What does it mean that God is Savior?
There are entire career fields dedicated for people who are saviors. People who have the quality of saving others. This characteristic comes from God who is THE Savior. So, what does it mean that God is Savior? God saves because He is a savior (Isaiah 45:21-22). He doesn't need any motivation to save, nor does He need anything from the object of saving. He saves because He is a savior. This attribute of God brings Him to save at any cost. The cost of saving sinful men was the payment of Jesus the eternal Son of God (Romans 3:24-26, Romans 5:8), second person of the Trinity. His saving is not limited to a persons status or worth, but extends to all men (1 Timothy 2:4). God truly is Savior. This is truly amazing. Let's look deeper at this attribute of God.
Savior an Attribute
Until the past couple of years I had never considered "savior" as an attribute. I would think of the act of saving but I never correlated it with the attribute of "savior." But let me ask a question, "why does God save people?" To this I have gotten many answers:
I'm sure there are many more answers out there. The primary one being His love. I would hear it ringing around in my head because that is what has primarily been taught or thought of by many. God is love (1 John 4:16). But is His love His primary motivation for saving? The world is full of men and women who have an intrinsic desire to save people, animals, the environment.
What is the primary motivation for this? Is it love? Do they somehow have the ability to love others and objects more than the rest do? I don't think so. They desire to save because saving is a characteristic they have. They save because the attribute of "savior" is ingrained in their character. This attribute is found in men because it is of God. God is the ultimate Savior. He always has been and always will be, because it is an attribute of God. He is a Savior. “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:21-22, bold added)
If we don't realize the danger that we face, we won't realize that we need to be saved. This was me for the first 24 years of my life. I grew up in "church" went to youth group and sat in the pews on Sunday. Yet, I didn't know I needed to be saved from anything. Oh, how wrong I was. I didn't realize that I was on the road headed to destruction, to a cliff that would drop me straight into hell. This is most people. But let us realize the danger so we can see the greatness of God as Savior. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10, bold added) Read this verse a couple of times. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what is being said. Let the weight of this set in. All who are outside of Jesus Christ are enemies of God! It is not that we have made God our enemy. Although, in some cases this is true. Some of us are like Nimrod and have set ourselves against God like a mighty man of war. The truth is that God has made Himself our enemy because of our sin. A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. (Nahum 1:2, bold added) God has set Himself against rebellious man. He has made us His enemies. This is terrifying. Continue reading the words of the prophet Nahum, The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; The blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, And will pursue His enemies into darkness. (Nahum 1:3-8) The God of all of Creation. The very One who has placed all the stars in the sky and calls them by name. The One who has told the ocean to come this far and go no further. The One who has created and chs sovereignty over the beasts of the earth and the sea which no man has the strength to defeat. He has set Himself against us.
He has made Himself our enemy because of our sin. We created men did not see it fit to acknowledge God but rather exchanged Him and His glory for created things (Romans 1:23). We have disregarded God, throwing Him aside as if He was a dirty rag. We were created to worship Him. Instead, all we ever did was shake our fists at heaven and said, “we will not bow down before You.” O’ brethren, this was you and I before life in Christ. This is every man, woman, and child outside of Christ who walks the face of this earth. God was our enemy and is still their enemy. With an overflowing flood, He will make a complete end of them all and pursuing them even into the darkness. Just as the floodwaters in the days of Noah filled up every cave, crack, and crevice in the earth. So, will the wrath of God on the great day of wrath destroy every one of His enemies. This is the great danger. The wrath is coming, death is near, and most of the unbelieving world doesn’t even know it. How terrible! You and I have people in our lives that are enemies of God. The marketplace, the workplace, and even the pews are full of those who are at enmity with God.
God THE Savior
It may be a characteristic of man to be a savior. Yet, every sacrifice made by man to save man has failed. Why? The one who was saved will only die at a future date. It has failed because death cannot be defeated by man. Neither can man pay for the penalty of death, either for himself or for another. None escape death because the wages of sin is death. This is not so with God. God is not just a Savior, one of many. But THE Savior, the only one. God is also the very source of man’s danger. Yet, God because He is a Savior is the very source of man’s salvation. Let’s revisit Romans 5:10 with a different emphasis: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10, bold added) Jesus the eternal Son of God, the Messiah which means Christ or Savior put to death the enmity of God towards sinful man. He did this by taking on the likeness of sinful flesh although He Himself knew no sin and dying on the cross accursed by God as He was made to be sin on our behalf. Upon the cross under the full weight of the wrath of God for the sin of the world, Christ died. It is through this death which in the Scriptures is called, propitiation, that God’s righteous justice was satisfied. Thus, God who is at enmity with sinful man is able to be both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. God is no longer hostile towards us who are in Christ by faith. We are reconciled, our relational enmity has been put away in the substitutionary death of Jesus THE Savior. Can you just STOP here for a moment? Marvel at this truth! Get on your face and worship the God who has done such a thing for us. The Scriptures don’t stop with the sacrificial death of the Savior. They finish with His life. This Savior, Jesus, didn’t die and stay dead. He was raised from the dead, never to die again. We are saved by His life! If we were to take a poll and ask Christians how they see Jesus, the popular answers would most likely be: as a baby, or on the cross. Jesus is neither now. For the past 2000 plus years, He has been the exalted Son of God who is at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3-4, 10:12). Jesus the Savior is ever living to make intercession for those who draw near to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25). God’s work as a Savior is NOT done. God the Son, Jesus, is now forever and ever before the Father intervening on behalf of those who call upon His name. He is still working as Savior. Not just Him alone but all Persons of the blessed Trinity are working as Savior. It is not just Jesus the Son of God who is the Savior. But God the Father is the Savior and God the Holy Spirit is the Savior. All of them have been working and will continue working to save sinful man. This truth is not to be confused with the truth that Jesus the Christ is the ONLY SOURCE of eternal salvation. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:9-10) We are not saved in and through the Father. Nor are we saved in and through the Spirit. We are saved in and through Jesus the Son of God. It is God’s will that none should perish but for all to come to repentance and faith in Christ (2 Peter 3:9). This is arguably the one thing of greatest importance that God has been working towards since the fall of man. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4) At the right time in human history, God the Father sent His Son into the world. To redeem all who are shut up under the Law. All who are under the law are under the curse of Law because all have broken it (Galatians 3:10). All who break the law will surely be put to death (Exodus 31:14). Death however is not annihilation, meaning you once were and are no longer. To die under the Law’s curse is to enter the full weight of the disfavorable presence of God. There will be no more kindness, grace, mercy, love. Only the wrath, vengeance, fury, and hatred of God towards sin. To come out from underneath this curse, a payment was necessary. God the Father sent His Son into the world at just the right time in which the chosen method of death was placarding the individual to a tree. It is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13) This is how God redeemed us from the curse of the Law. His Son was cursed instead. As a demonstration to the entire world, Jesus the Son of God was hanged on a tree bearing the full weight of the curse of God. So that we sinful man could be redeemed from the curse of the Law. What a Savior God is!
If this isn’t good news, I don’t know what is. God has made a way for man to be saved because He is a Savior. Saving is a part of the character and nature of the Triune God. He has chosen to save man. Not because of any inherent value that man possesses. God chose to save sinful man from His wrath because He is a Savior. (Some of the content on this page is taken out of my book: Knowing the God We Proclaim) (To discover more about God, see our page, Who is God?)