“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”— Matthew i. 21.
BERNARD has delightfully said that the name of Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, and joy in the heart. 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 yet 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 will we preach him; he is the truth, therefore will we hear of him; he is the life, therefore shall our hearts rejoice in him.
So inexpressibly fragrant is the name of Jesus that it imparts a delicious perfume to everything which comes in connection 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 save by the justice of his character. To the artizan of Nazareth was this name first imparted. 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 sort, rejoice with all other sorts 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 is there a bond of sympathy between us and angelic spirits, and we are come this day 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.
Nor is the condition of Joseph when he heard this name altogether without instruction. The angel spake to him in a dream: that name is so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but rather yields a peace unrivalled, the peace of God. With such a dream Joseph’s sleep was more blessed than his waking. The name has evermore 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 prophecies faithful and true. 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 glory unutterable 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 thus— “Fear not.” Truly, no name can banish fear like the name of Jesus: it is the beginning of hope and the end of despair. Let but the sinner hear of “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 fears no longer. 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 that tasteth 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 Ghost, 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.
I shall ask the exercise of your patience while I consider seven things in reference to this transporting name. It is as ointment poured forth, 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 connection.
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, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus.” 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 specially and peculiarly his own personal name, and it is the Father who hath thus 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 that was ever born of woman God has given 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 knoweth the Son but 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 no mean order. God, who cannot be under a mistake, calls him Jesus, a Saviour, and therefore Jesus, a Saviour, he must be 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 recollect whence it came? He is not a Saviour of our own setting up, but God the everlasting Father hath set him forth for our deliverer and Saviour, saying, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus.”
It is a name which the Holy Ghost 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 signifies “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 specially 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 came not for such a purpose, he came to be a Saviour of a more spiritual sort, 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 saith “so great salvation,” as if he felt that he could never estimate its greatness (Heb. ii. 3): he also speaks of it as “eternal salvation” (Heb. v. 9), even as Isaiah said, “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” 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 sets him forth to us as—
“Jesus, Saviour, Son of God,
Bearer of the sinner’s load.”
Thus we have a name, dear friends, which we have not even to explain for ourselves. 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 wrought in the olden ages;” but no, the word of the Lord tells us “Thou shalt 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 evermore 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 till all the chosen people are saved, and then for ever and ever.
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 you the next verses. “Now all this was done, 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 signification 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 into 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 that which would have destroyed us, and brought us everlasting life and salvation. O Jesus, dearest of all names in earth or in heaven, I love thy 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 pitiful; he is divine, and therefore infinitely wise; but he is human, and therefore full of compassion.
This, then, is our first; head: this charming name of Jesus is a jewel from the casket 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 at 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 forth to bless us. God, who spake to our fathers by his prophets, now speaks to us by his Son, whose name is Salvation. Is there not a mint of joy in this?
II. Secondly, although this name was thus chosen by God, OUR LORD WAS ACTUALLY CALLED BY THE NAME OF JESUS BY MAN. To this I call your special notice. “She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou (Joseph) shalt 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 of God is fully accepted by instructed men. Those who are taught of God joyfully recognise that Christ is salvation, and without a question give him the well-beloved name of Jesus, the Saviour.
Here note that the name Jesus, Saviour, was given to our Lord by two simple hearts as soon as ever he was 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. Many there be who think they know our Lord, but since they only speak of him as a prophet, a teacher, or a leader, and care not for him as a Saviour, we are clear that they are in ignorance as to his chief character. His first name, his personal name, they know not. 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 anti-Christian Christians are craftily extolling Christ that they may smite Jesus: I mean that they cry up Jesus as Messiah, sent of 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 character 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 exemplar, but as the Saviour of sinners.
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 own 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 avow their faith by giving him a name which indicated his destiny, nor did they refuse to publish 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. This day a charge to keep we have; we are to preserve his gospel in the world, to maintain his truth, and to publish his salvation, and therefore we are bound to bear this testimony, that he is Jesus, the Saviour of sinners. This we must make 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 peculiar 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 be anything he is Jesus, the Saviour; we know him best by that name. We preach unto men Jesus; we insist upon it first and foremost that he is the sinner’s Saviour. He is righteous and loveth 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 wrath consequent thereon, and this awful need is met by Jesus, the Saviour.
So, beloved, you see that the name chosen of God is given to him by all those who know him, and to whom his gospel is entrusted, and given heartily, zealously, boldly. Yes, all of us call him Jesus if we know him, and we are resolved to publish 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 above his atonement his resurrection, and beyond that his ascension, and, to crown all, his perpetual intercession? How grandly does the title befit him now that he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth 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 hath by one sacrifice perfected for ever them that are set apart? What is he now that he sits at the right hand of God, expecting till 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 be 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 ail divine, thine’s the name, and only thine.”
III. THE NAME HAD BEEN TYPICALLY WORN BY ANOTHER, BUT IS NOW RESERVED FOR HIM ALONE. 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 Acts vii. 4, 5, where we read of the fathers who entered in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, evidently meaning Joshua; and the second in Hebrews iv. 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 smote them. Even so doth our glorious Joshua smite our sins and all the powers of darkness, and utterly destroy our spiritual enemies. Before him Amalek is smitten, Jericho falls, and Canaanites are put to rout, while he giveth 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. Precisely this is what our Jesus does, only our inheritance is more divine, and on each one of us it is more surely entailed. Though Joshua could not give to the people the heavenly Sabbatismos, or rest of the highest kind, yet he gave them rest most pleasant to them, so that every man sat under his own vine and fig tree, none making him afraid; but our glorious Joshua has given us infinite, eternal rest, for he is our peace, and they that 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 preserves to himself a people zealous for good works, for he ever liveth and is able to keep them from falling. No more doth Joshua lift sword or spear on behalf of Israel, but Jesus still rideth forth, conquering and to conquer, and all his people have victory through his blood. Well is his name called Jesus.
We read of another Jesus in the books of Ezra and Zechariah. The form which the word there takes 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 fit 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.
The name of Jesus was not at all uncommon among the Jews. Josephus mentions no less than twelve persons of 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 saviours they were not. 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 engrossed 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 do but 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 saith, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth, for I am God, and beside me there is none else.” This Jesus of Nazareth, the King of kings, is the one and only Saviour. He, and none but he, 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 none undone: he shall begin it, carry it on, and complete it, and therefore is his name 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 aforetime, but now none else may wear it, since there is no other Saviour, and none other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.
IV. The fourth point grows out of the wording of the text. THIS NAME JESUS IDENTIFIES OUR LORD WITH HIS PEOPLE. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus,” for that name declares his relation to his people. It is to them that he is a Saviour. He would not be Jesus if he had not 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 hangs on it: his proper, personal name has no meaning apart from his people.
“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 persons 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 peculiar people, a people set apart as Christ’s own treasure; they are a people that belong to God incarnate— Emmanuel’s people. These he saves. Who are they but his elect, whom his Father gave him or ever the earth was? Who are they but those whose names are graven on the palms of his hands and written on his heart? Who are they but those for whom he counted down the price of redemption? Who are they but those for whom he became a surety, whose smart he has borne? Who are they but the numbered sheep that will be required at his hands by the great Father, that he should render them back by tale and number, saying, “I have kept those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine.” Yes, the Lord knoweth them that are his, and he preserves them unto 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.
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, be they who they may, 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 want saving, brethren? Has the Holy Ghost taught you that you need salvation? Let your hearts be encouraged. This is the character 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 that 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 such as you are he came to save.
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. O ye sinners, I mean real sinners, not you that 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. O 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 pray 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, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, for I need thy salvation.” Doubt not 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.
V. The fifth point is very clear, and well worthy of note. THE NAME OF “JESUS IS ONE WHICH INDICATES HIS MAIN WORK. “Thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save” He shall save from sin. 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 be 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 exemplar, 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 that which is 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 be not a Saviour. He is anointed to this very end. His very name is a sham if he do not save his people from their sins.
Now, Jesus doth save his people from sin; for, first, he doth it by taking all the sins of his people upon himself. Do you think that a strong expression? It is warranted by the Scriptures. “The Lord hath 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 in their stead and suffering in their place. There is none other way of salvation but by his vicarious sufferings and death.
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 hath 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 cavillers 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 works in the person who partakes in its benefits, love to God, gratitude to 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 hitherto 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 me of the Holy Spirit. “This is the victory that overcometh 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 that hath believed in Jesus as his expiation and atonement becomes thereby, through the power of the Holy Ghost, renewed in heart; he has fresh objects set him, fresh motives sway him, and thus Jesus saves his people from their sins.
Beloved, if we had space at this 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, till 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 ever the devil 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 done his purging work there shall be no scar or speck to show that ever sin was 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 that filleth all in all. How glorious, how transcendent is the salvation which Jehovah Jesus has brought to us!
VI. THIS NAME OF JESUS IS ONE WHICH IS COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED BY FACTS. It was given him before he had done anything: while yet he was a babe, or ever his trembling feet had 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 recollect a grave on which there is the name of a child, “Sacred to the memory of Methusaleh Coney, who died aged six months.” His parents were mightily mistaken when they called him Methusaleh. 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 that 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 that saves his people from their sins has saved them. Go ye to dying-beds, and hear saints telling of 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 ye up to heaven, and behold the snow-white host, glittering like the sun in spotless purity. I ask them whence came they? 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 none like to 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 hath made herself ready, and she that is the queen all glorious within, wearing her raiment of wrought gold, shall sit down at the table of God with her glorious husband — then shall it be seen that he has saved his church, his people, from their sins.
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 is family; for he that believeth 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 ever 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. They 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 of this name; let us continually meditate upon it; let us love it henceforth and for ever. Amen.