He SHALL SAVE His people from their sins.

There are some words that describe things that cannot be unsuccessful.  For example, one can have an unsuccessful medicine, but one cannot have an unsuccessful cure, for a thing can be called a cure unless and until is successful.

The words used to describe our Lord and His saving work are such words.  For example, He is called a saviour.  The very word “saviour” implies success in the work of saving.  A person could attempt to save or rescue someone in trouble, but he cannot be called a saviour unless he is successful in the attempt.  So it is with our Lord – He is called a saviour precisely because He actually did save all those He came to save. “You shall call His name Jesus, for He SHALL SAVE His people from their sins.”

Christ’s work is called atonement.  An atonement is a sacrifice that puts away the wrath of God.  There could be an unsuccessful sacrifice: it might be that the thing offered was not suitable; it might be that it was not offered correctly.  But, while it can be called a sacrifice, it cannot be called an atonement unless and until it actually puts away the wrath of God.  Our Lord’s sacrifice is called an atonement precisely because it actually did put away the wrath of God.

His work is called redemption.  Redemption is the price paid to set a debtor free from his debt.  One could make an unsuccessful payment: maybe it was not enough or in the wrong currency, therefore.  the payment was rejected.  But, there cannot be an unsuccessful redemption, for a payment cannot be called a redemption unless and until it is successful – unless and until the one to whom the payment was made has accepted the payment and released his claim on the object or person redeemed.  Christ’s payment is called redemption precisely because He paid the full price of our redemption (death) in the proper currency (blood) and God has accepted His payment and released His claim of justice against the redeemed ones.

The result of all this is that all for whom Christ came as a saviour are, indeed, saved, all for whom He made atonement have no threat of wrath against them, and all for whom Christ paid the redemption price owe nothing more to God.  

Joe Terrell 

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