An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20–21—NKJV)

Salvation is a life giving gift! Biblical salvation, the salvation of a man for eternity, not only is the gift of life but the gift defines life as well. The angel’s nighttime message vouchsafed to Joseph that what was befalling him was nothing short of a miracle of God that would benefit His people and echo through the corridors of time to our age and beyond!

The saving work of Jesus Christ is always worth meditating upon. Salvation is not just a once-for-all rescue, as undeserving of rescue as we are. God’s saving work benefits those rescued both in the past, in the present, and also in the future. Not only is salvation a rescue from imminent danger, but it is also a restoration on the course of life. It is not only a rescue from a tragically fateful destination, but it is also a launching into a trajectory for rendezvous with Him in eternity! A rather beautiful verse in the Old Testament sums up the heart of God which is always evident in His saving acts: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11–12)

If you have been born again through the grace of God, then you can readily identify the story of your salvation (the past). There was a time when God impressed upon you that you were drowning in your own sins, far from the shore of “peace with God;” the undertow of your sinful heart was drawing you down and away, and there was no hope for your lost soul. At a precise moment, out of the blue, the Lord Jesus reached you, enveloped you in His sustaining arms, and breathed life into your dead spirit. It is this moment that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2:8–10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” “Have been saved” has a unique tense in the Greek language. It means a past completed action (finished state) which has results that persist to the present moment. The saving work of God through His Son Jesus is of such a nature that it is a completed act and a present possession—like a diploma upon graduation, the requirements are fulfilled and the credentials are attained—you are saved.

The rescue of salvation does not end there. There is a present aspect of salvation. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” “Who are being saved” speaks of the continual collaborative work in concert with God going on in those who are saved. It is the “redeeming the time” period between our salvation and our entrance into glory. I believe it is this facet of salvation which is active when we meditate and apply the Scriptures to our lives in a plain and practical manner, when we pray and pursue a walk with our heavenly Father, when we daily live in yielded partnership with God—when we live a life of meaning as a rescued son of the Almighty.

The “crowning glory” of the salvation story is the day the believer inherits salvation at his entrance into Heaven. Hebrews 1:14 reads, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” The future inheritance is a family matter—only sons inherit. 2 Corinthians 1:9–10, “We should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.”

This message to Joseph touches our lives today. Jesus Christ’s work was to save His people, past, present, and future. Are you born again? Do you live a saved life daily? Are you a rightful inheritor of the promise of Heaven? Trust and obey.