"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
- Matthew 1.21
Whether we are 'saving big' at some store, saving a file on our computer, or even saving some ice cream in the freezer for later, we tend to use this word 'save' numerous times throughout our everyday lives. This word can be used in a variety of ways, but what in the world does it mean when we see it in our Bible? The root of this word as used in the Bible has to do with rescue or deliverance. The single most important aspect to consider when we see this word is to figure out from what is one being saved. By this I mean that if I were to say: "I was saved", then the proper question in response would be to ask: "What/who were you saved from?" To be saved implies something from which one has been saved.
The very name of Jesus was to emphasize the purpose of His coming: to save! Yet this was not necessarily the kind of saving that most of the Jews were expecting for He came to save them from their SINS. He did not come to build orphanages, provide clean drinking water and food, or conduct other 'humanitarian' efforts. Indeed He did heal the sick and spent much of His time with the lower classes and outcasts of society. However, His purpose on earth was much greater than that, for He understood the need of man. For man may need food and water, but Christ Himself said that He was the Bread of Life and Living Water. He identified two of the two most basic needs of men, women, and children and then applied that same label to Himself. HE is our greatest need. What does it matter if man is given food to eat and water to drink, yet dies in his sins and so goes to Hell?
I understand the value and importance of providing help for those in need, but I am convinced that we must have our priorities straight whenever we proceed to 'provide' for the needs of others. There is something seriously wrong if more time, energy, and resources are poured into 'humanitarian' efforts rather than the building of mature churches. The most important thing is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God and EVERYTHING else comes second to this. For it through the Word that the Spirit convicts us and causes our growth. It is the Word of God that reveals to us the character and nature of God. It is the through the Word of God that we gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1.1)
So what do we need to be saved from? We must be saved from our sins or else nothing else matters in the end. However, it is unfortunate because hundreds of millions of people all over the world have never heard of the provision for their need. They never will hear unless someone comes and tells them the message of the Christ - He who was made sin though there was no sin in Him, He who died on the behalf of His enemies, He who came back to life in power and honor and glory, He who lives this day in those who have believed the testimony concerning his death and resurrection. How then will we choose to live?
"and they were saying to the woman, 'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.' "
- John 4.42