“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
While I was a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, I came across a book by C.S. Lewis that awakened in me a passion for words.
But one of my mentors, Francis Rossow, introduced me to the wider works of C. S. Lewis like God in the Dock, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity to name a few.
But the book that really set me on the path of writing was Studies in Words.
I would have loved to have been able to sit in on his lectures at Cambridge in the late 1950’s that inspired this book. As it was, Lewis in this book took me on a journey through the history of English words like “nature,” “sad,” “wit,” and “sense.”
As I read that last paragraph I realize that this doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it just fascinated me that the words we use today have a history, have a life that extends far back in time.
As a preacher and writer, this is important to me as one called to proclaim the Holy Word of God. To be prepared for this, I began to learn the languages of the original texts of God’s Word – Hebrew and Greek. While I took classes in college and seminary and graduated from college and seminary, I soon realized that I never will stop learning these languages and the translations of these languages in English.
I tell you this in order to try to explain, briefly, why our fourth word worth remembering in this New Year is a word that is not used all that often. It is undoes.
“Undo” is much more common. In fact, “undoes” is only used when we would say “he undoes …” in the present tense. Yet we seldom use this tense. We more commonly say “he undid…” or “he will undo….”
This is what Jesus is all about. He undoes sin, death, and the power of the devil.
“He will save his people from their sins.” That’s what this Savior was prophesied to do.
All the saviors up to this point foreshadowed this ultimate Savior.
The previous saviors could save the people temporarily. This is vividly portrayed in the Old Testament book of Judges.
But because these saviors could not undo sin itself, there was always a need for another savior.
There would have to be a savior who could undo sin itself in order to save us all.
He was born for this purpose – he undoes sin. Yet the emphasis here is not that he “undid” sin – which he most certainly did. He undid sin with his perfect life, his sacrificial death, and his glorious resurrection.
But because of his ascension into heaven with the promise to return to take us to be with him in paradise everlasting, his undoing of sin is continuous. It isn’t just a one-time event.
Our savior undoes sin through the ongoing use of the means of Grace – God’s Holy Word and Sacraments.
Yes, Jesus death was “once and for all” (Hebrews 7:27). But because we sin every day, he undoes sin every day through his means of grace.
“Undoes” is the fourth word worth remembering in this New Year.
©2017 True Men Ministries