References: Ps. 23:4, Jn. 10
It is certainly nothing new for God’s people to struggle in life with difficulties, small and great. The normal concerns for life are many: we think of health, economic status, relationships, and many more. Throughout the history of the church, extraordinary concerns have also arisen. Disease and poverty have at times been quite severe. The church has even faced serious threat to its very existence through persecution, which pockets of believers still endure today.
History will yet determine just how our current difficulty will rate, compared to other challenges to life. But we have been and are being challenged in unprecedented ways. In such times, the concept of belonging to Jesus so beautifully and personally stated in the Heidelberg Catechism #1 becomes very precious and a great source of help.
We have discussed how we are not on our own. No matter how much you are asked to distance yourself, you are not on your own. This affects all of us in different ways. Certainly, medical people and civil authorities have their particular concerns. We pray for them and thank God for them. I am sure there will be much discussion and debate as to what their place should be.
It is important we remember, especially now, that the Lord is with all who belong to Him. He has enfolded you in His arms with a protective shield which cannot be penetrated. You need to know that.
In addition to the great, very comforting statement, I belong to Jesus Christ, which we examined previously, it’s helpful to study the further definition of Christ. The catechism, as our confession, leads the child of God to say, “He is my faithful Savior.”
It is those two words, faithful and Savior, that I want to consider with you today. Those are not difficult terms. Faithful means someone you can rely on; savior means someone who saves. Yet as we examine them under the light of Scripture, these words are filled with meaning and implications for life. I would say they are particularly meaningful as we struggle through the current pandemic.
Faithful in the effective work of salvation
When John the Baptist, while he was baptizing, saw Jesus coming, he pointed at Jesus and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” This is the identity of the Son of God who was sent by the Father. He came as the Savior, the one who would take away your sins. He is the one promised by God to Adam and Eve, when the hope of life was given to them. He is the fulfillment of God, taking the curse that fell when humanity failed to keep the requirement of the covenant, when God passed between the cut animal halves, as God made promise of a mediator to Abraham. He is the lamb of God provided when Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac. Jesus Himself said in John 10:27-28 that He will provide eternal life.
That’s who He is. The Savior.
A Savior whose work of salvation is capable of truly saving
He is the Savior in that He is the one who pays for your sins. All of Scripture tells you about this Savior. We will only be able to consider Jesus and the faithful Savior from a few basic passages. First of all, three basic concepts related to salvation.
Jesus taught that He is the bread of life (John 6:47-51). The author of Hebrews specifically notes the blood shed by Jesus as the Lamb makes the reality of sin being taken care of. Christ is the remedy for sin (Heb. 10:19-22). Finally, the apostle Paul speaks of the certainty available to you of this salvation when he says in Rom 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Have you ever wondered when you reflected upon your life? Perhaps as you deal with a particular issue, and you come to doubt, you wonder, Did he cover even my sins? Was the blood of Christ sufficient to pay for even this great sin I’ve just committed?
Have you ever head someone say, in one way or another (I am sure we all have), when an individual says, “Well, this idea of belonging to Jesus, it’s too late for me. I lived a terrible life, I have cursed God continuously, and I have never darkened a church door, so there is no hope for me.”
Well, the aspect of the faithful Savior should be remembered here. When God promised a savior, when Christ is introduced as the lamb of God, when He said “I am the bread of life” — do you believe that? Is Jesus faithful to that reality?
You can count on that fact. It is certainly true. He is faithful to be the Savior, no matter how great the sin, no matter how deep the fall. He is faithful to cover every sin, and the covering provided by Him will satisfy the judgment of God. That is the promise of redemption. That is the good news.
When you are covered by the blood of Christ, you are covered by a faithful Savior.
A Savior whose work of salvation is effective
There is another crucial aspect of Christ’s faithfulness as Savior. Not only can you, with absolute certainty, count on His being capable of saving you, you can count on the fact that this salvation is a certainty for precisely everyone He came to save.
We read of it earlier in John 10:27ff. Jesus was not sent by God just to see what would happen. Jesus did not come and say, “Well, here is salvation; it’s easy and good,” and then sit by the wayside just to see what might happen. He came so that those who precisely were given to Him would be saved.
He is the faithful Savior because He is effective, to put it plainly. He is the faithful Savior because He gets the job done. He is faithful because His blood is sufficient and effective for His sheep.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.