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Titus 3:4-7 (ESV):

4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Who is our Savior: God (v4) or Jesus Christ (v6)? Are there two Saviors?

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  • Don't you mean : What group of people does the possessive pronoun "Our" refer to? Apr 18 at 0:33
  • “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:1,2) Apr 18 at 0:55
  • @חִידָה : "our" would be referring to the ones being saved. The question is not asking about those being saved, but the one(s) doing the saving. So, no "What group of people does the possessive pronoun "Our" refer to?" is not the question.
    – Make42
    Apr 18 at 14:48
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We find this precedent in the OT:

  • Isa 43:3, 11 - For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ... I, yes I, am the LORD and there is no Savior but Me.
  • Isa 45:17, 21 - But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; ... Who foretold this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is none but Me.

In the NT we find a similar story: we find the phrase "God our Savior many times such as, 1 Tim 1:1, 2:3, Jude 25, Titus 1:3, 2:10, 3;4, etc. But here is the rub - Jesus is also called the Savior:

  • Matt 1:21 - She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
  • Acts 4:11, 12 - This Jesus ... Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  • 2 Tim 1:10 - And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel,
  • Tit 1:4 - Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. [Compare V3, "God our Savior"]
  • Tit 2:13 - as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. [Compare V10 "God our Savior".]
  • Tit 3:6 - This is the Spirit He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior [Compare v4, "God our Savior.]
  • 2 Pet 1:1, 11 - To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours ... and you will receive a lavish reception into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thus, BOTH the Father and Jesus are called "our Savior" in the NT and the unity is demonstrated by the precedents in Isa quoted above.

Thus, it is immediately clear that Jesus as Savior, according to Isa 43 & 45 is Savior and God and so is the Father. Let there be no doubt that while Jesus endured the mocking and abuse of the incarnation and death by crucifixion, these events pierced the heart of the Father as much as Jesus. BOTH were involved in our salvation - BUT - there is only one God!

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  • 2
    "these events pierced the heart of the Father" -- that sounds like a form of Patripassianism, which I think most Christians reject, as God cannot suffer. Apr 18 at 18:31
  • 5
    @BrianMcCutchon - are you suggesting that God does not feel love (1 John 4:8, 16) nor anger and grief(Gen. 6:6; Ex. 4:14)?
    – Dottard
    Apr 18 at 20:54
  • 2
    God loves, but not according to emotions, so no, he does not "feel" love. Neither does he feel anger or grief, for God does not change (James 1:17). See Impassibility. Scripture, however, frequently uses anthropomorphic language when speaking about God, speaking as though he has emotions in order to communicate some other truth to us, like how bad our sins are. Apr 19 at 3:10
  • 1
    @BrianMcCutchon - I do not subscribe to an emotionless unfeeling God. God is love and kind and generous and is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities"
    – Dottard
    Apr 19 at 10:33
  • Heb 4:15 is about how Christ, due to the incarnation, has personal experience of our infirmity. It has nothing to due with whether he or the Father can experience emotion in their divinity. (Christ can, of course, still experience emotion in his humanity.) And emotion is not necessary in order to be kind or generous or even to love. Emotions are changing, but God's love is permanent. Moreover, emotions are irrational, but God has perfect reason. Oct 11 at 4:51
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God is the one Savior [1] who saves through our Lord Jesus Christ [2] .

[1] Isa. 43:11
11I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior.
[2] Jude 1:25 NLT
25All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Christ is not Savior in His own capacity for He requires God to save Him. [3]

[3] Heb. 5:7 CEV
7God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers.
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  • 1
    +! "Christ is not Savior in His own capacity" Very good point. Aug 17 at 16:13
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Although it is commonplace to apply the title of Savior to Jesus, Paul uses it to refer to God the Father as well.

--

A relevant parallel

Compare to 1 Timothy 1:1:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

I do not doubt there are those who would interpret this passage differently, but I find the Greek to clearly describe God as our Savior and Jesus Christ as our hope--Paul produces a somewhat poetic couplet:

Θεοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν

And

Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν

--

God the Father

That it is God the Father that Paul has in mind here is evident by comparing this verse with the openings to several of Paul's other epistles, e.g.

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 1:1)

(See also 2 Thess 1:1 & Galatians 1:1 for further examples)

--

Who is the Savior?

"Savior" means one who saves. In this general sense there can be many who are saviors because they participate in the work of salvation--this I believe is what Obadiah (poor guy never gets quoted so I thought I'd give him a shout out) has in mind:

And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s (Obadiah 21).

There are many who participate in bringing a soul to salvation, including those who labor to preach, love, serve, and correct (see Romans 10:14-18). But there is something transcendentally greater taking place in the salvation of a soul.

Let's imagine there's a man who has been shipwrecked--we'll call him Paul. Paul manages to send a message that he's been shipwrecked and has taken refuge on an island--we'll call it Malta. Somebody in Rome receives Paul's message and sends a trusted captain out in a boat to rescue Paul (yes I realize Acts 28 didn't really play out quite this way =) ).

Who saved Paul--the person who got the message and organized the rescue, or the person who actually came to get him? The answer is both.

1 John 4:14 favors the common usage of the term Savior to apply to Jesus:

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

But it was the Father who sent Jesus, so of course it is appropriate to honor the Father's role in Salvation by referring to Him as a Savior--it is His plan of salvation.

--

Conclusion

Is there more than one Savior? To build upon my metaphor, two Saviors would seem to be a fair description if more than one rescue boat had been sent. But the Father sent one and only one rescue boat--God the Father and Jesus play distinct roles but were completely aligned on the rescue plan.

Although we could define "savior" broadly to include many people--including whoever taught us the gospel--there is an important scriptural sense in which there is only one Savior: there is only one in whose name Salvation comes. Speaking of Jesus, Peter taught:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

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  • 1
    +1 Excellent response - now I don't need to write one. ;) This is the author-agent distinction. God is the author of salvation, and referenced many times as such. Jesus is the agent of salvation. Jesus himself makes this very clear. Just as they are both called 'Saviour' at various places, they are both called 'Lord' and 'Alpha and Omega'. Aug 17 at 16:05
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Who is our Savior: God or Jesus?

Who is our Savior: God (v4) or Jesus Christ (v6)? Are there two Saviors? BOTH.

Salvation is provided by God through Jesus Christ for all men believers

1 Timothy 4:10 NASB

10 For it is for this we labor and strive because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.

A great crowd from the tribulation is shown at Revelation 7:9, 10 attributing salvation to God and to the Lamb.

Revelation 7:9-10 NASB

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they *cried out with a loud voice, saying,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

The ransom sacrifice is the basis for salvation, and as King and Priest Christ Jesus has the authority and power “to save completely those who are approaching God through him.” (Heb 7:23-25, John 3:16-17)

Hebrews 7:23-25 NASB

23 [a]The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing; 24 Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

John 3:16-17 NASB

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

3

God and Father is the ultimate saviour.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour 1 Tim 2:3

He has prepared the plan, which included Jesus to be the Lamb, hence saviour.

God, who needed a perfect sacrifice for sin, could not save without the Lamb, the logos become flesh. Jesus could not be saviour without his God helping him get to the cross without sin Heb 5:7.

or our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ Phil 3:20

There was mention of a ‘rescue boat’. Indeed, Jesus may be that boat, in which all are saved, but God was steering the boat. He built the boat, commissioned the boat, and took great delight in its maiden voyage!

Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified Acts 2:36

Jesus is the Lamb, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Root of David and many other glorious names and titles. He is also Saviour. A name God is also called - but God is never called Messiah, the Lamb, the Root of David etc.

So they share the role of Saviour in quite different ways. God has the responsibility of having a plan of salvation. Jesus has the role of being the fulfilment of that plan which was in place before the world began - as Saviour in God's service and for all mankind.

They cannot do each other's role of Saviour. God cannot die or be tempted, Jesus cannot orchestrate the details of salvation - but he has a vital role that no one else could do.

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  • 1
    By saying God the Father is the ultimate Saviour, are you implying that there is a penultimate Saviour? If so. that would infer that you believe there are two Saviours -the main Saviour and a subsidiary, secondary Saviour. And by saying 'God... could not save without the Lamb, the logos", if you think the Lamb was created by God, then you are really saying that God is limited in what he can do, needing to rely on one of his creatures to do work on his behalf which he could not have done himself. Or have I misunderstood your answer?
    – Anne
    Apr 21 at 14:47
  • @Anne apols, never saw your comment till now. Yes, He could not save by the means chosen - to have a sinless man who would die as the Lamb, without Jesus. As the Saviour God, He had a plan, that plan required Jesus. Just as the plan required the serpent. God couldn't fulfil either task by Himself. God cannot die! God cannot tempt or do evil.
    – steveowen
    Aug 16 at 12:22
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    @Anne, the Catholic and Orthodox creeds do state that the Father alone is the ultimate uncaused God, while the Son is begotten (alternative word for creation) as well as the Spirit. So it is a Catholic doctrine that holds hierarchy and status in the Trinity.
    – Michael16
    Aug 16 at 13:23
  • Given that the Word of God, who later became the man, Jesus, agreed with the Father before creation started as to this plan of salvation, it was designed by them to the nth degree way back in eternity, the Word agreeing to become incarnate at a future time. It wasn’t a case of ‘could not’, but ‘would not’ save us without the incarnation. The Father did not die. The Son died and rose in triumph as he was sinless. The plan was determined and as good as done way back before Jesus came, Rev. 13:8 saying he is the “Lamb slain from the creation of the world”.
    – Anne
    Aug 17 at 8:03
  • @Michael, the Q is not about the ultimate, uncaused God, but asks if there are 2 divine Saviours. I know the Trinity doctrine shows the Son to be the only-begotten but it does not say that’s an alternative word for ‘creation’. It maintains the unique roles and inter-related harmony of the three uncreated ‘persons’ in the one Being of God (the Godhead). Isaiah 43:11:” Apart from me there is no saviour” Hosea 13:4 “You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Saviour except me”. But Christians acknowledge the risen Christ as Lord and Saviour, without contradiction!
    – Anne
    Aug 17 at 8:12
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Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through (G1223 dia) Jesus Christ our Saviour;
G1223 dia may be interpreted as C) of means; C)ii) by means of

Based on the above translation would it be feasible to assume: We are saved by God, our Saviour through (G1223 means of) Jesus Christ, the signatory of the renewed covenant of peace.

Hebrews 10:16-17 "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." 17 Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."
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Only 1 saviour God.

Isaiah 43:11 - I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no saviour.

Yet I [am] the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for [there is] no saviour beside me. (Hosea 13:4)

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1:47)

“I do not accept praise from men” (John 5:41)

Matthew 15:9 - in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (only worship one God)

John 14:28 - You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Mark 7:7 - in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus never stated anything different, this all came after Jesus mainly from Paul

The phrase “Lord and Saviour” originated from the epistle of 2Peter, the most doubtful book in the New Testament. The Church Father Origen (185-254 CE) was the first to mention it by name! 2Peter was not accepted by the Church until the 4th century.

Jesus prayed to the only saviour

Hebrews 5:7 - 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Luke 22:44 - And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Was Jesus prayers answered by God see link: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/62632/33268

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The Scripture is consistently clear in declaring that it is, ‘ ... God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus ... (2 Timothy 1:8-9. & Ephesians 1:3-14 provide a detailed account in response to the question).

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