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W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 12-29-2021

Read:  Matthew 1:20-21, 1 John 2:2

“2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  – 1 John 2:2 

The name, “Jesus” means “God saves”.  We have long championed the spiritual truth that we cannot save ourselves, that good works won’t do it, that only “God saves” (Jesus).  The name  “Jesus” affirms the point: “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).  It’s consistent with Jesus’ statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6).  There is only one bridge to God:  It’s “Jesus” – “God saves”

Still, one may cross a bridge and later learn its name. All of those verses can be read with either an exclusive or inclusive mindset.  God sent Jesus (“God saves”) to be the Savior of the world, not just the Savior of some, 1 John 2:2 (above) makes that point clear.  In Matthew 19 the disciples are astounded that a wealthy, righteous man who wants to redeem himself is turned away and they ask Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”, to which Jesus replies “with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).  All things are possible with God?

Is Heaven an exclusive club – with only “the elect” or chosen few?  I don’t think so.  2 Peter 3:9 says that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance”.  Perhaps our Savior is able to accomplish all of what God set out to do.  The parable of the “lost sheep” tells us that God is not willing to lose even one of His beloved sheep.  I am hopeful.  St. Paul foresaw the great victory, “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).  That name, Jesus, Amen! 

I hear such great hope in Luke’s gospel as the angel proclaims, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”  (Luke 2:10-11) “Jesus” – “God saves”;  He is worthy of our highest praise.  Amen.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom