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Matthew 1:21

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.
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.

Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 272.4

Because Christ was one with the Father, equal with Him, He could make an atonement for transgression, and save man—not in his sins, but from his sins. Those who have despised His grace will see what they have lost by treating with contempt the One who humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity. They hear the words of condemnation, “Depart from Me. By your example you have caused many to err. You have led them astray from the commandments in obedience to which they would have found eternal life.” UL 272.4

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 169.5

Christ invites all to come to Him, but when they come, they are to lay aside their sins. All their vices and follies, all their pride and worldliness, are to be laid at [the foot of] His cross. This He requires because He loves them, and desires to save them; not in their sins but from their sins. He who accepts the truth longs for transformation, and the light comes to him in bright rays. UL 169.5

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 22.6

The uncertain experience of many professed Christians—sinning and repenting and continuing in the same dwarfed spiritual condition—is the result of worldliness and unholiness of life. The saving grace of Christ is designed for everyday life. Christ came not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. The principles of truth, abiding in the heart, will sanctify the life.—Manuscript 35, January 8, 1893, “Publishing Work.” UL 22.6

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 216.2

It is our duty, as children of God, to talk faith, and not doubt. We are to be hopeful and cheerful in the Lord. Let us not look on the dark side of circumstances, but look up, and believe in the One whom God gave to the world to save us from our sins. Christ accomplishes our salvation by inspiring faith in our hearts and a belief in the truth. The truth makes free; and those whom the Son makes free are free indeed. Let us seek to honor God by revealing a constantly increasing confidence in the assurance that He will accept every soul who serves Him in sincerity. TDG 216.2

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