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To Do Everything

26 September 2011 by Neil

Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God's justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

The Son of God became incarnate (i.e. human).  Why did he become one of us?  It seems radical.  There must have been another way.  Mustn't there?

The path to the answer tracks directly through Matthew 5:17-22, where Jesus tells us that the Mosaic Law, the covenant of works with all its constituent commands and penalties, remains operative and valid until past the world's end, and that it must be fulfilled and kept.  Kept by man.  Kept completely by man, not dropping the ball even once.

Yes, the Law was a tutor to inform us of our sin and to leave us without the pretense of excuse.  No, none of us can keep it.  Yes, that's a catch-22.  We're toast.  Baptists, Zoroastrians, Methodists, Tom Cruisians, Solomon Porchdwellers, Dawkins Disciples, mormons, and calvinist gadflies... we're all lost.  None of those labels describe anyone that comes close to keeping the old covenant of works, and the consequences for breaching the covenant are fatal.

But, Jesus also tells us in Matthew 5:17-22 why he came to earth as a human: to do everything that the covenant of works demanded... to fulfill the Law.  Jesus did this impossible thing as a man, the second Adam, on behalf of man, to qualify himself as a mediator for humans, in order to save humans.  He would have accomplished nothing if he weren't God (see question 38), but because he was also 100% human, his lawful life and sacrificial death in their stead saved humans.

But not all humans (Luke 13:22-30).  The raw fact is that Jesus himself plainly taught that most people will not enter into the kingdom of God.  And the famous John 14:6 tells us that Christ is the only way.  He's the only human that never dropped the ball.   There is no one else that can save you (Acts 4:11-12), there is no one else that will judge you, and there is no one else that will decide whether you get to approach the Father. If your get-to-heaven plan relies even the teensiest bit on the merits of anyone other than the man Christ Jesus, then your afterlife will be icky.