Christ, Our Mediator

Jesus Christ is our prophet, priest, and king. But why did the second person of the Trinity come to earth to be born of a woman, born under the law? Why was it necessary? Anselm has the best answer to this in his marvelous book, Cur Deus Homo, translated means “Why the God-man?” The answer for Anselm lies in the realm of atonement. It was necessary for Jesus to be divine, since no other could bear on himself the penalty for sin. However, it was necessary for Jesus to be man, because otherwise He would not be a substitutionary sacrifice.

Jesus, in being our Mediator, brings God and man together in one person. It is truly said that He became the son of man that we might become the sons of God.

Jesus’ divine and human natures are inseparable, and yet distinct. One did not become swallowed up in the other. One did not convert into the other. Christ did not empty Himself of divinity. Nor was his humanity a farce. He is fully God and fully man. And yet, He is only one person. Here is mystery analogous to the Trinity. There is only one God, and yet there are three persons. So also, there is only one person with two complete natures in one person.

In another analogy, what is proper of one of His natures is sometimes said of the other, just like sacramental language, wherein what is said of the reality to which the sign points is sometimes said of the sign.

In His office as Mediator, He obeyed the law perfectly on our behalf, thus rendering Himself a perfect sacrifice for sin, and purchasing not only a forgiveness for our sins, but also purchasing eternal life for us. Those for whom Christ died are the elect, and the elect only, though the non-elect receive some non-saving benefits from Christ’s death.

The question of limited atonement comes up here. Christ’s atonement and those for whom he died are like butter and bread. On the Arminian construction, you can spread the butter over too much bread (the whole world), but the butter doesn’t cover the bread (although Christ’s death would have been sufficient to cover everyone’s sins: the point here is that not all are saved). Or, in the Calvinist position, the loaf is smaller (the elect, and not the whole world), but the butter covers it completely. This is Warfield’s analogy, not mine, by the way. The WCF says that Christ’s death *accomplished* the salvation of His people. It does not merely create a chance for salvation. That would be very poor mediation indeed, if all Christ gave us was a chance at salvation. On the contrary, Christ’s death actually accomplished the salvation of His people. Praise the Lord!

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