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Matthew 1:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Jesus - The same as Joshua, יהושע Yehoshua, from ישע yasha, he saved, delivered, put in a state of safety. See on Exodus 13:9; (note); Numbers 13:16; (note), and in the preface to Joshua.

He shall save his people from their sins - This shall be his great business in the world: the great errand on which he is come, viz. to make an atonement for, and to destroy, sin: deliverance from all the power, guilt, and pollution of sin, is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. Less than this is not spoken of in the Gospel; and less than this would be unbecoming the Gospel. The perfection of the Gospel system is not that it makes allowances for sin, but that it makes an atonement for it: not that it tolerates sin, but that it destroys it. In Matthew 1:1, he is called Jesus Christ, on which Dr. Lightfoot properly remarks, "That the name of Jesus, so often added to the name of Christ in the New Testament, is not only that Christ might be thereby pointed out as the Savior, but also that Jesus might be pointed out as the true Christ or Messiah, against the unbelief of the Jews." This observation will be of great use in numberless places of the New Testament. See Acts 2:36; Acts 8:35; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:15, etc.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

His name Jesus - The name Jesus is the same as Saviour. It is derived from the verb signifying to save, In Hebrew it is the same as Joshua. In two places in the New Testament it is used where it means Joshua, the leader of the Jews into Canaan, and in our translation the name Joshua should have been retained, Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8. It was a very common name among the Jews.

He shall save - This expresses the same as the name, and on this account the name was given to him. He saves people by dying to redeem them; by giving the Holy Spirit to renew them John 16:7-8; by His power in enabling them to overcome their spiritual enemies, in defending them from danger, in guiding them in the path of duty, in sustaining them in trials and in death; and He will raise them up at the last day, and exalt them to a world of purity and love.

His people - Those whom the Father has given to him. The Jews were called the people of God because he had chosen them to himself, and regarded them as His special and beloved people, separate from all the nations of the earth. Christians are called the people of Christ because it was the purpose of the Father to give them to him Isaiah 53:11; John 6:37; and because in due time he came to redeem them to himself, Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:2.

From their sins - This was the great business of Jesus in coming and dying. It was not to save people in their sins, but from their sins. Sinners could not be happy in heaven. It would be a place of wretchedness to the guilty. The design of Jesus was, therefore, to save them from sin; and from this we may learn:

1. That Jesus had a design in coming into the world. He came to save his people; and that design will surely be accomplished. It is impossible that in any part of it he should fail.

2. We have no evidence that we are his people unless we are saved from the power and dominion of sin. A mere profession of being His people will not answer. Unless we give up our sins; unless we renounce the pride, pomp, and pleasure of the world, we have no evidence that we are the children of God. It is impossible that we should be Christians if we indulge in sin and live in the practice of any known iniquity. See 1 John 3:7-8.

3. That all professing Christians should feel that there is no salvation unless it is from sin, and that they can never be admitted to a holy heaven hereafter unless they are made pure, by the blood of Jesus, here.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Let us look to the circumstances under which the Son of God entered into this lower world, till we learn to despise the vain honours of this world, when compared with piety and holiness. The mystery of Christ's becoming man is to be adored, not curiously inquired into. It was so ordered that Christ should partake of our nature, yet that he should be pure from the defilement of original sin, which has been communicated to all the race of Adam. Observe, it is the thoughtful, not the unthinking, whom God will guide. God's time to come with instruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divine comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of perplexed thoughts. Joseph is told that Mary should bring forth the Saviour of the world. He was to call his name Jesus, a Saviour. Jesus is the same name with Joshua. And the reason of that name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves from their sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, and from the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them from sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and all misery, here and hereafter. Christ came to save his people, not in their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them from among men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, without delay, and cheerfully, without dispute. By applying the general rules of the written word, we should in all the steps of our lives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction from God, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 251

Said Jesus: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are true servants of God, there should be no question in our minds as to whether we will obey His commandments or consult our own temporal interests. If the believers in the truth are not sustained by their faith in these comparatively peaceful days, what will uphold them when the grand test comes and the decree goes forth against all those who will not worship the image of the beast and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands? This solemn period is not far off. Instead of becoming weak and irresolute, the people of God should be gathering strength and courage for the time of trouble. 4T 251.1

Jesus, our great Exemplar, in His life and death taught the strictest obedience. He died, the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, that the honor of God's law might be preserved and yet man not utterly perish. Sin is the transgression of the law. If the sin of Adam brought such inexpressible wretchedness, requiring the sacrifice of God's dear Son, what will be the punishment of those, who, seeing the light of truth, set at nought the fourth commandment of the Lord? 4T 251.2

Circumstances will not justify anyone in working upon the Sabbath for the sake of worldly profit. If God excuses one man, He may excuse all. Why may not Brother L, who is a poor man, work upon the Sabbath to earn means for a livelihood when he might by so doing be better able to support his family? Why may not other brethren, or all of us, keep the Sabbath only when it is convenient to do so? The voice from Sinai makes answer: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” 4T 251.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 166

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30. TMK 166.1

It is growth in knowledge of the character of Christ that sanctifies the soul. To discern and appreciate the wonderful work of the atonement transforms him who contemplates the plan of salvation. By beholding Christ he becomes changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. The beholding of Jesus becomes an ennobling, refining process.... The perfection of Christ's character is the Christian's inspiration.... TMK 166.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 255.6

Let faith lay hold on the promises of God. Jesus is mighty to save His people from their sins. Light from Heaven has illumined our pathway. Sin has been revealed to us by the Word and the Spirit of truth, that we may not be found transgressors of the divine precepts, and there is no opportunity to plead the excuse of ignorance. The command is “Depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).6 TMK 255.6

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 361.2

Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not in their sins but from their sins, and to sanctify them through the truth; and in order that He may become a perfect Saviour to us, we must enter into union with Him by a personal act of faith. Christ has chosen us, we have chosen Him, and by this choice we become united to Him and are to live from henceforth, not unto ourselves, but unto Him who has died for us. But this union can only be preserved by constant watchfulness, lest we fall into temptation and make a different choice, for we are free always to take another master if we so desire. Union with Christ means an unfailing preference for Him in every act and thought.... TMK 361.2

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