Jesus As Savior

We’re going through the New Testament with the goal of coming to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ve reached the epistles and we’re going through the book of Romans. One difference in the epistles is that you get spelled out a lot more the doctrines that aren’t explained in the gospels. If you want to understand the atonement, for instance, the gospesl show you event while the epistles tend to be the works that explain the event. There is some speaking of the doctrine in the gospels, but most of it is found in the epistles. Tonight, we’re in Romans 3 and we’ll be reading verses 21-26.

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

The righteousness of God is what saves us. That is found in Christ Jesus. So what does it mean to us to have Jesus as savior. How can this be? There are a number of truths we must believe before we come to him as savior.

First, we must believe he can forgive us, as was seen in Mark 2, but he can only forgive us if we have sinned against him. The priests in the Old Testament pronounced forgiveness but only with sacrifices present. Jesus pronounced forgiveness regardless. The Pharisees understood that only God can forgive sins. When we tell Jesus was have sinned and ask his forgiveness, we are assuming that he can grant it, a belief of deity.

Second, we believe that he is capable of bearing our sin. In saying this, we realize that he is not a sinner himself and lived a pure life set apart from sin. We also realize that he is not a mere mortal who died for our sins as a man could not cover the cost for every man.

We realize that he is the holy one of God as well. By trusting him, we are affirming all his claims including his resurrection. We are affirming the righteousness of God in his life. This is what substittionary atonement is. It is his life for ours.

We can imagine how a Jew would have seen this passage. A verse like Isaiah 45:21 would have come to mind.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LORD ?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.

Ultimately, we are implicitly recognizing Christ as deity when we call him savior. There is none that can do it besides God, and Jesus is our savior. Consider it this way.

Jesus is the only savior.

The only savior is God.

Jesus is God.

Of course, we understand this in the Trinitarian sense in that Jesus is fully in the divine identity. We do not understand him as being the Father.

In conclusion then, when we speak of Jesus as our savior, implicitly, we are speaking of him as our God. Keep in mind as a point to consider that the cults regularly deny who Jesus is and then regularly also teach salvation by works ultimately. The two go hand in hand.

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