She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 (ESV)
This verse will be read and shared more over this Christmas weekend than at any other time of the year. But is anyone honestly considering the implications of this very clear statement?
Mary is plainly told that Jesus WILL save His people from their sins! His work would not be that of merely inviting people to accept Him out of some outflowing of freewill gratitude. No! Christ came to save His people, His elect, from their sin.
The Gospel is good news because Christ actually completed His work of redemption. There is nothing a sinner can do to add to the finished work of Christ: no goofy sinner’s prayer, not walking with head held low down an aisle after some emotional plea from a works preacher, not shaking a minister’s hand in front of a congregation, nothing! To trust in anything performed by man for assurance of salvation is to call into question the power of Christ to save His own!
Christ has saved His people! They come to believe this message as it is proclaimed by faithful preachers. We don’t put our faith in Christ for salvation. God puts faith in Christ in us! Faith is a gift of God procured for us by the work of Christ in the Gospel.
Do you truly know the Christ of Scripture? Has your Christ accomplished full redemption for His people or does He look still to you for your contribution to His saving work? Do you rest in His finished work or do you still seek to please God by the works of your sinning hands?
This season, while everyone fusses over the babe Christ in the manger, consider what the Christ of Calvary actually accomplished by His death, burial, and resurrection. Was His work enough to satisfy God on account of His people? Or does God still require our works as well?
Repent of dead works and turn toward the living God who sent Christ to actually save His people from their sins!
Any so-called Gospel which doesn’t present Christ as having completed all He said He would do is a painted-up graveyard full of dead men’s bones.
Jason K. Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.HorizonsBaptist.org.