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Not that Kind of Mediator

08 September 2011 by Brad Williams

Q. 36. Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?

A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Let us consider what a mediator is and why it is important to see that Jesus has two natures. A mediator is someone who gets between two parties in order to bring about reconciliation. The Lord Jesus Christ, as both God and man, is able to understand and represent men because he is himself a man. He is able to understand God because he himself is God. This is why Paul writes in Colossians, "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:19-20).

Jesus, as the God-man, is and can be the only mediator. The Father gave to Adam's race a simple and just command: Do Not Eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or You Will Surely Die! Adam broke that command and all his progeny with him, and we have been clamoring for forbidden fruit ever since. We love sin so much that we have come to think that erring is human. It isn't. Sin is not an essential part of what it means to be human; sin is an aberration. It is a subtraction from humanity, and it makes us all less than we should be.

Far from being a mediator who overlooks and downplays our sins, Jesus is a mediator who has "in every respect been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Jesus was tempted, as a man like me, and he said, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve" (Matt. 4:10). Jesus, the son of man, never bowed to sin. He never rose to the bait; no matter how sorely his flesh vexed him, he remained sinless. His humanity does not excuse our sin in the least; it makes our sin appear utterly sinful. Jesus can say, "Your humanity, your frailty, is no excuse. I, too, am a man." Jesus will not abide any excuse for sin; he is not that kind of mediator.

Jesus as mediator wasn't working on a compromise at Calvary whereby wretched men would give up a bit of their wretchedness in exchange for the favor of a justly angry God. He came to mediate in an earth destroying, family splitting, heart rending manner. He came to deliver a final ultimatum: repent or perish. He doesn't have to say that as God only; he can say it as a man who has no need of repentance.

The terms, then, are simple and very gracious. Jesus, as the representative of Adam's sinful race, has sacrificed himself to the just wrath of God for the justification and sanctification of wicked men. God has declared that anyone who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent from their sin, and love his darling Son will be justly and immediately reconciled to himself. To refuse him means facing the righteous indignation of both the Mediator and the God who sent him. In the end, whether one is a saint or reprobate, all will be reconciled to the fact that Jesus is Lord of All.