CHRIST OUR MEDIATOR
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all…” (1st Timothy 2:5-6)
At the heart of the Gospel is the the person and work of God’s Son as our Mediator. He was not always a Mediator, though. In the eternal halls of glory, when He dwelt as the Logos in the bosom of the Father, He did not perform a mediatorial function. This was a work which He began to accomplish when He became man. Therefore Christ as our Mediator, is predicated upon His position as the Second Person of the Trinity. Questioning the doctrine of the Trinity is to attack the very office upon which our salvation is based.
The Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God
The Son of God was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so He became human flesh, while remaining “very God of God.” The Doctrine of the Incarnation presupposes prior existence. If the Son of God began life in the womb of Mary, then His birth would have been natural and He would not have been the Son of God. Jesus Christ would have been the founder of another world faith, in the same league as Mohammed, Buddha or even Joseph Smith, He would not have been the Saviour, the Mediator between God and Mankind.
If the Son of God, was incarnates supernaturally, in the womb of a virgin, as the Bible declares, then Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.
His eternal existence as the Son of the Father, distinct and yet sharing the glory of the Father, is fundamental to our understanding of the Incarnation.
The Purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God
The comment by B.B Warfield upon Paul’s testimony is apt:
“ ‘This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’. Certainly we would have to search far before we should meet with a sentence which would sum up more succinctly the essence of the gospel. And certainly we should search in vain through the whole New Testament for any other conception of the mission of Christ than that here so strongly asserted.”
This comment introduces an article that Warfield penned, which he called “The Principle of the Incarnation.” The Son of God became man in order that he might “save sinners”. This was the principle at the heart of the forming of the “Holy Thing” in the womb of Mary, as Luke described the miracle. Warfield proceeds to outline the New Testament teaching on this subject. His description of the emphasis in John’s Gospel is worth quoting also:
“In the Johannean discourses an even sharper definition is attained: he came down from heaven, he says, solely to execute the saving will of the Father (John 6:38-39); to give life – abundance of life – to the dead (John 10:10), to save the world lying in darkness (John 12:47). The emphasis thrown upon this teaching in the great passage, John 3:16, indeed is so intense as to be almost oppressive: the gift of God’s Son is accounted for, it is intimated, only by the intensity of his love for a perishing world, and it is added with explicit iteration, that God sent the Son into this sinful world only “that the world might be saved through him.”
If God was to save the world He could only accomplish this through sending His Son who had been eternally at His side. Therefore when the Logos became man, the purpose was clear, “to save sinners”. The logic is absolute, it is only through the doctrine of the Trinity that we can understand who Jesus Christ is, and why He was sent by the Father.
The Necessity of the Mediator
Over the centuries some have argued that the Son of God would have become man regardless of whether man required a mediator or not. Such speculation is not only nonsensical but heretical. It is clear that Jesus Christ only came into the world of men, in human flesh, because of Man’s Fall.
In order that mankind might be saved it was necessary that one perform the work of a mediator. Job in antiquity, alluded to the importance of a go-between:
“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” (Job 9:32-33)
The “daysman” was the umpire, an independent arbitrator who could resolve disputes by representing both parties. Man’s sinfulness has cut him away from God and deprived him of any hope whatsoever. Humanity is a lost, ruined and damned race reeling from the effects of the curse and living under the pale of God’s justice every day. Job’s “daysman” is the only answer.
We need one to bring us God to us, in order that He might bring us to God.
Without the coming of the Son of God into the womb of Mary there simply would have been no hope for our world.
The Person of the Mediator
Therefore in becoming man the Son of God became a most unique individual. In the annals of history Jesus Christ stands supreme as the God-man. In response to question 21 “Who is the Redeemer of
God’s Elect?” the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Standards replies:
“The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person forever”
Theologians have used the term “Hypostatical Union” to define the change that took place in the person of the Logos when He was incarnated. The nature the Son of God was united to the nature of humanity; two natures, deity and humanity, within one person, Jesus Christ. Therefore the one who is our mediator was born. The Son of God was qualified to represent the case of God, as the second person of the Trinity. He was able also to represent the case of man as one who was truly human flesh. Therefore He could redeem men and women and bring eternal salvation to a lost world.
The Work of the Mediator
The work of the Mediator is captured in the three offices which Christ fulfills; Prophet, Priest and King. We will spend the following studies understanding the work of Christ in accomplishing these offices for us.
The Achievement of the Mediator
No-where is this set for with with as much conciseness as in Colossians 1:16-22:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”