Prophets and priests, popes and cardinals, imams and rabbis: the list is long containing the many titles and roles of the prominent teachers and representatives of varied world religions. However Jesus stands unique amidst all the confusion of the many alternatives on offer: He is the only Saviour for sinners.
In the first chapter of the New Testament Joseph is instructed to take Mary as his wife for “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). The very name “Jesus” means Saviour and this is the name by which the Son of God became most well-known in His humanity.
He came to Save Sinners
“For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56).
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
In both of these verses the Lord clearly contrasts His true purpose for coming with the destruction and condemnation of humanity. In Luke chapter 9 a village of Samaritans refused to welcome the Lord Jesus as He made His way to Jerusalem. Some of His disciples responded by asking Him, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” (v.54). The Lord rebuked them; He “did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (v.56). The souls of human beings are already endangered because of sin – we deserve judgment – but the Lord did not come to execute that punishment; He came to provide salvation.
In John chapter 3 the purpose of the Saviour is even more clearly expressed: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (vv.16-17)
The Son of God came into this world so that “the world through Him might be saved”. Many people regard God merely as a powerful Creator or as a fearful Judge. He is both of these things, but He is much more. He is a loving Saviour-God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). To provide salvation for the world it was necessary that the Son of God Himself should come to pay the price for it.
He did not come to judge the world,
He did not come to blame;
He did not only come to seek,
It was to save He came;
And when we call Him Saviour
We call Him by His name!
A Saviour for the world is needed because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We are all guilty of breaking God’s law and stand in danger of His judgment. We cannot save ourselves. The righteous punishment for our sin is greater than we can bear and the price is more than we can pay. For this reason “the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14) and this Saviour has borne the punishment and paid the price in full. He “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6). What we needed He alone could provide, and He did so at the cross.
No angel could His place have taken,
Highest of the high though he;
The loved One on the cross, forsaken,
Was one of the Godhead three.
To be saved is to be rescued from sin’s power in life and sin’s punishment in eternity. Just as a drowning man is rescued by relying upon another to carry him to the shore, so a perishing sinner is saved when he relies on Jesus Christ alone to do all the saving.
Are you saved? Please understand that salvation is a necessity for you because of your sin. Thankfully it is also a possibility for you because of God’s Son. In fact, it will be a certainty for you if you depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone to save you.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).