Jesus, the Savior of the World

AND WE HAVE BEHELD and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). In these marvelous words of testimony from one chosen to be an eyewitness, John expressed a comprehensive view of the manifold work undertaken by Jesus. He who had existed from times eternal condescended to man’s level in His coming in flesh, retaining all the essential attributes of deity for the fulfilling of his work.

The work of redemption that brought Him here did not require that he remain on earth indefinitely, as indicated by John’s use of the word “tabernacled” (in some versions, “dwelt”) in John 1:14. During the temporary earthly phase of His work, Jesus accomplished several objectives relating to human redemption, as seen in John’s epistles.

Revelation of God

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Because Jehovah is not physically discernible to human beings (1 John 4:12), Jesus came to convey to mankind a portrait of deity in His own person; as John says, he has given an understanding of the true God, apart from the fictitious deities that were part of the Gnostic system.

Apart from the revelation that Jesus was and gave concerning God, all would be adrift in a sea of ignorance of God. We would know nothing of His nature, power, love, or will for us. Because Jesus came, we now know all about God that can be known. Based on this understanding which Jesus brought, fellowship with God can be established. Mere intellectual understanding is not the sole objective of Jesus’ revelation of God: we can be “in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” It is in connection with Jesus Christ that humanity has hope of communion with deity. Apart from the way, the truth, and the life, there is no knowing of the Father, no going to the Father, and no association with the Father.

Propitiation for Sins

Jesus’ coming as propitiation for sins is used by the apostle in 1 John 4:10 as an indicator of God’s great love. Possibly the extent of that love is to be seen in the effect of propitiation (expiation). In this word, the Lord is saying that Jesus was the means by which our sins could be covered and remitted. His is our mercy seat (propitiatory), typified in that covering of the ark of the covenant in the Mosaic system, for it was there that Jehovah manifested His mercy each year on the Day of Atonement in passing over the sins of the people when the offering was accepted.

By means of His own blood, offered once for all time, Jesus made it possible for the Father to forgive sins for all who believe on Christ. Yes, no one is excluded from the benefits of such propitiation achieved by Jesus “for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). From the stand-point of practical reception, only those who are brought into fellowship with God, in Christ, benefit from divine mercy.

Advocate with the Father

God does not want His children to sin, and urges them not to sin. If they do sin, they have Christ as their Advocate. He is fully able to give aid to us in our sins; as counsel for the defense, we can call Him to our side as our helper (1 John 2:1).

While the Lord discourages disobedience, He does not want us to fall away in despair over our sins. He wants to forgive us and restore us to divine fellowship, for He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.

Liberator from Satan

Jesus came to destroy the Destroyer of souls. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b). The word “destroy” does not suggest annihilate, but weaken, remove power from one.

Jesus died, and arose from the tomb, that He might remove sin and death as weapons from Satan’s arsenal. Until Jesus rose, Satan held the world captive through fear of death. Jesus, in His resurrection, gained that power over death, and the victory changed hands (Hebrews 2:14–15; 1 Corinthians 15:54–57). In the last day, when all are raised, the effects of sin will also be overcome—the pain and sorrow that often scourge us on this earth.

Eternal Life

“… God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12). Even in other verses in John’s first epistle, life seems inseparably associated with Jesus (1:1–2; 3:14; 4:9).

Observe that Jesus is the bringer of eternal life and, thus, Eternal Life Himself. Access to eternal life is here conditioned on “having the Son.” Faith in Christ and devotion to Him are the clear conditions of eternal life, both to gain it and to maintain it. If one gains life and later stops believing in Christ, he ceases having eternal life.

Every spiritual need is richly supplied by the world’s Savior.