Chapter 8.4, 5
March 6, 2013
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.