SAVED FROM OR IN?
T. PIERCE BROWN
In Matthew 1:21, we read, “And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for it is He that shall save His people from their sins.” It is sad that some in the church today seem to think that Jesus came to save some of us in our sins, rather than from our sins. I refer to those who seem to think that a person who sinned by getting into some relationship may claim to repent and continue in that relationship and be saved anyway. However, that is not the thrust of this article, for I merely want to examine some of the things that are involved in saving us from sin.
First, in John 1:29, we find John saying about Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” The word “taketh away” is “airo” and suggests His bearing our sins away. He lifts the burden of sin from us and takes it away as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
Second, in 1 Peter 2:24 and Matthew 26:28 we find the idea expressed that we are delivered from the guilt of sin, for he “bare (anenegken) our sins in His own body on the tree” and His blood was shed for the remission of our sins. This is one of at least three words in the King James version that are used to describe our deliverance from the guilt of sin. In Romans 5:11, we find, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” In my judgment, the word should not be translated “atonement” but “reconciliation,” for it is from the Greek “katallage.” The word “atonement” does not adequately describe what Christ’s blood does for us, for it had to do with “covering” the sin where God did not see it (so to speak). The blood of Christ does not merely cover it, but takes it away. It may be interesting to know that the same Hebrew word translated “atonement” is used in Genesis6:14where Noah was told to cover the ark within and without with pitch.
When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself,” it is reasonably certain that Paul was not primarily speaking of where God was, but where reconciliation was. That is, God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. The word “katallasso” means, “to change completely.”
However, not only did he take sin away from us in the sense of bearing our sin and delivering us from the guilt and punishment of sin. He takes us away from sin in the sense of delivering us from the practice of sin. In Romans 6, we see both suggested. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound” (Rom.6:1)? In verses 10-17 several references show that we are free from the practice of and bondage to sin. So we are saved from the guilt, burden, punishment, love and practice of sin. Praise God!