Results tagged “Christ the Mediator” from Through the Westminster Confession

Chapter 8.6,7,8

|
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world; being yesterday and today the same, and forever.

VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

VIII. To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.

The final sections of chapter eight continue in their summary of Scripture's teaching on Christ as mediator, particularly in relation to the application of redemption to His people. In section six we confess that while Christ's work of redemption was not actually done until after his incarnation, "the virtue, efficacy, and benefits" of it were "communicated to the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world." Adam, Eve, and Abel were saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, just as Noah was, and Abraham, Moses, David, Ezra, the apostles--all believers through church history to the present. Our confession here is of the unity of God's covenant of grace, through its old and new testament administrations. Christ was revealed in the Old Testament era, and his virtue, efficacy, and benefits communicated to the elect "in and by those promises, types, sacrifices" in which "he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman" who would "bruise the serpent's head... the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world... the same yesterday, today and forever." (Gen. 3:15, Rev. 13:8, Heb. 13:8) 

Christ's work of mediation involves his whole person--we confess that he "acts according to both natures." The Westminster divines judiciously summarized Scripture's teaching and advised a careful hermeneutic regarding the revelation of the person of Christ, his natures, and his work. All of this was in response to Roman Catholics who argued that Christ is mediator only as man. 

The chapter concludes by turning to the application of redemption. That is, the divines are summarizing the Bible's teaching on redemption in relation to the individual believer. Christ saves all those for whom he "has purchased redemption." Not one will be lost. He certainly and effectually applies and communicates his purchased redemption to each one. He makes intercession for them. He reveals to them in and by the Word the mysteries of salvation, and effectually persuades them to believe and obey. He governs their hearts by his Word and Spirit--overcoming all his and our enemies--in exactly the ways that are best. 

The reality that it is God's sovereign grace towards those he has chosen does not negate the sincere and free offer of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all; nor does it negate his complete sufficiency to save any. Rather, our confession of Scripture is that while he proclaims "Come, everyone who thirsts... listen diligently to me... come to me, hear, that your soul may live" (Isaiah 55:1-3), all by nature willfully reject His gracious call--unless by the Spirit he regenerates and transforms our hard hearts and minds. This is a truth both profoundly humbling, in revealing our utterly fallen natural condition, and profoundly comforting. Our responsibility is to come, to run to him as he welcomes us to do! As we run to him, we look back and see it is the Father who has given us to the Son--the Son who is our Mediator--and the Holy Spirit is working in us to will and to do his good pleasure. Realizing this Triune love, what can we do but sing in worship and adoration? "What shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:35, 39).

Dr William VanDoodewaard is Associate Professor of Church History at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Visiting Professor of Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chapter 8.4, 5

|
iv. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.

v. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given unto Him.

With chapter eight we confess that Christ our Mediator, in willing humility, pursued all that was necessary for our salvation. Section four succinctly outlines God's gracious revelation of the cost, the weight, and the glory of redemption in Christ. The eternal Son was made flesh, made under the law, and perfectly fulfilled it where we had railed and rebelled against it. In the place of his people he not only perfectly fulfilled all righteousness, but also endured the full weight of its penalty against them. He "endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death..." 

Christ the Mediator finished his earthly service and cross-work victoriously. In the grave his body "saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered... he ascended into heaven." The King of glory, the LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle (Psalm 24:8), conqueror of Satan, sin, and death, ascended to heaven, was seated, and "there sits at the right hand of His Father." 

What is our Lord Jesus Christ doing in heaven? He is making intercession, mediating between our Holy God and the sinful men drawn to him in faith and repentance by his Word and Spirit. He is interceding, reconciling men to God as the perfect high priest who has completed the once for all sacrifice. While we live in the era of gospel proclamation, the final day of this present world is steadily approaching, "when he will return in glory to this earth, to judge men and angels, at the end the world."

Section five focuses on the ends or purpose of Christ's accomplishment of redemption for all who trust in him--with great anticipation of what is to come. Jesus, "by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself", offered up in full completion through the Spirit to God, "fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given him." He drank down the cup of wrath, suffering the agony of thirst, so that we could have the water of life freely; instead of being barren and cursed, through him we become fruitful trees by rivers of water. 

Christ's work as Mediator is "for those whom the Father has given unto Him." Have you been given by the Father to Christ? How can you know? Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst... All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." (John 6:35,37) If you are looking to him for reconciliation and restoration to God, for cleansing, grace and new life, you have come to Jesus. Then this confession is your confession of faith. Christ is your Mediator, his Father is your Father, and His Father is the one who has given you to him. And he, Jesus, has purchased this reconciliation, and inheritance for you.

Dr. William VanDoodewaard is Associate Professor of Church History at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Visiting Professor of Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chapter 8.1

|
i. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

The eighth chapter of the Confession of Faith summarizes and explains one of the greatest mysteries revealed to us by God in Scripture: the Lord Jesus Christ as our Mediator, the ground of our salvation (Eph. 1:9; Rom. 16:25-26). At the beginning of the first section of this chapter we as the church confess with wonder God's eternal love towards sinners: "it pleased God". It was and is his good  pleasure, his joyful, wise purpose, that his eternal Son--his only begotten Son--was chosen, called, and ordained to be the Mediator between God and man from all eternity. To speak in human terms, in his work the Son delights the eternally blessed God. 

The authors of the Confession undoubtedly had in mind what Matthew, by the Spirit recorded the Father saying: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." The Father "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16), who is his heart's delight from eternity past to eternity future (Isa. 42:1). There is a strong emphasis on the Father's love in giving  Jesus to be the unilaterally sent go-between, the Mediator, between Holy God and fallen, rebel man. Our confession of this should be saturated with worship and adoration to the Triune God for His mercy, grace, and love.

The first section further reminds us of the offices of Christ in his Mediatorial role: He is the Prophet, the Priest, and the King. His Word is the final and sufficient Word. His sacrifice is the once for all sacrifice, to which all others pointed; His Priesthood the only and all-sufficient Priesthood. He is the Sovereign, the all-powerful King of kings, seated on the throne of glory. He lives and reigns forever, till all nations are made His footstool; till all his and our enemies are defeated. He is the Head and Savior of his Church; we are his body, and he will complete the good work he has begun in us. He--not America, nor China, or any other earthly power, nor Satan or demons--he, Christ the Mediator, is heir of all things. 

Jesus is the One who will return in glory and majesty to complete His role as Judge of the world. In the great wonder of His love, God the Father has, from all eternity, given a people out of the rebel human race to Christ, to be his children, and "to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified." If God is for us, with His own Son, Christ the Mediator, as our Lord and Savior, who can stand against us? Though all hell may rage, though evildoers and our own sin may dog our heels (Ps. 49), nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8)

Dr. William VanDoodewaard is Associate Professor of Church History at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Visiting Professor of Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.