“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”1 Timothy 1:15

If there is a phrase that conveys an event with an unparalleled depth of meaning in simple and concise language, then surely the verse above is it! Take a moment just to consider what this verse, from the word of God, communicates to us.

The first important point is that God’s own eternal Son, Christ Jesus, came into this world. There is a remarkable prophecy in Micah 5.2 that tells us that out of Bethlehem there would be a ruler born “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”. We learn in this verse that there would be a man born into this world Who is an eternal person. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, did not begin to exist when He came into this world, but He left the glory and brightness of heaven for a dark and sin-stained world out of love for lost sinners. Our verse makes this very clear; that when the creator of heaven and earth was born into a manger in Bethlehem, cast out by this world, He was coming from eternity into time to provide a way back to God for all. When He came into the world the Lord Jesus was “made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2.7) meaning that He partook of real human nature, but apart from sin. The Lord Jesus is the only man Who has ever lived a sinless and perfect life on this earth. Because of sin mankind is lost and facing the judgement of God, and as ruined sinners we can do nothing to improve our sinful nature or close the infinite gap between our sin and God’s holiness. It has taken the coming into the world of the Son of God, Who is in His person both God and man, to make forgiveness of sins available to all. But we might ask the question, how is it that by His coming into the world Christ Jesus can save sinners?

This question leads us onto the second important point in this verse. The purpose of Christ coming into the world was to save sinners, but it is not simply by His entrance alone into the world that sinners can be saved, but it is by His death upon Calvary’s cross. It is one thing for us to think about the humility of the Son of God in coming into the world and being laid in a manger in Bethlehem, but we must never forget that He came in to go to a death of shame and suffering out of love for all of us. When the apostles were preaching the gospel given to them by a risen, ascended, Lord Jesus Christ, the central theme of their message was Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Long before the prophecy of Micah came to pass, the prophets had told not only of His birth but of His suffering upon the cross; that He would be smitten, stricken, bruised and that the necessary chastisement for all to have peace with God fell upon Him. The Bible tells us that as He hung upon the cross, “the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isiah 53.6) and it is because the Lord Jesus took upon Himself the judgement that sin deserves that sinners can be saved.

In Ephesians 1.7 The Lord Jesus, Who has known the death of the cross, is described as the only One “in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins”. If you place your faith in him then the Bible makes it abundantly clear that you will be forgiven eternally of your sins and given a righteous standing before God that will make you fit for heaven! There is no other way to be saved and rescued from the peril that you are in as a sinner except by the cross of Christ.

When you think about the birth of Christ at this time of year, perhaps by seeing a nativity scene on a card, or by hearing a carol sung, do not only think about the babe seen lying in Bethlehem’s manger; but think about the suffering and death of the cross that Christ endured so that sinners might be saved. He is now in heaven, seated at God’s right hand and bearing the marks of the cross, waiting to welcome every repentant sinner who trusts in Him for salvation.