A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, September 15, 1878, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *10/9/2012
And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. [Mt 1:21]
1. Bernard has delightfully said that the name of Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, and joy in the heart. [a] I rejoice in that expression on my own account, for it gives me my share of the delight, and leads me to hope that, while I am speaking, the sweetness of the precious name of Jesus may fill my own mouth. Here also is a portion for you who are listening: it is melody in the ear. If my voice should be harsh, and my words discordant, you will still have music of the choicest order, for the name itself is essential melody, and my whole sermon will ring with its silver note. May both speaker and hearer join in the third word of Bernard’s sentence, and may we all find it to be joy in our hearts, a jubilee within our souls. Jesus is the way to God, therefore we will preach him; he is the truth, therefore we will hear of him; he is the life, therefore our hearts shall rejoice in him.
2. So inexpressibly fragrant is the name of Jesus that it imparts a delightful perfume to everything which comes in contact with it. Our thoughts will turn this morning to the first use of the name in connection with our Lord, when the child who was yet to be born was named Jesus. Here we find everything suggestive of comfort. The person to whom that name was first revealed was Joseph, a carpenter, a humble man, a working man, unknown and undistinguished except by the justice of his character. This name was first imparted to the artisan of Nazareth. It is not, therefore, a title to be monopolised by the ears of princes, sages, priests, warriors, or men of wealth: it is a name to be made a household word among common people. He is the people’s Christ; for of old it was said of him, “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” Let every carpenter, and every worker of every kind, rejoice with all other kinds of men in the name of Jesus. There is consolation in the messenger who made known that name to Joseph; for it was the angel of the Lord who, in the visions of the night, whispered that charming name into his ear; and henceforth angels are in league with men, and gather to one standard, moved by the same watchword as ourselves — the name of Jesus. Did God send the name by an angel, and did the angel delight to come with it? Then there is a bond of sympathy between us and angelic spirits, and we are come today not only “to the general assembly and church of the firstborn,” but “to an innumerable company of angels,” by whom that name is regarded with reverent love.
3. Nor is the condition of Joseph when he heard this name altogether without instruction. The angel spoke to him in a dream: that name is so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but rather yields an unrivalled peace, the peace of God. With such a dream Joseph’s sleep was more blessed than his waking. The name always has this power, for, to those who know it, it unveils a glory brighter than dreams have ever imaged. Under its power young men see visions, and old men dream dreams, and these do not mock them, but are faithful and true prophecies. The name of Jesus brings before our minds a vision of glory in the latter days when Jesus shall reign from pole to pole, and yet another vision of unutterable glory when his people shall be with him where he is. The name of Jesus was sweet at the first, because of the words with which it was accompanied; for they were meant to remove perplexity from Joseph’s mind, and some of them ran like this — “Do not fear.” Truly, no name can banish fear like the name of Jesus: it is the beginning of hope and the end of despair. Only let the sinner hear about “the Saviour,” and he forgets to die, he hopes to live; he rises out of the deadly lethargy of his hopelessness, and, looking upward, he sees a reconciled God, and no longer fears. Especially, brethren, this name is full of rare delights when we meditate upon the infinite preciousness of the person to whom it was assigned. Ah, here is a Jonathan’s wood dripping with honey from every bough, and he who tastes it shall have his eyes enlightened. We have no common Saviour, for neither earth nor heaven could produce his equal. At the time when the name was given his full person had not been seen by mortal eyes, for he lay as yet concealed; but soon he came forth, having been born of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, a matchless man, he bears our nature, but not our corruption; he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but yet in his flesh there is no sin. This Holy One is the Son of God, and yet he is the Son of man: this surpassing excellence of nature makes his name most precious.
4. I shall ask for the exercise of your patience while I consider seven things in reference to this transporting name. It is like ointment poured out, and its scent is varied so as to contain the essence of all fragrances. These seven things will be seen very plainly by you if you continue to look at the text and its context.
5. I. First, we shall remark that THE NAME OF JESUS IS A NAME DIVINELY ORDERED AND EXPOUNDED. According to the text, the angel brought a message from the Lord, and said, “You shall call his name Jesus.”
6. It is a name which, like him who bears it, has come down from heaven. Our Lord has other names of office and relationship, but this is especially and particularly his own personal name, and it is the Father who has so named him. Rest assured, therefore, that it is the best name that he could bear. God would not have given him a name of secondary value, or about which there would be a trace of dishonour. The name is the highest, brightest, and noblest of names; it is the glory of our Lord to be a Saviour. To the best who was ever born of woman God gave the best name that any son of man could bear. JESUS is the most appropriate name that our Lord could receive. Of this we are quite certain, for the Father knew all about him, and could name him well. He knows much more about the Lord Christ than all saints and angels put together, for “No man knows the Son except the Father.” To perfection the Father knew him, and he names him Jesus. We may be sure, then, that our Lord is most of all a Saviour, and is best described by that term; God, the Father, who knows him best, sees this to be his grand characteristic, that he is a Saviour, and is best represented by the name “Jesus.” Since infinite wisdom has selected it, we may be sure that it is a name which must be true, and must be verified by facts of the highest order. God, who can never make a mistake, calls him Jesus, a Saviour, and therefore he must be Jesus, a Saviour upon a grand scale, continually, abundantly, and in a most apparent manner. Neither will God refuse to accept the work which he has done, since by the gift of that name he has commissioned him to save sinners. When we plead the name of Jesus before God, we bring him back his own word, and appeal to him by his own act and deed. Is not the name of Jesus to be viewed with reverential delight by each one of us, when we remember from where it came? He is not a Saviour of our own setting up, but God the everlasting Father has presented him for our deliverer and Saviour, saying, “You shall call his name Jesus.”
It is a name which the Holy Spirit explains, for he tells us the
reason for the name of Jesus — “For he shall save his people from their
sins.” “Saviour” is the meaning of the name, but it has a fuller
sense hidden within, for in its Hebrew form it means “the salvation
of the Lord,” or “the Lord of salvation,” or “the Saviour.” The angel
interprets it, “he shall save,” and the word for “he” is very
emphatic. According to many scholars, the divine name, the
incommunicable title of the Most High is contained in “Joshua,” the
Hebrew form of Jesus, so that in full the word means “Jehovah
Saviour,” and in brief it means “Saviour.” It is given to our Lord
because “he saves” — not according to any temporary and common
salvation, from enemies and troubles, but he saves from spiritual
enemies, and especially from sins. Joshua of old was a saviour,
Gideon was a saviour, David was a saviour; but the title is given to
our Lord above all others because he is a Saviour in a sense in which
no one else is or can be, — he saves his people from their sins. The
Jews were looking for a Saviour; they expected one who would break
the Roman yoke, and save them from being under bondage to a foreign
power, but our divine Lord did not come for such a purpose, he came
to be a Saviour of a more spiritual kind, and to break quite another
yoke, by saving his people from their sins. The word “save” is very
rich in meaning, its full and exact force can hardly be given in
English words. Jesus is salvation in the sense of deliverance and
also in that of preservation. He gives health, he is all that is
salutary to his people: in the fullest and broadest sense he
saves his people. The original word means to preserve, to keep,
to protect from danger, and to secure. The grandest meanings
generally dwell in the shortest words, and in this case the word
“save” is a well where the plummet is long in finding a bottom. Jesus
brings a great salvation, or as Paul says “so great salvation,” as if
he felt that he could never estimate its greatness: [Heb 2:3] he
also speaks of it as “eternal salvation,” [Heb 5:9] even as
Isaiah said, “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting
salvation.” [Isa 45:17] Glorious beyond measure is the name
“Jesus” as it is divinely expounded to us, for by that very
exposition the eternal God guarantees the success of the Saviour: he
declares that he shall save his people, and save his people he must.
God himself presents him to us as —
Jesus, Saviour, Son of God,
Bearer of the sinner’s load.
8. So we have a name, dear friends, which we do not even have to explain for ourselves. Just as we did not choose it, so we are not left to expound it: God who gave the text has preached us the sermon. He who appointed the name has given us the reason for it, so that we are not left in ignorance or uncertainty. We might have said, “Yes, his name is Jesus, but it refers to a salvation which was accomplished in the olden ages”; but no, the word of the Lord tells us “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins”; and this is for all time, since he always has a people, and these people always need to be saved from their sins. Let us be glad that we have such a Saviour, and that the name of Jesus retains all the sweetness and power it ever had, and shall retain it until all the chosen people are saved, and then for ever and ever.
9. Moreover, in addition to expounding this name, the Holy Spirit, by the evangelist Matthew, has been pleased to refer us to the synonym of it, and so to give us its meaning by comparison. Let me read the next verses to you. “Now all this was done, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘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."’ ” If when our Lord was born and named “Jesus” the old prophecy which said that he should be called Emmanuel was fulfilled, it follows that the name “Jesus” bears a meaning tantamount to that of “Emmanuel,” and that its virtual meaning is “God with us.” Indeed, brethren, he is Jesus, the Saviour, because he is Emmanuel, God with us; and as soon as he was born, and so became Emmanuel, the incarnate God, he became by that very fact Jesus, the Saviour. By coming down from heaven to this earth, and taking upon himself our nature, he bridged the otherwise bridgeless gulf between God and man: by suffering in that human nature and imparting through his divine nature an infinite efficacy to those sufferings he removed what would have destroyed us, and brought us everlasting life and salvation. Oh Jesus, dearest of all names in earth or in heaven, I love your music all the better because it is in such sweet harmony with another which rings melodiously in my ears, the name Emmanuel, God with us. Our Saviour is God, and therefore able; he is God with us, and therefore sympathetic; he is divine, and therefore infinitely wise; but he is human, and therefore full of compassion.
10. This, then, is our first point: this charming name of Jesus is a jewel from the treasure chest of heaven. It comes to us as an apple of gold, and it is attended by an exposition which places it in a basket of silver. The name is precious as the golden mercy seat, and over it burns the light of the divine glory, so that we may not stumble over it, but may rejoice in the great light. It lets us know the very heart of God in reference to his Son: why he sent him, what he meant him to be and to do, and in what manner he would glorify him. Salvation is the joyful sound which rings from the bells of our High Priest’s garment as he comes out to bless us. God, who spoke to our forefathers by his prophets, now speaks to us by his Son, whose name is Salvation. Is there not a mint of joy in this?
11. II. Secondly, although this name was chosen by God, OUR LORD WAS ACTUALLY CALLED BY THE NAME OF JESUS BY MAN.
12. To this I call your special notice. “She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and you (Joseph) shall call his name Jesus.” The God of heaven by his angel appoints the child’s name, but his reputed father must announce it. Both Joseph and Mary, according to the divine command, united in calling the child by the appointed name. See, then, that the name which is chosen by God is fully accepted by instructed men. Those who are taught by God joyfully recognise that Christ is salvation, and without a question give him the well-beloved name of Jesus, the Saviour.
13. Here notice that the name Jesus, Saviour, was given to our Lord by two simple hearts as soon as he was ever revealed to them. They only needed to be told who he was, and what he was come for, how he was born, and what was the object of his incarnation, and they at once accepted the divine message, and named the babe by the name of Jesus. And, brethren, all of us to whom Christ is revealed at all, call him Jesus the Saviour. There are many who think they know our Lord, but since they only speak of him as a prophet, a teacher, or a leader, and do not care for him as a Saviour, we are clear that they are in ignorance concerning his chief characteristic. They do not know his first name, or his personal name. The Holy Spirit cannot have revealed Christ to any man if that man remains ignorant of his saving power. He who does not know him as Jesus, the Saviour, does not know him at all. Certain antichristian Christians are craftily extolling Christ so that they may strike Jesus: I mean that they extol Jesus as Messiah, sent by God, to exhibit a grand example and supply a pure code of morals, but they cannot endure Jesus as a Saviour, redeeming us by his blood, and by his death delivering us from sin. I am not sure that they follow his example of holy living, but they are very loud in extolling it, and all with the purpose of drawing off men’s thoughts from the chief characteristic and main object of our Lord’s sojourn among us, namely, the deliverance of his people from sin. If men knew our Lord they would call him Jesus the Saviour, and regard him not merely as a good man, a great teacher, a noble example, but as the Saviour of sinners.
14. Now, Joseph and Mary not only believed, so as to give the young child the name in their own minds, but in due time they took him up to the temple and presented him according to the law, and there publicly his name was called Jesus. All hearts to whom God commits his Christ should publicly acknowledge him in the most solemn manner according to his ordinance, and should desire in all proper places to confess him as the Saviour. The infant Christ was committed to the care of Joseph and Mary, to nurse and protect. Wonder of wonders that HE should need a guardian who is the Preserver of men and the Shepherd of his saints! In his feebleness as a babe he needed parental care; and in caring for him Joseph and Mary did not hesitate to affirm their faith by giving him a name which indicated his destiny, nor did they refuse to announce his name in the temple before the priests and the congregation. Now in a certain sense Christ is committed to the keeping of all his people. Today we have a charge to keep; we are to preserve his gospel in the world, to maintain his truth, and to proclaim his salvation, and therefore we are bound to bear this testimony, that he is Jesus, the Saviour of sinners. We must make this very prominent. Others shall say what they please about him, and if they speak well of his character in any respect we will be glad that they shall do it, however little they may know: but this is our particular testimony, that our Lord saves from sin. Nothing is more prominent about a man than his name; we can hardly mention him without pronouncing his name, and so we feel that we cannot mention our Lord without speaking of salvation. If he is anything he is Jesus, the Saviour; we know him best by that name. We preach Jesus to men; we insist upon it first and foremost that he is the sinner’s Saviour. He is righteous and loves righteousness, but he is first known to men as the friend of sinners. He is the faithful and true witness, the prince of the kings of the earth, but his first work is to save; after that he teaches and rules his saved ones. Sunken in sin, men need to be redeemed from that tremendous evil and the resultant wrath on it, and this awful need is met by Jesus, the Saviour.
So, beloved, you see that the name chosen by God is given to him by
all those who know him, and to whom his gospel is entrusted, and
given heartily, zealously, and boldly. Yes, all of us call him Jesus
if we know him, and we are resolved to proclaim his name abroad as
long as we live. If he was Jesus in the cradle, what is he now that
he is exalted in the heavens? As Emmanuel, God with us, his very
incarnation made him Jesus, the Saviour of men: but what shall I say
of him now that beyond his incarnation we have his atonement, and
beyond his atonement his resurrection, and beyond that his ascension,
and, to crown it all, his perpetual intercession? How grandly does
the title suit him now that he is able to save to the uttermost those
who come to God by him, since he lives for ever to make intercession
for them! If in the arms of the Virgin he is the Saviour, what is
he on the throne of God? If wrapped in swaddling bands he is Jesus,
what is he now that the heavens have received him? If in the workshop
of Nazareth, and sitting in the temple among the doctors, he was the
child Jesus, the Saviour, what is he now that his infancy and
childhood are over, and he is exalted far above all principalities
and powers? If he was Jesus when on the cross, presenting himself as
an offering for his people, what is he now that he has by one
sacrifice perfected for ever those who are set apart? What is he now
that he sits at the right hand of God, waiting until his enemies are
made his footstool? Let us all unite in calling our Lord by this
tender human name of Jesus. Are we not his mother and sister and
brother? Did he not call all believers by these endearing titles?
Then we, too, will call him Jesus —
Jesus, name all names above;
Jesus best and nearest,
Jesus, fount of perfect love,
Holiest, tenderest, dearest:
Jesus, source of grace completed;
Jesus holiest, sweetest,
Jesus, Saviour all divine,
Thine’s the name, and only thine.
16. III. THE NAME HAD BEEN TYPICALLY WORN BY ANOTHER, BUT IS NOW RESERVED FOR HIM ALONE.
17. There had been a Jesus before our Jesus. I allude to Joshua, and you know that in our version the name Jesus is twice used where Joshua is really meant. The first is Ac 7:4,5, where we read about the fathers who entered in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, evidently meaning Joshua; and the second in Heb 4:8, “If Jesus had given them rest.” Joshua is the Hebrew form and Jesus the Greek form, but Jesus and Joshua are the same word. There was one, then, of old, who bore this famous name of Jesus, or Joshua, and was a type of our Jesus. What did Joshua do? When Moses could not lead the people into Canaan, Joshua did it; and so our Jesus accomplishes what the law never could have done. Joshua overcame the enemies of God’s people: though they were very many and very strong, and had cities walled to heaven and chariots of iron, yet in the name of Jehovah, as captain of the Lord’s host, Joshua defeated them. Even so our glorious Joshua strikes our sins and all the powers of darkness, and utterly destroys our spiritual enemies. Before him Amalek is struck, Jericho falls, and Canaanites are put to rout, while he gives us to triumph in every place. Moreover Joshua conquered an inheritance for Israel, took them across the Jordan, settled them in a land that flowed with milk and honey, and gave to each tribe and to each man to stand in his lot which God had ordained for him. This is precisely what our Jesus does, only our inheritance is more divine, and on each one of us it is more surely secured. Though Joshua could not give to the people the heavenly Sabbatismos, or rest of the highest kind, yet he gave to them the most pleasant rest, so that every man sat under his own vine and fig tree, no one making him afraid; but our glorious Joshua has given us infinite, eternal rest, for he is our peace, and those who know him have entered into rest. Joshua, the son of Nun, caused the people to serve the Lord all his days, but he could not save the nation from their sins, for after his death they grievously went astray: our Joshua reserves for himself a people zealous for good works, for he lives for ever and is able to keep them from falling. No more does Joshua lift sword or spear on behalf of Israel, but Jesus still rides out, conquering and to conquer, and all his people have victory through his blood. Well is his name called Jesus.
18. We read of another Jesus in the books of Ezra and Zechariah. The form which the word takes there is Jeshua or Joshua. He was the high priest who came at the head of the people on their return from Babylon. He is spoken of by the prophet Zechariah in terms which make him a suitable representative of each of us. But, behold, Jesus of Nazareth is now the only high priest; and having presented his one sacrifice for ever, he remains a priest according to the power of an endless life. He heads the march from Babylon, and he leads his people back to Jerusalem.
19. The name of Jesus was not at all uncommon among the Jews. Josephus mentions no less than twelve people by the name of Jesus. Salvation of a certain kind was so longed for by the Jews that their eagerness was seen in their children’s names. Their little ones were by their hopes named as saviours, but they were not saviours. How common are nominal saviours! “Lo here,” they say, “here is a saviour”: “Lo, there,” they cry, “another saviour.” These have the name but not the power, and now, according to the text, Jesus Christ has monopolised the title for himself. His name shall be called Jesus, for he alone is a Prince and a Saviour, and truly saves his people from their sins. Other saviours only mock the hopes of mankind: they promise fairly, but they utterly deceive: this holy child, this blessed, glorious God with us, has truly brought us salvation, and he says, “Look to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth, for I am God, and besides me there is no one else.” This Jesus of Nazareth, the King of kings, is the one and only Saviour. He, and no one except him, shall save his people. He shall save by his own act and deed, he and not another. Singly and alone he shall save his people. Personally, and not by another, in his name and on his behalf, he shall, by himself, purge away sin. He shall do all the work, and leave nothing undone: he shall begin it, carry it on, and complete it, and therefore his name is called Jesus, because he shall completely and perfectly save his people from their sins. The name has been, in a minor sense, applied to others previously, but now no one else may use it, since there is no other Saviour, and no other name given under heaven among men by which we must be saved.
20. IV. The fourth point grows out of the wording of the text. THIS NAME JESUS IDENTIFIES OUR LORD WITH HIS PEOPLE. “You shall call his name Jesus.”
21. That name declares his relationship to his people. It is to them that he is a Saviour. He would not be Jesus if he did not have a people: he could not be, for there could be no Saviour if there were none to be saved, and there could be no Saviour from sin if there were no sinners. Notice, dear friends, the all important connection here revealed between our Lord and his people, since his very name rests on it: his proper, personal name has no meaning apart from his people.
22. “He shall save his people.” It does not say God’s people, for then it would have been understood as meaning only the Jews: or it would have been supposed to refer to some good and holy people who belonged to God, apart from the Mediator; but “he shall save his people” — those who are his own, and personally belong to him. These are evidently a very particular people, a people set apart as Christ’s own treasure; they are a people who belong to God incarnate — Emmanuel’s people. He saves these. Who are they except his elect, whom his Father gave him before the earth ever was? Who are they except those whose names are engraved on the palms of his hands and written on his heart? Who are they except those for whom he counted down the price of redemption? Who are they except those for whom he became a surety, whose smart he has borne? Who are they except the numbered sheep that will be required at his hands by the great Father, so that he should render them back by count and number, saying, “I have kept those whom you have given to me, for they are yours.” Yes, the Lord knows those who are his, and he preserves them for his eternal kingdom and glory. “He shall save his people.” Do you not see that this name of Jesus is an election name after all? It is a wide, far-reaching name, to sinners dear, to sinners given; but still in the depths of its meaning it has a special bearing upon a chosen people; it has a ring of sovereignty about it, and is all the sweeter because of this to those who see in their own salvation an exhibition of distinguishing grace.
23. Now the question arises, who are his people? We are eager to know who they are; and we are glad to find that his people, no matter who they may be, need to be saved, and shall be saved, for it is written, “He shall save his people.” It is not said, “he shall reward his people for their righteousness,” nor is it promised that he shall “save them from becoming sinners,” but “he shall save his people from their sins.” Do you desire saving, brethren? Has the Holy Spirit taught you that you need salvation? Let your hearts be encouraged. This is the characteristic of all his people; he never had a chosen one who could do without washing in the Saviour’s blood. If you are righteous in yourself you are not one of his people. If you were never sick in soul you are none of the folk whom the Great Physician has come to heal: if you were never guilty of sin you are none of those whom he has come to deliver from sin. Jesus comes on no needless errand, and undertakes no unnecessary work: if you feel yourselves to need saving then cast yourselves upon him, for he came to save such as you are.
24. Notice, yet again, the very gracious but startling fact that our Lord’s connection with his people lies in the direction of their sins. This is amazing condescension. He is called Saviour in connection with his people, but it is in reference to their sins, because it is from their sins that they need to be saved. If they had never sinned they would never have required a Saviour, and there would have been no name of Jesus known on earth. That is a wonderful text — did you ever meditate upon it? — “Who gave himself for our sins according to the Scriptures.” As Martin Luther says, he never gave himself for our righteousness, but he did give himself for our sins. Sin is a horrible evil, a deadly poison, yet it is this which gives Jesus his title when he overcomes it. What a wonder to think upon! The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit his people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins. Oh you sinners, I mean real sinners, not you who call yourselves so because you are told you are such, but you who feel yourselves to be guilty before God, here is good news for you. Oh you self-condemned sinners, who feel that if you ever get salvation Jesus must bring it to you and be the beginning and the end of it, I urge you rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed name, for Jesus has come to save you, even you. Go to him as sinners, call him “Jesus,” and cry, “Oh Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, for I need your salvation.” Do not doubt that he will fulfil his own name and exhibit his power in you. Only confess to him your sin, and he will save you from it. Only believe in him, and he will be your salvation.
25. V. The fifth point is very clear, and well worthy of notice. THE NAME OF “JESUS” IS ONE WHICH INDICATES HIS MAIN WORK. “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save.” He shall save from sin.
26. Why do men write lives of Christ who know nothing about his main business and object? Why do some preach about Christ who do not know the very essence and heart of him? Think of knowing Milton, but not as a poet, and Bacon, but not as a philosopher! There is no knowing our Lord, if he is not known as a Saviour; for he is that or nothing. Those who fall short of his salvation do not even know his name; how, then, should they know his person? His name is not called Jesus because he is our example, though indeed he is perfection itself, and we long to tread in his footsteps; but his name is called Jesus because he has come to save those who are lost. He is Christ, too, or the anointed, but then he is Christ Jesus; that is to say, it is as a Saviour that he is anointed. He is nothing if he is not a Saviour. He is anointed for this very purpose. His very name is a sham if he does not save his people from their sins.
27. Now, Jesus saves his people from sin; for, first, he does it by taking all the sins of his people upon himself. Do you think that is a strong expression? It is warranted by the Scriptures. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Christ’s shoulders bore the guilt of his people, and because he took their load his people are free, and have henceforth no burden of sin to weigh them down. He saves his people through his personal substitution, by standing and suffering in their place. There is no other way of salvation except by his vicarious sufferings and death.
28. Then he saves them by bearing the penalty due to their sin. Where the sin lies the penalty falls. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” “He was made a curse for us.” “Christ also has suffered for us.” He died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” He bore the wrath of God which was due to us. He has taken the sin and paid the penalty, and now critics come in and falsely say that we teach that a man is to believe the dogma of atonement and then he is saved, and may live as he likes. They know better; they know that they misrepresent us, for we always teach that this great work of substitution and penalty-bearing by Christ produces in the person who partakes in its benefits, love for God, gratitude towards Christ, and consequent hatred of all sin; and this change of heart is the very core and essence of salvation. This is how Christ saves his people from their sin — by rescuing them, by the force of his love, out of the power, tyranny, and dominion of sins, which so far had the mastery over them. I knew what it was to strive against sin as a moral person, seeking to overcome it, but I found myself mastered by sin, like Samson when his hair was lost, and the Philistines bound him; but since I have believed in Jesus I find motives for being holy which are more influential with me than any I knew before; I find weapons with which to fight my sin that I never knew how to handle before, and a new strength has been given to me by the Holy Spirit. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith”; this is the power which drives out the vipers of sin from the soul, — the precious blood of Jesus. He who has believed in Jesus as his expiation and atonement becomes by it, through the power of the Holy Spirit, renewed in heart; he has fresh objects set for him, fresh motives sway him, and by this Jesus saves his people from their sins.
29. Beloved, if we had enough time I should like to speak about how completely Christ saves his people from their sins, how when he comes in he turns out the strong man armed with mighty force, how that strong man armed seeks to come back again, and does, as far as he can, gain a partial entrance, but Jesus drives him out again; how all the damage and foulness that were left within the house by the old tenant are gradually cleared away by Jesus, until at last his people are fully sanctified as temples of the living God. His saints shall be without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and no sign that the devil ever dwelt within them shall remain upon them. Viewing each one of their risen bodies as a temple of God, you shall search those bodies through and not find a trace of the dominion of sin; you shall look into the heart, into the mind, into the understanding, but when Jesus has finished his purging work there shall be no scar or speck to show that sin was ever there. So completely shall he save his people from their sins that they shall be fit to dwell with angels; better, — they shall be fit to dwell with God: better than that, they shall be one with Jesus, one with him throughout eternity, the fulness of him who fills all in all. How glorious, how transcendent is the salvation which Jehovah Jesus has brought to us!
30. VI. THIS NAME OF JESUS IS ONE WHICH IS COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED BY FACTS.
31. It was given to him before he had done anything: while he was still a babe, or before his trembling feet had ever learned to tread the cottage floor at Nazareth, he was Jesus the Saviour. But is the name well deserved? Many a child has had a grand name, and his life has contradicted it. I remember a grave on which there is the name of a child, “Sacred to the memory of Methuselah Coney, who died aged six months.” His parents were mightily mistaken when they called him Methuselah. Many other names are equally inappropriate, and are proved to be so in the course of years. But this Jesus is a Saviour, a true Jesus. He bears a name which he well deserves. Come to the Christ and see there the many who once rioted in sin, and rolled in the mire, but they are washed, but they are sanctified, and now they rejoice in holiness. Who purified them? Who but Jesus? He who saves his people from their sins has saved them. Go to deathbeds, and hear saints telling about his love, and speaking of the heaven which is already dawning in their souls. Some of these once could sit on the ale bench, and use the swearer’s oath, but Jesus has cleansed them. Climb up to heaven, and behold the snow-white host, glittering like the sun in spotless purity. I ask them where they came from? The reply is that they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is most true that Jesus saves his people from their sins — earth knows it, hell howls at it, and heaven chants it; time has seen it, and eternity shall reveal it. There is no one like Jesus in saving power. All glory be to him! When he shall come from heaven with a shout, and all his hosts shall be with him, when the day of the supper of the Lamb shall come, and the bride has made herself ready, and she who is the queen all glorious within, wearing her raiment of woven gold, shall sit down at the table of God with her glorious husband — then it be shall seen that he has saved his church, his people, from their sins.
32. VII. Last of all, THIS NAME IS CHRIST’S PERSONAL NAME FOR EVER.
It is a home name. It is the name his father gave him, it is the name
his mother gave him — Jesus, the child Jesus. We also belong to his
family; for he who believes in him is his father, and mother, and
sister, and brother, and that most dear and familiar name by which he
was known at home is always in our mouths. He is the Lord, and we
worship him; but he is Jesus, and we love him. Jesus is also the
heart name, and is full of the music of love. Those who loved him
best gave him the name, especially his mother, who pondered
everything about him in her heart. It is the name which moves our
affections, and fires our souls.
Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast.
Let your hearts go out towards him in tender union. Jesus is his
death name; — Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, was written on his
cross. That is his resurrection name. That is his gospel name, which
we preach. It is the name which Peter preached to the Gentiles when
he said, “This is Jesus of Nazareth by whom is preached to you the
remission of sins.” And this, beloved, is his heaven name. They sing
to him there as Jesus. See how it concludes the Bible. Read the
Revelation, and read its songs, and see how they worship Jesus the
Lamb of God. Let us go and tell about this name; let us continually
meditate upon it; let us love it henceforth and for ever. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Heb 1; 2]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Heaven — The Everlasting Song” 872]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — The Power Of The Risen Lord” 331]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth’ ” 786]
[a] Nomen Iesu est mel in ore, melos in aure, et iubilum in corde
The Christian, Heaven
872 — The Everlasting Song
1 Earth has engross’d my love too long,
‘Tis time I lift mine eyes
Upward, dear Father, to thy throne,
And to my native shies.
2 There the blest man, my Saviour, sits:
The God! how bright he shines!
And scatters infinite delights
On all the happy minds.
3 Seraphs with elevated strains
Circle the throne around;
And move and charm the starry plains
With an immortal sound.
4 Jesus, the Lord, their harps employs: —
Jesus, my Love, they sing!
Jesus, the life of both our joys,
Sounds sweet from every string.
5 Hark, how beyond the narrow bound
Of time and space they run;
And echo in majestic sounds
The Godhead of the Son.
6 And now they sink the lofty tune,
And gentler notes they play;
And bring the Father’s Equal down,
To dwell in humble clay.
7 But when to Calvary they turn,
Silent their harps abide;
Suspended songs a moment mourn
The God that loved and died.
8 Then, all at once, to living strains,
They summon every chord,
Tell how he triumph’d o’er his pains,
And chant the rising Lord.
9 Now let me mount and join their song,
And be an angel too;
My heart, my ear, my hand, my tongue —
Here’s joyful work for you.
10 I would begin the music here,
And so my soul should rise:
Oh for some heavenly notes to bear
My passions to the skies!
11 There ye that love my Saviour sit,
There I would fain have place,
Among your thrones or at your feet,
So I might see his face.
Isaac Watts, 1706.
Jesus Christ, In Heaven
331 — The Power Of The Risen Lord
1 Jesus, the name high over all,
In hell, or earth, or sky,
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.
2 Jesus, the name to sinners dear,
The name to sinners given,
It scatters all their guilty fear,
And turns their hell to heaven.
3 Jesus the prisoner’s fetters breaks,
And bruises Satan’s head;
Power into strengthless souls it speaks,
And life into the dead.
4 His only righteousness I show,
His saving truth proclaim;
‘Tis all my business here below
To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”
5 Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp his name;
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
“Behold, behold the Lamb!”
Charles Wesley, 1749.
The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
786 — “Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth”
1 Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fill my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest,
2 Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
Oh Saviour of mankind!
3 Oh, hope of every contrite heart!
Oh, joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!
4 But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus — what it is,
None but his loved ones know.
5 Jesus, our only joy be thou,
As thou our crown wilt be;
Jesus, be thou our glory now,
And through eternity.
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153;
tr. by Edward Caswall, 1849.