There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.
Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.
Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.
It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”
Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”