Christ is called both Savior and Redeemer. As they are used in the scriptures, these two divine titles are closely related–their meanings are often synonymous. However each title sometimes expresses blessings uniquely different for the saved versus the redeemed.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11: 28, 29).
Christ saves us from every affliction and sorrow: there is no hardship or heartache that His tender mercies cannot cure. Isaiah said this of our Savior’s solace: “the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25: 8; see also Rev. 7: 17).
Long before His birth, the mission of Jesus Christ was foreordained by the Father: The Apostle Matthew said this of Mary’s firstborn child:
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21).
Being saved “from their sins” as opposed to being saved “in their sins” is a key distinction that is not lost upon latter-day saints (Mormons), and this is where the significance of Christ as Redeemer emerges. Through faith in Jesus Christ, every repentant soul is not only saved from sin, but is blessed with a redeeming miracle, a profound change in nature:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5: 17).
This redeeming transformation is precisely the same phenomenon as being “born again.” In Old Testament times, Ezekiel refers to this redemption and rebirth as receiving a “new heart.”
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, . . . And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes” (Ezek. 26: 26, 27).
People who are “born again” can be clearly distinguished: because they have a new heart, they walk according to the Savior’s statutes. Walking in the way of righteousness is natural for those with a “new heart”–the redemption of Christ brings about a profound change from the core.
Consider the similarities and differences between dictionary definitions of being saved versus being redeemed.
Save – etymology derived from Latin salvus = safe.
to make safe from distress, danger, hurt, or loss;
to treat carefully, lessen wear and weariness;
to preserve from disaster or destruction;
to set free from consequence;
to keep from wasting away;
to prevent from loss;
to rescue, deliver;
Redeem – etymology from Latin redimere;
re or red = again + emere = to take, buy.
to buy back, repurchase, pay off, make up for;
to carry out, make good, fulfill;
to rescue, reclaim;
to set free;
to free from captivity by payment of ransom;
to rescue from distress, danger, hurt, loss;
to release from blame or debt;
to remove an obligation;
to compensate for;
to exchange for something of value;
to repair; restore, retrieve, reform;
to make worthwhile, fulfill;
to change for the better.
King Benjamin, a prophet of ancient America, recorded these words about the Lord’s reforming redemption:
“And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5: 2).
Alma the Younger, another prophet of ancient America, speaks of the miracle of redemptive change for the better:
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?” (Alma 5: 14, 15).
Another way to clearly perceive people who are born again–those with new hearts–is by observing their very countenance, for it will shine with His light. The redeemed do not walk in darkness, but will walk in the way of Light:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5: 16).
This illuminating change of countenance has been a blessing of redemption from the beginning:
“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6: 24-26).
A shining countenance that reflects His light naturally comes with conversion, a complete turning from old ways:
“Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80: 19).
A latter-day revelation speaks specifically of Christ’s redeeming miracle, His power to cause change, fulfillment, and value:
“For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you” (D&C 60: 7).
1) The Savior saves you from your sins and makes you clean; and
2) The Redeemer makes you better than before;
He is “able to make you holy” and “new.”
This transforming miracle is impossible to achieve through mortal might; it only comes through faith in the Savior and hope in His redeeming grace.
For some people, being “saved” refers to a particular time when Jesus is openly acknowledged as “Savior.” But this moment of heartfelt conviction is just the beginning of what Christ the Redeemer has in store for His faithful followers. The prophet Malachi speaks of the Redeemer’s transforming refinement, making true believers into a valuable treasure:
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3: 16-18).
Again, being “saved” is only the start of what Christ wants for His faithful followers. He wants to make you and I one of His “jewels”–He wants to Save and Redeem us.
For those who believe in Christ and follow in His footsteps, the Redeemer graciously gives a new heart and a new disposition; further, there is a radiant shine that comes with being born again. The words that honor that Silent Night when Christ was born, speak to the birth of our Savior and Redeemer:
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright.
Glory streams from heaven afar,
Heav’nly host sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!
Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth; Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Lord Jesus will save, redeem, and refine the faithful; our Precious Savior and Dear Redeemer will rescue us from danger and despair, and He will cause His true believers to become “new” and “holy,” a “peculiar treasure”–thus worthy to sparkle as “jewels” in the crown of the King of Kings.