Matthew 1:21 And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and spoke those words to him. Mary, though a virgin, would give birth to a son. He was to be named Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins.
In the Old Testament the people of God were the Jews. The people of Jesus, though, are Jews and Gentiles alike. In fact, there is no longer a designation of Jew and Gentile in the Body of Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28. The terms “Jewish Christian” and “Gentile Christian” are not valid. Those terms are only used when one wants to give special respect to a certain Christian, or group of Christians. And God does not respect one above another, and neither should we. For there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:11.
There is no advantage of disadvantage in a Christian being Jewish or non-Jewish. (We are all) made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18.
So the people referred to as “His people” in Matthew 1:21 are Christians. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior are termed “His people.” So what is meant when it says that Jesus shall save His people from their sins? Fundamental Christians, in general, will say that if a person is a Christian he has been saved from his sins. The “sin” in the Scriptures can refer either to “sinful acts” or “sinful nature.” And most often it refers to the latter. When Matthew 1:21 says that Jesus shall save His people from their sins, it is not speaking of outward acts only, but of their sinful nature. The sinful acts can be forgiven, but if the sinful nature is not dealt with there will be more sinful acts following.
Most ministers understand that we all came forth into this world with a sinful nature inherited from Adam. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Romans 5:19. Even so they usually apply God’s grace to sinful acts and not to the sinful nature.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
If a person committed a sin under the Old Testament Law, he would bring a sacrifice for his sin. If his heart was right before the Lord, he was forgiven for the sin he committed. Real repentance resulted in real forgiveness. But he was not made perfect by those sacrifices. We must understand what is meant by the word “perfect.” The Greek word translated “perfect” here is teleioo, and it is used again in verse 14 where it is stated that the sacrifice of Jesus is capable of making one perfect. The word teleioo has to do with a change of nature, bringing one to completeness. It refers to one who abides in God and possesses the very character of God. So while the repentant one received forgiveness, yet his sinful nature was not changed. Therefore, he was not made complete or perfect.
Hebrews 10:2-4 For then
would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once
purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (If a person’s nature was changed, there would be no
more need for future sin offerings.)
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
If the worshipers had been purged of their sinful nature, they would have no more consciousness of sins. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins; that is, it could not eliminate their sinful nature. They received forgiveness for their sins, but because their sinful nature was still alive, more sinful acts followed. And to say that our nature cannot be changed until after dying and going to heaven is to say that the blood of Jesus Christ is no better than the blood of bulls and goats!
Hebrews 10:12-14 But this man (Jesus), after He had offered one
sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.
14 For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
The Greek word translated “perfected” in verse 14 is the same as that translated “perfect” in verse 1. So while the sin offerings of the Old Testament, the blood of bulls and goats, could not deal with one’s nature making him perfect, the sacrifice of Jesus perfects for ever them that are sanctified. That doesn’t mean that when you repented of your sins and accepted Jesus as your Savior that you were automatically perfected. Jesus has made the pro-vision; we have to appropriate it. And it is not, at least at this time, an instantaneous event. It is a process that is determined by many variables. Do you really believe that God can change your nature? How much do you really desire a change? Are you willing to wrestle with God for it? Jacob did (Genesis 32:24-28).
When we repent and receive Jesus as Savior, we are forgiven. That means we are justified. We are innocent, no longer guilty. But it only means we got rid of something. Our sins were transferred to Him. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6. The cycle must be completed. After our sins are transferred to Jesus on the cross, then begins the process of His life being transferred to us. And it doesn’t just happen. Your faith, your intensity, your submission to His Lordship, and your dedication to the work of the cross in your own life makes it happen. By repenting of our sins we are justified, but we are saved by the transference of His life to us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON, much more, being reconciled, WE SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE. Romans 5:9-10.
Actually, our repentance should be repentance for what we are. Repenting for sins committed is only a surface thing. It doesn’t reach the problem. The source of the problem is our sinful nature. Once it has been dealt with, the sin problem is defeated. The axe needs to be put to the root of the tree (Matthew 3:10).
Hebrews 10:15-18 Whereof the
Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
God has made a covenant with His people. He has promised to put His Word in their hearts. Writing the Word upon their hearts makes it a permanent thing. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Jeremiah 32:40. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27. (Also see Hebrews 8:10). Those who say, “Well, our nature can’t be changed here in this life, so we will just do our best until we get to heaven,” are sinning against the covenant of the Lord.
Genesis 6:1-6 And it came
to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters
were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.
Pay particular attention to verses 3 and 5. In verse 5, God, in making reference to the wickedness of man, does not refer to their acts, but to their nature. He says that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Their evil hearts were the cause of their sinful acts and that concerned God more than their acts. In verse 3, God said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh. Man is flesh, and flesh refers to the sinful, carnal nature of man. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8.
It is man’s carnal, fleshly nature that God will judge. It was the sinful nature of man that brought the flood of judgment in Noah’s day and it will be man’s sinful nature that brings judgment in the last days. And it won’t be “last days” because there won’t be any more days, but because it will be the last days for flesh. God is going to bring judgment on sinful nature, and it begins at the house of the Lord with Christians. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? I Peter 4:17.
None of us will miss the judgment, but we can determine whether it will be corrective or punitive. We can submit to the work of the cross and be delivered, or we can save our soul life and suffer the consequences. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25. It is to our benefit to appropriate the work of the cross now, for the Lord’s nature only comes forth within us as we die out to self. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. II Corinthians 4:10-11.
How much of His nature we have appropriated is directly proportional to how much of our nature has died. This is what the Lordship of Jesus Christ is all about. When a Christian really yields to His Lordship, the death process begins working in his sinful nature. As long as we are influenced and motivated by the carnal nature then it is lord instead of Jesus. This can be related to a spiritual resurrection. Self is dying, and the nature of the Lord is taking its place. Jesus said, I am the resurrection, and the life (John 11:25). In other words, when His life starts taking over our being, we begin experiencing resurrection.
Most people seem to think that going to heaven is the main objective. Not so!! Christ in you is the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27. “Christ in you” is not speaking of our conversion to Christianity. It is speaking of His divine nature coming forth within us. That is the hope of glory. And it could be said that His coming forth within us is more important than a literal appearing as an individual, because if we do not experience His presence in us a literal appearing might not be so pleasant for us. And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. I John 2:28.
May the Lord deliver us from that false Christian concept that Jesus died on the cross so we could escape judgment and go to heaven. Many feel that once they become Christians, the main objective is to “win souls for Jesus.” Jesus purchased us with His blood. Ye are bought with a price. I Corinthians 7:23. He possessed us; we belong to Him. And not just for our benefit, but it was “according to His purpose.” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. And what was His purpose? To conform us to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10.
Just forgiving us for sinful acts doesn’t create a Son-Company. Our sinful nature must die, and His divine nature must take its place. We must become a holy temple for the Lord, the place of His habitation. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:21-22. Jesus will save His people from their sins (sinful nature), that they may become the tabernacle of God. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:3.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose