In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve learnt about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life through the mediator Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully human. Today I want to examine why we must have a mediator who is God.
The mediator of God’s covenant of grace had to be fully God so that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God and the power of death.
Humans deserve God’s wrath and death for sin. Paul says: ‘The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men’ (Romans 1:18).
So in order to escape God’s wrath and death, humans needed a substitute who would take on their sin and then be punished with the wrath of God and physical death.
Thankfully, Jesus is just such a sin bearer. Speaking of Jesus Peter says: ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed’ (1 Peter 2:24).
But why is it necessary for Jesus to be fully God in order to bear sin?
Because no one walks away from God’s wrath and death for sin. If you sin or bear sin for someone else, you deserve what you receive and cannot experience eternal life. Unless you are God.
The Bible tells us regularly that Jesus’ divine relationship with God the Father and the Spirit raised Jesus from death. Peter says that God the Father raised Jesus: ‘But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’ (Acts 2:24). Paul says the Holy Spirit raised Jesus: ‘…who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 1:4). And Jesus said he raised himself: ‘I have authority to lay it [his life] down and authority to take it up again’ (John 10:18).
Is your mediator God? If not, your mediator cannot take away sin.
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.