Immanuel's Unexpected Arrival Part 3

   The angel tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as His wife, for the that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Then he gives Joseph a powerful revelation about the work of this Baby in verse 21…

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
— Matthew 1:21 NKJV

    Here we receive the best news of all about the first Advent of Christ. The unexpected arrival of Jesus to this earth is an announcement that…

God is with us to save us from sin

    As I mentioned to you, I continued to struggle with the same sin over and over again in college. Yet God never left me. He continued to reveal to me that He was with me. I got involved in the Adventist campus ministry on campus. I started serving in my local church in youth and music ministry. God was using me in spite of myself. Then one day one of the elders gave me a one year bible reading plan. Initially it seemed quite intimidating. But then I realized that for me to really get to know God for myself I needed to learn how to hear His voice and understand His character. So I slowly began to give it a try. Then around the same time I decided to read Ellen White’s Desire of Ages along side the gospel, and man, I came face to face with Jesus Christ. It was like I got to know Him for the first time. My love for Him began to grow deep. All I wanted was Him. I began to find my pleasure and satisfaction in Him. Serving Him became my delight and the things of this world started losing their pull on my heart. Because I was satisfied in Christ, I no longer found satisfaction in going to the strip clubs. After three attempts I finally passed College Algebra. When I got the “C” I called my family to celebrate!Then God put the icing on the cake and sent Deedre into my life. My life has never been the same since. But it all would have never happened had I not surrendered to Jesus as my Savior from sin.

    In light of the then popular notion of the Jewish Messiah as merely an earthly king that would get the Romans of the back of the Jews, I wonder what went through the mind of Joseph when He heard that Jesus would save his people from their sins. The very name of Jesus explained what He came to do. Jesus or Yeshua in Hebrew means, “The Lord is salvation” or The Lord, Yahweh, saves.” That is why the angel says you shall call His name Jesus (Yahweh saves) for He shall save His people from their sins! This is why John the Baptist shouted out when he say Jesus in the crowd, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 

    So how did Jesus save us from sin? Well simply put, at the cross Jesus bore your sin and mine and paid the penalty for our sins. He received our condemnation. Our death, which is complete separation from the Father. In doing this He justified us. This is just a theological term, which simply means your record in heaven, when you accept Jesus sacrifice on your behalf, is clear; as if you never committed a sin. All that is seen on your record in heaven is the perfect, holy, sinless life of Jesus Christ. That is why Paul says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” You are covered with the perfect righteousness of Christ. However God knows you have to deal with the daily temptation to sin. So here is what He does. He declares you righteous, while He is making you righteous. He sent you the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of you to help you grow into the image of Christ. So as you stay in a daily relationship with Him, through prayer and the devotional reading of His word, He strengthens your faith in Him (Romans 10, faith comes by hearing) and imparts the beautiful holy life of Christ into you to grow you into His likeness. We simply need to fix our eyes upon Jesus daily. This is what Moriss Venden was saying in his book 95 Thesis on righteousness by faith p. 27...

When it comes to salvation, good deeds are not the cause. They’re the result…In seeking for salvation, we are to focus on Jesus, and by beholding Him we become changed into His image. Any time we look to ourselves we will fail. Either we will see our sinfulness and become discouraged, or we will see our good behavior and become proud. It’ s a dead end street either way. Only in looking to Jesus are we secure.
— 95 Thesis on Righteousness by Faith, P.27

This is how Jesus rewrites your history! This is how He changes your legacy! This is how He brings new life to your family tree!

    Joseph and Mary would go on to discover what I hope we have allowed Christ to do when He comes into our life. His first coming was an announcement that He is with you in your messed up family tree…He is with you in impossible situations…and most importantly, He is with you to save you from sin. You see one of the beautiful things about the gospel of Matthew is that it is an inclusio, which is an academic term which means that it ends the way it begins; somewhat like a theological sandwich. Matthew begins his gospel by telling us Jesus will be called Immanuel, God with us. The he ends the gospel with a wonderful promise from Immanuel. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age.”

    He proved this commitment to you by dying for you on the cross. He calls you today to the foot of this cross. See His arms stretched wide for you. See Him bleeding on your behalf, so you could live with Him forever. He calls you to repentance today. Whatever it is, bring it to Him and He will rewrite your story. He is with you.