The Wonder of His NameSavior
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks,"What does salvation mean?"
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think that we tend to reduce or diminish what it means to be saved and to have a Savior. We think of it so often, in our evangelical circles, as a moment in time when we made some kind of profession or some kind of decision, or we truly placed our faith in Jesus and we were saved from Hell. “Now, I’m saved. Once saved, always saved, and now I’ll just go on with the rest of my life, and I don’t think about it anymore.”
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 1.
Nancy’s continuing in the series, “The Wonder of His Name.” It’s a study of thirty-two names of Jesus. Today’s name is very personal and important to each of us. To see the video version of this teaching, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.
Here’s Nancy exploring the name, “Savior.”
Nancy: One of the things I love about this book, God’s Word, is that there are themes that go all the way through the Scripture. As you’re reading—Old Testament, New Testament, History books, Poetic books, Prophetic books, Gospels, the Epistles, the Apocalyptic Book of Revelation—as you’re reading these different books and genres and parts of the Scripture (I hope you don’t just stick to one part; I hope you read it all) I hope you’re making connections.
I hope you’re seeing how the story, the drama of redemption follows from Genesis the first chapter, to the last chapter of Revelation. If I had to reduce the Bible to one major theme, it would probably be the theme of salvation. Salvation—you see it woven all the way through the Scripture, and I want to talk about that today.
The fact that we need salvation is because there is sin in the world. There is sin in our hearts. Throughout the Scripture you see:
- When people sin, God brings discipline.
- Sin has consequences.
- When people get really miserable and uncomfortable with those consequences, they experience bondage and oppression.
- They get miserable enough that they cry out to the Lord.
- Then the Lord sends deliverance . . . He sends salvation.
You see this theme in the book of Judges. It’s a great Old Testament picture of the gospel of the saving work of God. Let me read to you just a paragraph from Judges chapter 2. Listen to God’s saving grace here.
The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. [There’s sin.] And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt . . . So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them (vv. 11, 14).
So, here’s the discipline. Now, they didn’t see God’s hand doing this, but as we read it, we know it wasn’t the enemy nations who ultimately were behind these disasters. It was God, who was bringing discipline to bear on His wayward people.
[God] sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies . . . And they were in terrible distress (vv. 14–15).
Listen, if you’ve sinned and you end up in distress, thank God, because the distress may be the very thing that draws you and drives you to Christ, as Savior in your life.
So, they were in terrible distress, then, verse 16,
Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them . . . Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them (vv. 16, 18).
God sends these delivers to save His people. The Old Testament Hebrew word for “to save,” is the word yashah. It means "to be saved, to be delivered, liberated." Sometimes it refers to military victories, to be saved in battle. The word yashah is related to the Old Testament name, Joshua, which means “Jehovah saves.”
We learned earlier in this series that “Jesus” is the Greek form of that Hebrew name, Joshua. Jesus, who saves His people from their sins—yashah—God saved His people. Salvation is the greatest need of the human heart. We think we have lots of needs, and we do, but the greatest need is for salvation.
The greatest need of the human race is salvation. That salvation, we learn throughout the Scripture, is found in God and God alone. Listen to some of these verses from the book of Isaiah: “I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. . . . There is no god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me” (43:11; 45:21).
Then in Hosea chapter 13: “I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior” (v. 4). Get that into your head, get that in your heart, get it in your whole system, to remember—there is no savior besides God. There is nothing and no one who can save us, who can meet the deepest need of our heart, beside God.
When you listen to all the political and news commentary, and you hear people say, “What’s needed in this day is this . . .” and “What’s needed in this day is this . . .” and “What’s needed to address this . . .” No. The greatest need of the human heart and the human race is for salvation, and that comes from God alone.
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted: “He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them” (19:20). So for hundreds of years, for millennia, the people waited, they longed, they groaned—in desperate need of a Savior. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, the fact is, all of mankind has been in desperate need of deliverance, of salvation. We’ve desperately needed a Savior.
That Savior had to be both divine and human. We’ll see those reasons as we continue today, but that means it takes a great Savior to save us from our sins. Scripture says that, by nature, we were children of disobedience. (That’s a term you find in the book of Ephesians.) That was our genetic makeup, our DNA.
It wasn’t just that we disobeyed, we were the children of disobedience. We were the product of disobedience. That’s who we were. We were children of wrath. Scripture says we had no hope.
- We were without God.
- We were far off.
- We were ungodly.
- We were weak.
- We were enemies of God.
- We were slaves of sin.
- We were dead in trespasses and sins.
I like what John Piper says about that, “We weren’t just in the doghouse with God. We . . . were in the morgue!”
We were dead in trespasses and sins. What a horrible condition! I was saved at the age of four, but all of those things described what was true of my life until the point I looked to Christ and called upon His Name, and trusted Him to save me. I was all those things.
I was an enemy of God; I was a child of wrath; I had no hope; I was dead in trespasses and sins—and so were you. And so are some of you in this room today. That’s still your genetic makeup. That’s still your DNA. My prayer is that, by the end of this day, you will come to place your faith in Jesus Christ and be given a new life.
So then we come to the end of the Old Testament, where we have mankind hopelessly mired in his sin and sinfulness. We see a curse at the end of the Old Testament because of mankind’s sinfulness, and then we have silence . . . for four hundred years . . . despair, darkness, hopelessness, desperate need and longing for a Savior.
Then we open the pages of the New Testament, and we start to see light and salvation come through its pages. We hear Mary of Nazareth praying in Luke chapter 1, and she says, “My soul rejoices in God my Savior.” We see Jesus born and His Name given as a testimony to His mission, as the angel says to Joseph (His adoptive father), “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
This is good news! This is great news! This is the gospel. And then we hear angels come to shepherds on a hillside, that evening when they say, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). I love that Name, Savior, and it’s the Name we want to look in the moments we have together today.
The Greek word in the New Testament for Savior means "a deliverer, a preserver." The verb form means “to save,” or “to heal,” or “to preserve,” or “to rescue.” Saving sinners is Jesus’ mission. That’s why He came to this earth; that’s why God sent Him to this earth.
Let me just read some of these verses to you from the New Testament (and if you go to ReviveOurHearts.com and look at the transcript of today’s program, you can see the references next to these verses, if you’d like to look them up):
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim. 1:15).
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).
Jesus’ saving work in our lives has different aspects to it. There is a past, and a present, and a future aspect to the salvation we receive from Jesus our Savior. There is a sense in which, if you have put your faith in Him, He has saved you, past tense. He has saved you from the penalty of sin. “By grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8).
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Tit. 3:4–6).
It’s a Savior who saves. You can’t be saved without a Savior. So we have that past tense sense of salvation. In theological terms we call it "justification"—declared righteous in God’s sight, because of the price Jesus paid for us on the cross.
There’s another sense in which our Savior is saving us right now, a present tense salvation. He is saving us from the power of sin. We call that in theological terms "sanctification." It’s an ongoing process. It continues from the point of justification until the day we see Jesus and we enter into what is called "glorification."
This present tense salvation, 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "The cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
The cross is the power of God. So when someone says to you, “When were you saved?” hopefully you can tell them at least a series of circumstances or a season in your life when you came to saving faith in Christ.
Hopefully you can tell them, “I’m still being saved. He’s delivering me, He’s rescuing me from the power of sin, indwelling sin, in my life.” First Corinthians 15:1–2 says, “I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received [past tense] . . . and by which you are being saved.” [present tense]
It took Jesus’ saving work on the cross to justify you (past tense), and it still takes, today, Jesus’ saving work on the cross to sanctify you and me, to deliver us from our sinful flesh and sinful habit patterns. He is saving us. 2 Corinthians 2:15, “We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
- There is past tense, justification (we were saved).
- There is present tense, sanctification (we are being saved).
- Then there’s a tense yet to come, a future salvation when we’ll be saved—praise God—from the very presence of sin. Our Savior will return. We will be glorified . . . like Him . . . that state of glorification.
We read in Romans 5, “Having now been justified [past tense] by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him” (v. 9 NASB). There’s a future sense to our salvation. Philippians 3, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (vv. 21–22).
Now, all this talk of salvation raises a really important question: What does Jesus save us from? Because, if you don’t know what He saves us from, and what we need to be saved from, then you will never run to Him to save you. You won’t love and embrace Him as your Savior if you don’t know that you have any need to be saved.
The home that our family grew up in burned in a fire the night before my sophomore year of high school. We had all kinds of rescue workers come to save us from the fire. I have a sister who jumped out of a second-story window into the arms, or net, or whatever it was, of firemen who were down below to catch her. Others were rescued by firemen by means of going down a ladder. Some of us had the privilege of just walking out of the house . . . but there was a fire.
There was something we needed to be saved from. We would not have been particularly grateful for those firemen if they had shown up with their trucks and their sirens clanging in the middle of the night if there was no fire. If there was nothing to be saved from, we might even be annoyed by those firemen.
But we were really, really grateful for those fireman, because we knew there was a fire from which we needed to be saved. What does Jesus save us from? The Scripture says He saves us from the wrath of God, from divine judgment. First Thessalonians says, “Jesus . . . delivers us from the wrath to come. . . . For God has not destined us [those of us who believe in Christ] for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:10, 5:9).
Listen, you will have one or the other. You will have salvation through Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, or you will experience the eternal wrath and judgment of a holy God because of your sin. You’ll have salvation or wrath. There’s so little teaching today on hell, on judgment—on the holiness and the wrath of God. As a result, we’ve presented a false God, and people have no sense of danger—no sense of needing to be saved from anything.
The fact is, we deserve the wrath of God for our sin. We deserve to be damned eternally, and if He does not save us, we must bear our own judgment. Either you trust that He bore your judgment for you, or you will bear your own judgment for all of eternity. Jesus saves us from the wrath of God.
He saves us from sin; He saves us from its penalty, it’s wages. The wages of sin is death. 2 Timothy tells us we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death. How did He do that? By paying the penalty in His own death for our sins. He delivers us from the penalty of sin, He is delivering us from the power of sin, and one day He will save us forever from the presence of sin.
He saves us from darkness. Colossians 1:13 tells us, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” I think that we tend to reduce or diminish what it means to be saved and to have a Savior. We think of it so often, in our evangelical circles, as a moment in time, when we made some kind of profession or some kind of decision, or we truly placed our faith in Jesus and we were saved from Hell.
“Now, I’m saved. Once saved, always saved, and now I’ll just go on with the rest of my life and I don’t think about it anymore.” What a travesty! We miss the grand sweep—the depth, the breadth, the length, the height, the width, the full extent of God’s amazing salvation. We forget that He came to save us, every part of us, from all the consequences of the Fall.
Jesus came, our Savior came, to melt our hard hearts, to give us the gift of repentance, to take away our love of sinning. Now, wouldn’t that be salvation? . . . to not want to sin anymore. Do you know that one day that will be true? We will have no desire to sin anymore!
“Come, Lord Jesus, save me. I need it!” He came to preserve us, to save us from ourselves and, ultimately, to deliver us from all evil, and from the Evil One, and to take us to Heaven to live in sweet fellowship with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever and ever. What a grand salvation!
So, two questions I want to ask you today: First, have you ever recognized and acknowledged your need to be saved? You can’t be saved if you don’t know that you need to be saved. If you don’t think you’re drowning, you won’t appreciate a rescuer. If you don’t think there’s a fire, you’re not going to appreciate a fireman coming to save you.
If you don’t know that you’re a sinner, not just that you do sinful things, but that your DNA is wickedly sinful—that you have rebelled against God and His law. If you don’t know that you’re a sinner . . . if you’ve never known that, you’ve never come under conviction of being deeply sinful, then you will not love a Savior or trust Him to save you. Have you ever acknowledged your need to be saved?
Secondly, who or what are you trusting, today, to save you? Jesus is not just a Savior, He’s not just my Savior—though He is that—He is the Savior of the world. That’s a foundational tenet of “Christianity 101.” There is salvation in no one else, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
There is no other Savior, no other religion, no other means of salvation, and you cannot and will not ever be saved by looking to anyone or anything or anywhere else, other than Christ, for deliverance. If you look to yourself, if you look to others, if you look to other religions for your salvation . . . if that’s what you’re trusting . . . you cannot be saved.
If people can be saved through any other religious system, popular as it may be, then Jesus is not the Savior. If He is the Savior, then there is no other way to be saved. Nothing and no one else can save you . . . parents, their faith . . . friends, their faith . . . a counselor . . . your pastor . . . religion . . . good works. Our best works are filthy in the sight of a holy God because they come from sinful hearts.
Philosophy can’t save you, ethics can’t save you, being baptized doesn’t save you, Christian parents, biblical knowledge . . . none of those things can provide the rescue and the deliverance that we desperately need from sin. So, who or what are you trusting—today—to save you for all of eternity?
Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus is “able to save to the uttermost.” That means completely, fully, every part of us, forever, for all time and eternity. You may wonder, as you think about the things that you’ve done in your past, Could He really save me? He is mighty to save. He is able to save to the uttermost.
You may wonder that about someone you love. You may wonder, Could God really reach and penetrate and soften and save them? I want to tell you that Jesus can save the most resistant, hard-hearted sinner, by the power of His Holy Spirit. So if you’re praying for a mate, praying for a child, praying for a friend who doesn’t know the Savior, remember that He is able to save, He is mighty to save, and don’t give up praying.
He was sent to save; He is able to save; He is willing to save; He is mighty to save. Do you need to be saved today? Could I say, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Call out to Him, just from you heart right now.
Say, "Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner. I cannot save myself. I no longer want to rely on my own works, my own efforts, my own past (whatever it is you’ve been relying on). I cast myself wholly upon You, because You took my place, You died my death, You are the Savior of the world, and today I trust you as my Savior."
John Newton, whom you know as the writer of the great hymn "Amazing Grace," rejected the faith he had learned from his godly mother. He lived a wild and reckless life. He ended up involved with the slave trade (he was the captain of slave trading ships), and became a slave himself at one point, which was part of what God used to bring him to see his need for a rescuer.
At the age of twenty-three, with his life wrecked, God began to draw John Newton’s heart to Christ, the Savior, and eventually Newton became a devoted follower of Christ. He became a pastor, hymnwriter, an ally of William Wilberforce in seeking to abolish the slave trade.
In the last two or three years of his life, his health was failing, but he never ceased to be amazed—all those decades later—at God’s mercy and grace that had so dramatically transformed his life. At the age of eighty-two, near the end of his life, he told his friends, “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.” Hallelujah. What a Savior! Amen.
Leslie: When you say Jesus is your Savior, you’re saying something truly profound. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us why this name of Jesus matters so much. She’ll be right back.
Maybe you have never truly acknowledged Jesus as your Savior. But as you’ve listened, the Lord is drawing you to Him. We’d like to send you some free information about what it means to come to faith in Christ and know God personally. Ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959.
The names of Jesus are packed with meaning. We’ve been discovering that during the teaching series, “The Wonder of His Name.” This isn’t just about knowing more about Jesus—not just learning interesting facts about His names. This series is about getting to know Jesus Himself.
If you’ve missed any of the programs in the series so far, you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Once you’re there you have some options. You can listen to the audio, read the daily transcript, and you can see a video from each teaching session.
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