Who is Savior, God or Jesus?
Yes! When a divine title is used in the Bible, and it can be ascribed to different persons in the Trinitarian Godhead, then the title serves to support the doctrine of the deity of Christ and/or the Holy Spirit. For instance, God the Father, Yahweh is Lord (Gen 28:13); Jesus Christ is Lord (Acts 2:36); and the Holy Spirit is the Lord (2 Cor 3:17).
Yahweh is Israel’s Savior in the Old Testament (Ps 106:21). Yet, His promise was to send Israel a Savior, a Champion, who would deliver them (Is 19:20). God declared there is no savior besides Him (Is 43:11; 45:21; Hos 13:4). This, of course, presses the issue of the Bible’s claim that Jesus saves (Jn 14:6; Titus 3:5).
A Savior was born in Bethlehem, who is Christ the Lord (Lk 2:11). The Samaritans were early recipients of grace to believe Jesus was Savior of the world (Jn 4:42). In His role as Prince and Savior, Jesus granted repentance to the Israel of God (Acts 5:31).
Jesus is the Savior of the body of Christ, His church (Eph 5:23); for He came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). Although Christians have been saved from our sins, we are still eagerly waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ to return at His second advent (Phil 3:20). The apostle Paul clearly identified Jesus as Savior (Acts 13:23; 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:4); but he also recognized God as Savior (1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; 1 Tim 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10). In writing to Titus, Paul anticipates the second advent, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Later, in the same epistle, the apostle acknowledges God (Titus 3:4) and Jesus (Titus 3:6) as Savior.
The only conclusion that can be drawn, from so many supporting passages, is that Jesus Christ is God. Elsewhere, He is the incarnate Son of God (Jn 1:14), the second person of the Trinity. He is Emmanuel, God with us, our blessed Redeemer (Is 7:14; 8:8).
Salvation belongs to God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). It is vividly depicted in the Exodus of Old Testament, which was ethnic Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Ex 14:3; 15:2). It also has war, as an Old Testament image (2 Sam 22:3, 36). God’s salvation is commemorated with singing and rejoicing, as a right response (1 Sam 2:1; 1 Chr 16:23; Ps 9:14). This is why salvation is a major theme recorded in the Psalter.
Salvation must not be presumed. It comes to whom God chooses (Gen 17:7; Rom 8:30; 11:5; Eph 1:4–5). It comes at His appointed time, “Today, salvation has come to this house (Lk 19:9; see also 2 Cor 6:2).” Salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed (Rom 13:11).
Salvation is personal. When Jesus walked among the people, salvation was seen and experienced by some, but not others. Simeon declared, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation (Lk 2:30).”
Salvation is exclusive. Peter preached, “And 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).” There is only one way of salvation (Acts 16:17).
Salvation is expeditionary to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8; 13:57), for both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:28; Romans 11:11). It is effectual in finding God’s elect from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9), so that not one of Christ’s sheep is lost (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:35–39).
Salvation is preached and believed by the agency of the Holy Spirit (2 Thess 2:13), wielding the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), the Word of God, the message of truth (Eph 1:13). When the Spirit comes upon one of God’s elect, He washes them with the Word (Eph 5:26), even as He washes with the indwelling act of regeneration (Titus 3:5).
The Word and the Spirit bring to life the elect soul (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), creating a new heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26), and causing the newborn creature to walk by the Spirit (Rom 8:4; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 5:16, 25), in Christ, in faith, in truth, and in a manner worthy of the calling to be the redeemed of the Lord (Eph 4:1).
In conclusion, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the Savior of God’s people, Israel, His beloved church (Gal 6:16), a holy nation of royal priests (1 Pet 2:9), who cannot cease to praise the Triune God of their salvation.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 29, 2021