Matthew 1:18-25 Now the
birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to
Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name Jesus.
This is Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Notice verse 21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.
Now compare Matthew 1:21 with John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In John’s Gospel, it says, “For God so loved the world…” In Matthew’s Gospel, “He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew does not say that Jesus will save the world from their sins, but that He will save “His people” from their sins.
Who are His people? We are! Christians are the people of the Lord. So evidently this verse holds a truth for us. We are the ones referred to when it says Jesus shall save His people from their sins.
Matthew is speaking of something more than just being forgiven. We were forgiven of our sins when we received Jesus as Savior. However, we still have to contend with our sinful nature. Whenever we do something we shouldn’t do, or think in a way we shouldn’t, we realize that the flesh nature is still alive. And it is this sinful nature we need to be saved from.
Our salvation is not yet complete. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, our spirit begins to come alive to the Lord. But the actions and responses of our soul life make us aware that it is not completely under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In other words, there is still the downward pull of the flesh nature.
Our bodies are not yet saved either, because we still get sick. We still have problems with our soul life and our bodies. So Matthew says, She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. Therefore the birth of Christ must also be a birthing of Christ in us, so that we might be saved from the sinfulness of the flesh nature. Peter speaks of this kind of salvation in his first epistle.
I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant
mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter says there is an inheritance, which is incorruptible, and undefiled, that does not fade away and is reserved in heaven for us. Peter wrote his epistle in about 63A.D., which would have been quite a few years after Jesus had gone to the cross and given Himself as an atonement for our sins. Although the crucifixion and resurrection had already taken place, Peter says that there is a salvation being held for us, which will be revealed in the last time. So he was talking about a salvation not yet experienced. It comes out of the sacrifice of Christ, though, because it makes full provision for everything obtainable in God.
Peter is talking about something much more than what we received in forgiveness of sins. He is talking about a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. It is not a different salvation, nor a new salvation. Rather, our salvation will expand to a much greater fulfillment than what we have known up to this time. A salvation is reserved for us, ready to be revealed in the last time.
Paul also refers to this salvation in his epistle to the Thessalonians.
II Thessalonians 1:3-9 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet,
because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of
you all toward each other aboundeth;
4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power;
Notice the various things that happen in this appearing of the Lord. He is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, vengeance is taken upon those who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they are punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. Now let’s read verse ten.
II Thessalonians 1:10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
We hear much about a literal bodily return of Jesus Christ. But this passage is not talking about that kind of appearance. This is a spiritual coming of the Lord within His saints. The purpose of this manifestation of the Lord is for Him to be glorified and admired in those who believe.
By faith we have Christ in our hearts, but there must also be an appearing of the Lord Jesus within the Body of Christ. This manifestation of the Lord will bring forth the salvation that Peter said was reserved in heaven for us ready to be revealed in the last time. It will be a divine energizing, a birthing of Christ in His many-membered Body.
II Thessalonians 1:11-12 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you
worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and
the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling” indicates that this may not be an experience for every Christian.
Paul also spoke on this subject when he wrote his epistle to the church of Galatia.
Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb (Paul
is not speaking of his natural birth, but his separation from the religious
womb of Judaism), and called me by His
16 To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…
There was a spiritual appearing of the presence of the Lord within Paul that enabled him to proclaim Jesus among the nations.
Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.
This epistle is written to the Christians in the church at Galatia. Even though they are saved, Paul says to them, “I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Paul knew that Christ had to be formed within them. There had to be a birthing of Christ.
Now back to Matthew 1:23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. This should also be taken as a prophecy concerning the church: Behold, a virgin church shall bring forth a “son company,” enhousing the presence of Christ, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which means "God with us."
Copyright © 1996 by Henry DuBose