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Christ The Savior Is Born
© 12.23.18 D. Eric Williams

This article appeared in the December 27 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle

The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:11)

When Evangelicals speak of the Lord Jesus as Savior it is common to limit the reach of the salvation found in the Savior to the the saving of souls from hell. Salvation is often defined as forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternity. However, the Bible provides a more comprehensive understanding of salvation. Indeed, the Bible tells us our Savior is concerned with much more than just saving souls from hell.

The Old Testament term often translated as savior is yashaw. For instance, the prophet Hosea describes Yahweh as saying, I have been the LORD your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior (Hosea 13:4). In the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), yashaw is often translated by the verb form of the word sozo. Meanwhile, In Luke 2:11, the noun form of sozo is used to identify Jesus as Savior.

The New Testament applies the term savior to Jesus multiple times and provides (a limited) description of what the Savior does. For instance, he gives repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). Moreover, Jesus is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Also, He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News (2 Timothy 1:10). The New Testament likewise says, God generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:6). We are saved by faith and faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior (2 Peter 1:1). Finally, we escape the pollutions of the world though the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:20).

In the Old Testament we discover additional activities of the Savior. And yes, we have warrant for applying to Jesus the actions ascribed to the Savior in the Old Testament . As we affirmed last week …now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you (Galatians 3:29). Thus, the Savior delivers us from our enemies (1 Samuel 14:23, 22:3, Psalms 44:6-8, cf. Genesis 12:3, 22:17, Acts 26:17, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10). Indeed, he converts our enemies and makes them part of the family (Isaiah 60:16), so that they bring their wealth, resources, talents and abilities under the authority of Christ (Isaiah 2:3, 60:5, cf. Revelation 21:24). Truly, the Savior is the one who blesses us with health, provision, peace and prosperity (Genesis 12:1-3, 22:17-18, Deuteronomy 28:2-13, cf. Colossians 1:15-20, Galatians 3:29, Hebrews 1:2-3). In short, the salvation given by the Savior touches every aspect of life.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to consider the comprehensive nature of the salvation given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. The one who's birth was announced by angels; the one who was worshiped by shepherds and Magi alike; the one who offers forgiveness and reconciliation. He is the Savior who is reconciling the cosmos to God.


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