She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.
– Matthew 1:21
‘Tis the Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But not just because the kids will be jingle belling. I love this time of year because Christians use it to reflect upon the beauty and wonder of God becoming man. The parties for hosting and marshmallows for roasting and caroling out in the snow are all a fine part of the season too but really aren’t even worth mentioning in the same breath when we grasp the reality of Matthew 1:21.
‘Tis the season to consider the true meaning of Christmas. And I’m not talking about another Hallmark Channel movie telling us about love and kindness and all that. I mean something more. Christmas is a promise.
The Promise of Christmas
Christmas is a promise. He will save His people from their sins.
He. None but Jesus can do this. It is Christ alone who is our only suitable and all-sufficient Savior. Not your good works. There is no other mediator. Salvation is found in Christ alone. And the good news of this text is that He is a most willing savior. He will save. Jesus will save His people from their sins.
Not might. Not potentially. Will. You can take that promise to the bank. He will save His people.
Not just the Jews — for many have died without Christ. Not every single individual in the world — for many have and will die without Christ as well. If this verse meant Jesus ‘will save’ every person then guess what? He failed. And Jesus can’t fail. He will save His people.
He just might save you.
The People of Christmas
“But I don’t know if I’m one of ‘His people’!” You are if you will come to Him in faith. Those are God’s people. Christmas is for whoever will lay hold of the truths of the gospel by faith.
Those who in response to His grace alone come to Christ for salvation are His people. We are never told in Scripture to crawl into the mind of God and discern whether or not we are ‘His people’. What are we told to do? Repent and Believe the gospel. Across the top of the gate it says ‘whosoever will may come’ (Revelation 22:17, Romans 10:13) and if you will go through it and turn around it says ‘chosen before the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:30).*
So, here is a Christmas gift for you: If you’re willing, come to Jesus and be saved from your sins. He will save His people from their sins. Jesus didn’t just come to save us from our ‘sin,’ but our sins. I think we can pull the full scope of redemption from this text.
The Power of Christmas
Have you ever considered what it means to be saved from our sins? Suppose you are willing today and come to Christ in faith. What does being saved from your sins actually entail?
To be saved from our sins is to be:
Released from Guilt –
We are saved from the penalty of sin.
God’s wrath righteously stands against all mankind because of our rebellion against Him. We are guilty before Him in Adam and for every way that we have not honored Him as God. We have broken God’s Holy Law in more ways than we can even imagine. We’ve done what God has said not to do. And we’ve not done all that He’s said to do. We’ve treated God as though He doesn’t exist. We break His Law and laugh about it. We act like Judgment isn’t even coming. We have truly dishonored His holy name and deserve His justice.
But hear the glorious news of this gospel: Through the blood of Jesus, we are released from guilt! By faith in Christ, we are saved from the penalty of sin. We are declared just in the sight of God based on the merit of Jesus alone.
For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is now no more Condemnation! (Romans 8:1)
You can actually be set free from your guilt. Guilt is big business these days. Drug and alcohol abuse is often a result of trying to suppress guilt. You can pay a psychologist big money to tell you ways to get rid of your guilt. Society tries to normalize deviant behaviors such as homosexuality so that we can alleviate our guilt. You may even be buying gifts this year so you can make up for past sins! But the reality is, none of those things will every truly release us from our guilt.
Any alleviation of guilt apart from Christ is only temporary. The problem isn’t that you feel guilty. The problem is that you are guilty and if nothing is done about that guilty, you will meet God one day, and He will judge you justly. But the Christmas gift I’m telling you about truly releases us from our guilt. You can be transferred from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son. You can be set free from the penalty of sin.
No more shame for your sins. Christ has paid for them in full. This promise is for you, and anyone else, who will come to Him in faith, trusting in these promises. Don’t just know the facts, but come to Christ in faith. As Spurgeon said, “It will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour; but it will save me to trust Him to be my Saviour.”
Come to this fountain so rich and sweet,
Cast thy poor soul at the Savior’s feet;
Plunge in today, and be made complete; Glory to His Name!
To be saved from our sins is to be:
Reconciled to God –
We are saved from the partition of sin.
We were made by God for God. We were made to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. And yet, our sin has made a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2). In our lost state we are separated from Him and to die in that state means we will righteously suffer His wrath for all eternity in hell.
But this text promises Jesus will save His people from their sins. Do you know what this means? Believers have peace with God. You can too.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
Jesus saves us from the dividing wall of sin. Believers were once alienated from God, but have been brought near by the blood of Jesus. The war is over between Christians and God. This is the only way to have true peace.
The perfect Christmas family tradition won’t bring you lasting peace. The moment of happiness you get when seeing a child smile on Christmas morning will eventually fade. The only rest for your weary soul is found in Christ. If you will trust Him today, He will save you from your sins and you will be reconciled to God. You can know Him today in faith.
To be saved from our sins is to be released from guilt, reconciled to God, and:
Reoriented to Godliness –
We are saved from the power of sin.
Believers were once orientated toward all manner of unrighteousness. But, now, through Jesus, we have been rescued not just from the penalty of sin, but also the power of it! In our day we have many people who claim that Jesus has saved them from their sins and yet they are living in those sins as though Christ has not liberated them.
Do you know the truth? For many in our culture, they have not been saved from their sins. Their life is not reoriented to one of godliness. Their heart is full of the love of the world. They love the prestige and popularity of men. Sure, they may dabble in religion from time to time. They may even faithfully come to church every Sunday.
But they do not love Christ. Their heart is not set on the things above. There is no hunger and thirsting after righteousness. There is no plucking of the eye or cutting off the arm of the flesh. There is no real seeking of deeper communion with Christ in their life at all. They don’t truly love God’s people. And yet, they will say, ‘I was saved from my sins when I was 12 years old.’ Not if you love to live in your sins you weren’t.
Jesus is an all-sufficient Savior. He saves to the uttermost. J.C. Ryle elaborates:
“The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require: not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them.”
Did you know that Christianity is not just about preparing to die? It’s also about living. Sooo many think they have Jesus in their lives but I can tell you from this text that it’s not this particular Jesus who is in their lives. How do I know? Because this particular Jesus came to save His people from their sins (see also Titus 2:14 – – Heb. 12:14 – – Eph. 2:10 – – 1 Peter 2:24).
A life that is not reoriented to godliness has not been saved from sins. Christmas actually serves as an important reminder about the holiness of God’s people, doesn’t it? Christ came to save his people from their sins! Not just ‘sin’ in the abstract, but real sins.
This is the gift: You can actually be saved from your sins. Pride, and lust, and anger, and greed, and jealousy. Come to Him. You don’t have to continually succumb to your law-breaking if you will but come. Now, it’s not “stop sinning” and then come. It’s come and find in Jesus a savior who is able to rescue you from the penalty, partition, and power of sin.
Sin is enslavement. Those who appear to be having the hap-happiest season of all, are really only numbing the reality that they are trapped. Yes, they love their sin, but this doesn’t take away from the truth that their sin is a terrible master. Christians have been given a new master: Christ. And how wonderful, patient, good, and loving a master this Jesus is. He saves us from the power of sin.
But wait. There’s more!
Finally, to be saved from our sins is to be:
Received into Glory
We are saved from the presence of sin.
The truth is that as long as Christians live in this world we will struggle with remaining sin. Yes, Jesus does rescue us from its power, but the fight against it never ends until Christ calls us home. The fact that Jesus saves us from our sins means that we can be assured of a day in the future where we will be fully and finally free from the actual presence of all sin. Not in this life. But in the life to come, which is forever and ever.
All of Christ’s people, all those who have trusted Christ and are thus following Him will be received into glory. There is a day coming where those who’ve come to Christ (as perhaps you are considering doing even now) will no longer have to fight sin because we will be fully and finally free from every ounce of it.
A wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!
How astounding is this gospel. Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, was the righteous God-Man in every way, He bore our sin to Calvary and was crucified on that old rugged cross. He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. The Son of God became Son of Man on a particular mission to provide our greatest need, namely the rescue from sins…
The greatest need that you have, is the same need that you can do nothing about. And yet, the wonderful news of Christmas is that God did something about it.
So, I wonder, what will you do with this Jesus? Don’t just give Him a hat tip. Don’t just ‘include’ Him in your celebrations this Christmas. Come to Him as your only suitable and all-sufficient Savior. Don’t just believe He is “a savior.” Trust Him as your Savior. Repent of your lawless deeds, and close with Christ today.
You’ll see this time of year in a whole new light.
You will be saved from your sins.
*An illustration from Spurgeon
 Ryle, J.C. Holiness (Faverdale, England 1979), 16.