Christian Research Institute

The Heart of Christmas – Devotional – Day 24

Yahweh Is Salvation

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.

—Matthew 1:21

Hard to believe, but our twenty-five-day odyssey to the heart of Christmas has almost reached its climax. Today, as Christmas Eve approaches, it is time to turn our hearts toward the primary reason for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ—namely, the salvation of sinners. The very name—Jesus—embodies salvation. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, meaning “Yahweh saves” or Yahweh is salvation.” Indeed, the Bible is God’s unfolding plan of salvation from the fall in Paradise to the promise of Paradise restored.

This Christmas season and throughout the coming year, may you be ever mindful of the reality that God has condescended to use you as the means through which the free gift of the water of life is dispensed to a parched and thirsty world. Perhaps you yourself are thirsty! If so, the concluding words of the last book of the Bible have direct application to your life—“Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17, emphasis added). In essence, there are three steps to this fountain. They are encapsulated in the words realize, repent, and receive.

First, you need to realize that you are a sinner. If you do not realize you are a sinner, you will not recognize your need for a savior. The Bible says we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Furthermore, you must repent of your sins. Repentance is an old English word that describes a willingness to turn from our sin toward Jesus Christ. It literally means making a complete U-turn on the road of life—a change of heart and a change of mind. It means that you are willing to follow Jesus and to receive Him as your Savior and Lord. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).

Finally, to demonstrate true belief means to be willing to receive. To truly receive is to trust in and depend on Jesus Christ alone to be the Lord of our lives here and now and our Savior for all eternity. It takes more than knowledge (the devil knows about Jesus and trembles). It takes more than agreement that the knowledge we have is accurate (the devil agrees that Jesus is Lord). What it takes is knowledge, agreement, and trust in Jesus Christ alone. The requirements for eternal life are not based on what you can do, but on what Jesus Christ has done. He stands ready to exchange His perfection for your imperfection.

According to Jesus Christ, those who realize they are sinners, repent of their sins, and receive Him as Savior and Lord are “born again” (John 3:3)—not physically, but spiritually. The reality of our salvation is not dependent on our feelings, but rather on the promise of the Savior who says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

If you have just confessed your faith in Jesus Christ for the first time, you can rejoice in the angelic proclamation of salvation given to the shepherds on that very first Christmas: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). If, on the other hand, you have already experienced salvation, you have the inestimable privilege of taking the message of salvation to the world.