Text: Matthew 1:21 | Listen to Message
6 Ways Jesus Saves
JESUS SAVES. We hear it all the time. We see those two words scrawled on street corners and plastered on posterboards everywhere. The message is practically ubiquitous. It’s ever-present. It’s overly familiar. But what does it even mean?
Here are six simple illustrations or metaphors of salvation:
Sin is a separation, and Jesus reconciles.
Sin obstructs and wrecks our relationship with God. It alienates and estranges. It creates hostility. But Colossians 1:20 says Jesus made peace between God and sinners by the blood of his cross. This is no temporary truce or tenuous DMZ. Jesus saves us from conflict and brings us into fellowship and friendship with God.
Sin is a debt, and Jesus pays.
People often say, “If God is so loving and good, then why doesn’t He just forgive everyone?” And the answer is because there’s no such thing as “just forgiving.” If God forgives our debt, it doesn’t magically evaporate into thin air. The only way God can forgive is by absorbing our debt and paying the penalty for us. And that’s what Colossians 2:13-14 says Jesus did to save us: he nailed our record of debt to his cross and he died to pay our debt in full.
Sin is a transgression, and Jesus justifies.
We’ve all missed the mark with our lives. We’ve all fallen short of what God requires. No one can stand before the Judge of all the earth and claim to be without sin. We are all guilty. Yet Romans 3:24 says we are justified by a gift of God’s grace. In a beautiful exchange, Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteousness. So the Judge looks at us through the perfection of His Son and says, “Not guilty.”
Sin is a stain, and Jesus cleanses.
Sin leaves a mark of guilt, much like a stain. We can pretend it’s not there, but God knows better – and really, so do we. And no amount of bleaching or scrubbing on our part can wash away this stain. Jesus’ blood washes away the stain. This is how 1 John 1:9 can promise us, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Sin is bondage, and Jesus delivers.
Sin is a master that enslaves, manipulates, and destroys. On our own, we cannot escape the grasp of sin (and its consequences). But Jesus came as the bondage breaker, the great liberator. He stood up to sin, he battled sin, and he emerged victorious on our behalf. “For freedom Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1).
Sin is death, and Jesus gives life.
Romans 6:23 begins, “The wages of sin is death.” Not only does sin demand death, it is like a poison, a cancer, that actually produces death in us. So, as sinners, we all die. “But,” the verse continues, “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Through faith in the One who died and conquered death, we have everlasting life.
So this is a glimpse of what it means that “Jesus saves”! By living the life we should’ve lived and by dying the death we should’ve died, Jesus takes everything bad and gives us everything good. We are reconciled to God. Our debt is stamped “Paid in Full.” We are declared righteous. We are clean. We are free. We are alive.