April 30th, 2023
We confess in the Nicene Creed that “we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ.” In my last note, I considered the significance of our confession of faith in one Lord. In this note, I want to consider the significance of his name, “Jesus.”
The angel Gabriel announced to the virgin Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Jesus in Greek is the same name as Joshua in Hebrew, which means “Yahweh saves.” The meaning of his name is brought out in the angel’s command to Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21-22).
God created human beings, male and female, in his image and likeness to rule and serve in his creation as kings and priests (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15; Psalm 8). The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, listened to the deceiving counsel of the serpent and disobeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Adam, humanity fell.
David speaks for every man and woman when he confesses, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5); and again, “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one” (Psalm 53:2-3).
Every man and woman is born corrupted in sin and under God’s just condemnation: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). The sinful corruption of men and women is manifest in our idolatry, which leads to all manner of sinful attitudes and actions, which transgress God’s commandments (Psalm 115:1-8; Romans 1:18-32). We are sinners, corrupted by sin and condemned for our transgressions. We need salvation.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ. He is named Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins. He and he alone is the Saviour, as the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). There is salvation in no one or nothing else, no political party, no economic theory, no social policy, no educational curriculum, and no religious movement.
The only name under heaven by which sinners may be saved is Jesus. He alone is Saviour and by faith in him alone are sinners saved.