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"And thou shalt call his name JESUS for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21).

A word can be so familiar that it never gets explained. Many hear the word "salvation" or "saved" who do not really understand it.

The Need

Our text tells us what Christ saves his people from; "their sins". The non-Christian has the problem of the guilt of past sin, his addiction to sin in the present and the effects of sin in the future.

The Remedy

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He came to seek and to save that which was t lost. He bore the punishment of sin in the place of sinners. He paid the price. He accomplished redemption.

The Remedy Applied

What Christ did on the cross for sinners is applied to individuals.

First, the guilt of sin. When a sinner trusts in Christ, alt his guilt is taken away. God declares him 'not guilty'. We have seen before that the Bible calls this 'justification’. The justified man is delivered from the Hell he deserved and has a title to a place in Heaven through Christ. This removal of guilt is the basis and guarantee of all that follows. The word "saved" is usually used among us today in this sense of initial conversion to Christ, and the scriptures often use it in that way too. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Second, the presence of sin in the heart and life. Deliverance from this begins at conversion, gradually progresses as a Christian goes on through life and is completed when the soul goes to heaven at death. An earlier article showed that the Bible calls this 'sanctification'. This is also part of Christ's salvation. This is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote "Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you to both will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

Third, the physical effects of sin. Physical death is universal only because sin is universal. "Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). Even the physical world was cursed because of man's sin (Gen 3:17-19). The salvation Christ gives includes the reversal of all this and more. Physical resurrection to glory and a new heaven and a new earth are all part of the inheritance of the people of God (Philippians 3:21, 2 Peter 3:13). This will complete salvation and so we read of the "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5; see also Hebrews 9:28). This takes place when Christ comes again.

The Guarantee

The believer enjoys fellowship with God because his sins are forgiven and he has the Holy Spirit in his heart. This enjoyment of God is called the "earnest" of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). An "earnest" is like the first instalment or deposit guaranteeing the full amount in due time.

Have you peace with God through Christ and the peace of God in your heart? Have you the deposit that guarantees all the rest of the blessings of salvation in Christ? Do you know whether you will be among that multitude of the glorified redeemed in Heaven who shall forever worship and ascribe "salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb" (Revelation 7:10)?