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God Is Our Savior, Part 2
Characteristics of God, God is a Provider
Last week, we looked at how God physically saved his people from enemies and afflictions, especially in the Old Testament. But God is much more concerned about our spiritual salvation than our physical salvation. So that will be the focus of this week’s lesson.
When we look for evidence of God being our spiritual Savior, we find that in many places in both the Old and New Testament, God as our spiritual Savior is simply assumed. It’s a part of who he is just as much as God is love or God is merciful. It’s also clear that God is our only Savior, as we see in Isaiah 45:21–22:
21 Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
This assumption of God as Savior is also found in many places in the New Testament, where Savior is simply part of God’s name. One example of this is found in Jude 1:24–25:
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
If being our Savior is part of who God is, what other characteristics support God’s nature as our Savior? The characteristic that I saw most commonly associated with God being our Savior is his righteousness. We see evidence of this in Isaiah 45:21 above, but we also see this elsewhere, like in Isaiah 61:10:
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
How does God save us? He gives us his righteousness. In addition to his righteousness, Psalm 98:1–3 ties in some of God’s other characteristics with his salvation: his holiness, his love, and his faithfulness.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
What does God save us from?
Now that we’ve established that God is our Savior, what does he save us from? We’ve already seen that in the Old Testament, he saved his people from physical enemies and from afflictions or troubles. But what about spiritually? What does he save us from in the spiritual sense? I found evidence for two things: he saves us from sin, and he saves us from his own wrath. We see both of these in Psalm 85:1–9. It’s a bit of a longer passage, but it shows how our sin, God’s wrath, and God’s salvation are all related.
1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
As I was researching God as our Savior, I really expected to see that God saves us from Satan. In fact, I even included it in my lesson outline. But in all the verses I found, I never saw any evidence of that. Of course, my research is by no means comprehensive, but it was interesting to me that as far as I could find, God’s salvation is completely between us and him. It’s about our sin and his salvation. Satan has no power in this equation.
God’s salvation is completely between us and him. It’s about our sin and his salvation. Satan has no power in this equation.
If God decides to save, Satan is powerless against him. If we repent of our sin and accept God’s salvation, Satan cannot keep us in his grasp. He might try, but in the end, he has no power over us if we are God’s people. I think this was the greatest discovery and change in my understanding from this lesson.
What is God’s purpose in saving us?
Now that we understand that God is our Savior and that he saves us from our sin and his wrath, let’s investigate another question. Why does God save us? How does this salvation benefit anyone?
The benefit for us is clear: he saves us to restore us (see Psalm 85:1–9 above) and to make us righteous (see Isaiah 61:10 above). Being clothed in God’s righteousness is the only way that we can avoid God’s wrath.
But what benefit is it to God? Why should he care if we are saved or not? In addition to the fact that being our Savior is simply who God is, I found two reasons that God saves us: He saves us to be his people, and he saves us to be a witness to others. Isaiah 63:7–9 says:
7 I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
8 He said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me”;
and so he became their Savior.
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
When we are God’s people and following in obedience to him, we will feel compelled to share that with others, as we see in Isaiah 12:2–4:
2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.”
Sadly, despite God selecting Israel to be his people and him becoming both their physical and spiritual Savior in the Old Testament, the people still rejected him and continually turned to other gods. So God implemented the second part of his plan—sending Jesus as a Savior for all people (not just the Israelites). We’ll take a look at Jesus as Savior next week. Don’t miss it!
Each individual characteristic of God study will come with two resources: a word search just for fun (including an answer key), and a list of verses for if you want to investigate that individual characteristic of God more completely.
You can access these resources by clicking here: God Is Our Savior Resources