December 23, 2016
God Is Salvation
By Skip Heitzig
"And [Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son…. And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb" (Luke 2:7, 21).
Yeshua, Yehoshua, Joshua, Jesus—it's all the same name. It means God is salvation. As we approach Christmas this week, I want to take a quick look at this truth that God is salvation, as highlighted by a man named Simeon. Let's read about him.
"Now when the days of [Mary's] purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord…. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel…. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God" (Luke 2:22, 25, 27-28).
Simeon was "waiting for the Consolation of Israel." This simply meant he was waiting for the Messiah to be born. And on this particular day, the Holy Spirit impressed on his heart that the One had arrived: "That's the Christ. That's the Consolation of Israel." So Simeon walked up to Joseph and Mary, probably even took them off guard, lifted Jesus up, and then prayed to the Lord in verses 30-32, "My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel."
In the original Greek, the word salvation is soterion, and if Simeon was speaking the language of temple worship, which was Hebrew, he would have said, "For my eyes have seen Your Yeshua, Your salvation"—the Lord is salvation. This is the principle I want you to think on these last couple days before Christmas: salvation isn't something you do; it's Someone you know. When you know Christ personally, have a relationship with Him, and your sins have been forgiven by Him, that's salvation. That's why we preach Christ and Christ alone.
You can be religious, you can be good, you can be well-intentioned, but according to the Bible, you need to know Christ personally to be saved. Jesus never said, "My teachings are the way, the truth, and the life"; He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). He never said, "Follow My teachings and you'll get to heaven"; He said, "Follow Me." He made it personal. He made it relational.
Our hearts are designed to be restless and peaceless until our sin is dealt with. And our sin can only be dealt with at the cross of Christ, who shed His blood to pay our debt. This Christmas, remember that true salvation isn't something you do; salvation is Someone you know, and it's in that Someone that you make peace with God and experience newness and fullness of life.
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