“God in Christ takes upon himself responsibility for all the world’s ills. God bears the brunt of suffering and evil by subjecting himself to their cruelty and horror. By so doing, he reveals, as he could in no other way, the reality and depth and costly nature of his forgiving love. And by this identification of himself with us and our predicament he draws us to himself in an utterly moral and personal way.”1
Imagine a weighing scale, the non-digital old-fashioned kind which we all grew up seeing in vegetable shops. On one side of the scale, there is the perfect holiness of God, which is the standard we are expected to live up to, and on the other side, is our morality. How can any sinful person possibly be reconciled to an infinitely holy God? Nothing from our side can ever enable us to have a right standing before God. How can we ever measure up to the standards of God?
The Inability of Man
All humans have sinned and always fall short of the holy standards of God (Rom. 3:23). Even the noblest man by human standards is a sinner in the sight of God. We have sinful hearts, and even a good deed is filthy before God (Isa. 64:6). The Lord Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mk. 7:20-23). Therefore, sin is our inner reality for which we earned the punishment from God (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3). We must understand that our every sinful thought and action is primarily against God. Our entire lives conflict with God.
With all his wisdom, man was unable to know his greatest need. The salvation of man was never the plan of man. But praise be to God! God has not abandoned us to our own fate. Though we are irreconcilably alienated from God, the all-sovereign and wise God decreed a plan to save us through His Son even before He created anything (1 Pet. 1:20). In this plan, we see His love and compassion towards undeserving and lost people. Though we are enemies of God by nature, He made provision for our salvation in His Son (Rom. 5:10). God opened a way for us to be reconciled with Him.
The Perfect Mediator
Jesus Christ came to this earth through a virgin woman to identify with the human race. He lived a righteous life, and his life was pleasing to the heavenly Father. He lived like one of us, yet without sin. Jesus’ primary mission was to save us from our sins (Matt. 1:21). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). We needed a perfect mediator who would bring peace between God and us. We needed a redeemer who would redeem us from our sins and its penalty. The eternal Son of God had to become a man to give us a right standing before God. The Lord Jesus’ incarnation and atoning sacrifice was the only way by which God would save us. The Bible calls Jesus the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). The one who is truly God became truly human to be a perfect mediator between God and man.
The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus Christ is the only way to God because he is the revelation of God unto us, and in Him, we have life (Jn. 1:4; 3:15). He mediates truth and life from God. There is no other person or system which can bring us even an inch closer toward God. The word ‘mediator’ means the one who intervenes to bring peace between two rival parties. Being fully God, and perfectly human, Jesus alone can reconcile God with human beings. God meets us in Christ, and we can meet God only because of Christ. Therefore, Jesus’ mediatorship is essential for our salvation.
There are two other words used in the New Testament for the work of Christ, intercession and advocate. Intercession primarily means to intervene, and secondarily means to supplicate. The original Greek word graphically conveys, placing oneself in the right position to influence a person. Vincent says intercession of Christ means, He throws Himself into our case, takes part in it, and He is always meeting us at every point in our lives and intervening in all our affairs for our benefit. Advocate is someone who pleads our case. Jesus pleads our case before the Father. The original word used for advocate also means that He is a helper or comforter. He brings comfort to us through His advocacy.2
The Perfect Sacrifice
In the Old Testament, the priests were mediators between God and Israelites by sacrificing animals for their sins daily. Such sacrifices were ineffective because the blood of animals could not remove sins (Heb. 10:4). All this leads us to God’s only solution that is Jesus Christ, our Lord. The scriptures show us that Jesus Christ is the ultimate priest (Heb. 7:24), and His mediation is effective. Jesus Christ is the priest as well as the sacrifice (Heb. 10:10,12). He took our place by bearing our sins in His body. God imputed our sins to Him and He suffered the consequences of our sins on the cross. God crushed Jesus Christ under His severe wrath against our sins. Jesus atoned for our sins through His shed blood and redeemed us through His death and resurrection. In His death for our sins, Jesus satisfied the justice of God and appeased the wrath of God. Jesus Christ suffered in our place for our salvation. God delivered His Son for us all (Rom. 8:32). Jesus was offered once for all for our sins and there is no requirement for any more sacrifices (Heb. 7:27). Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to save all who put their trust in Him. God imputes Christ’s righteousness to His believers, gives them a right standing before Him, and gives them the hope of glory (Rom. 5:1-2; 8:30).
Therefore, Jesus, the Saviour and the Mediator is the only solution that God has for humankind’s problem of sin. In Christ, the former enemies have become friends of God, children of God, and heirs with Christ. Praise God for the glorious covenant Christ mediates!
1 Brian Hebblethwaite, The Incarnation, collected essays in Christology, Pg. 23.
2 HELPS Lexicon
Dion Steinhauer serves as full-time Bible teacher with the Church at Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana. He is married to Swetha and they have a daughter.