel. In the second instance, they are sheep not of the house of Israel that Jesus claimed were his. (John 10:16).
What are some characteristics of his sheep?
1. They are the ‘believing ones’ of John 3:16 – all those who believe Christ suffered the just punishment and wrath of God for their sins.
2. They were those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, chosen from the beginning for salvation and appointed unto salvation. (Eph 1; 2 Thess 2:13; Acts 13:48)
3. They are those given as a precious love gift to the Son and who will come to the Son when the Son calls them, never to be cast out (John 6:37, 38).
4. They are those who are unable to come to Christ on their own, but are drawn by the Father to the Son and whom the Son will raise up on the last day (John 6:44, 66).
5. They are those in whom God has begun a work and will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6; Rom 8:29, 30).
“He will save his people from their sins.”
This refers not only to the sins fallen men commit, but also the taint of what is called ‘original’ sin, the sin we are born with as a result of the of the sin of Adam, in whom we all sinned (Rom 5:12), and which makes us ‘by nature’ children of wrath (Eph 2).
This my friends, is why Christ came to this earth – to save his people from their sins. All the rest of what we do during the Christmas season pales in comparison.