Who is Jesus?
Jesus is the Savior.
Why do we call Jesus the Savior? The reason is simple: Jesus saves people.
Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua. “Joshua” means “LORD/Jehovah is salvation.” Jesus/Joshua is the same name. In Scripture, we learn that the angelic messenger of God specifically told Mary (Luke 1:31), as well as Joseph (Matthew 1:21), to name and call Mary’s child “Jesus.” Why? For this reason:
Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
Through God the Son Incarnate, it is revealed that God is our Savior.
Savior from what? What does Jesus save people from? That answer is also simple: Jesus saves people from their sins. But that only stirs up another question: What is sin? As the Shorter Catechism summarizes:
Q. 14 What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Men living in the state of sin have lost communion with God (Gen. 3:8, 24). Not only has fellowship with God been broken, but we are also told that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That is precisely why sinners need a Savior.
Man was created in the image of God and had original righteousness. We were created with the purpose of enjoying continued communion and fellowship with God, and maturing in that communion and fellowship. But having fallen from that original state, we are now subject to our present sinful state–separated from God, deserving the justice and wrath of a holy God. We need to be saved and restored, therefore. Thankfully God chose to redeem and save us by sending God the Son. As Paul said:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:15).
And this salvation is the gift of God, freely offered to all who repent and believe in the name of Jesus.
Our Savior Reveals the Love of God
The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, came and took on human flesh. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, the Son of God became Incarnate through the miracle of being conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary. He did that in order to be our Savior. He took on our human flesh in order to use his human flesh as an instrument to secure the remission of sins, thus accomplishing redemption. Why was Jesus born? For this reason–to save us from our sins, thus demonstrating the love of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
John Murray, in his now classic work Redemption Accomplished and Applied, discuses the love of God revealed and demonstrated in Jesus the Savior.
The cross of Christ is the supreme demonstration of the love of God (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10). The supreme character of the demonstrations resides in the costliness of the sacrifice rendered. It is this costliness that Paul has in view when he writes: “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). The costliness of the sacrifice us of the greatness of the love and guarantees the bestowal of all other free gifts (17).
Jesus is our savior because he is our vicarious representative, that is, Jesus is the second Adam (see explanation in Romans 5:12-19). According to God’s gracious provisions, God the Son Incarnate, that is, Jesus, came to act for and in the place of the sinners that God chose before the foundation of the world in Christ (Eph. 1) to redeem by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That is why Jesus came into the world. To be a Savior, to save sinners from their sins.
Not “a” Savior, but “your” Savior
Lastly, it is important to note that Jesus is not a generic Savior. Jesus is a particular Savior of particular people chosen in him. According to God’s good pleasure, the children of God have been chosen in Christ, and the cross reveals God’s love for his children. Chosen in Christ, these children are crucified with Christ, and have new life in Christ who lives in them.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4-5).
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
The Security of a Savior
There are benefits outside of salvation which flow from the saving work of Jesus. Believers enjoy the benefit of security: we place trust in our Savior, and enjoy peace and comfort in the sufficient, saving work of Jesus. Zwingli was a first generation Reformer, like Martin Luther, and he described the security enjoyed by those saved from their sins by Jesus the Savior.
If we have trusted in God through Christ, then the fruits of the flesh cannot throw us down into damnation. Rather, as Christ said to Peter: [“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31-32).] Thus, we remain firm in faith so that all our sins will be forgiven through Christ, although both the devil and the flesh will force us through the sieve and entice us with sin to despair. But, as Peter’s external denial did not bring him into damnation, so also may no sin bring us to damnation, save one: unbelief.
Unbelief says Jesus is no Savior at all. But belief says all our sins will be forgiven through Jesus, and that he is the only Savior!