Christ – The Mediator

A.W. Pink (1886-1952)

For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5). Some unregenerate men, who deny the God-head of Christ, imagine they find something in this verse which supports their system of infidelity, but this only serves to make the more evident the fearful blindness of their minds. As well might they reason from Galatians 1:1 (where we read, “Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ”), that the Lord Jesus is not Man, as to infer from 1 Timothy 2:5 that He is not God. As we shall show in what follows, none could possibly heal the breach between God and men save one who partook of each of their natures.

“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5). “In that great difference between God and men, occasioned by our sin and apostasy from Him, which of itself could issue in nothing but the utter ruin of the whole race of mankind, there was none in heaven or earth, in their original nature and operations, who was meet or able to make up a peace between them. Yet this must be done by a mediator, or cease forever. This mediator could not be God Himself absolutely considered, for ‘a mediator is not of one, but God is one’ (Gal 3:20). And as for creatures, there was none in heaven or earth, there was none meet to undertake this office. ‘For if one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him?’ (1Sa 2:25)” (John Owen, 1616-1683).

In view of this state of things, the eternal Son, out of love for His Father and that people which had been given to Him, volunteered to enter the office and serve as Mediator. It is to this that Philippians 2:7 refers, where we are told that He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” The susception (taking upon Him) of our nature for the discharge of the mediatorial office therein, was an act of infinite condescension, wherein He is exceedingly glorious in the eyes of His saints. To quote again from the eminent Puritan:

“Such is the transcendent excellency of the divine nature, it is said of God that, ‘He dwelleth on High, and humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth’ (Psa 113:5-6). All His respect unto creatures, the most glorious, is an act of infinite condescension. And it is so on two accounts. First, because of the infinite distance there is between His being, and that of the creature. Hence, ‘All nations before him are as a drop of a bucket.’ Second, because of His infinite self-sufficiency unto all the acts and ends of His own eternal blessedness. What we have a desire unto, is that it may add to our satisfaction, for no creature is self-sufficient unto its own blessedness. God alone wants nothing, and stands in need of nothing, see Job 35:6-8. God hath infinite perfections in Himself.

“How glorious, then, is the Son of God in His susception of the office of mediator! For if such be the perfection of the divine nature, and its distance is so absolutely infinite from the whole of creation, and if such be His self-sufficiency unto His own eternal blessedness, so that nothing can be taken from Him, nothing added unto Him, so that every regard to Him unto any of His creatures, is an act of self-condescension from the prerogative of His being and state; what heart can conceive, what tongue can express the glory of that condescension in the Son of God, whereby He took our nature upon Him, took it to be His own, in order to a discharge of the office of Mediator in our behalf!” Nothing but love, love unfathomable, to His Father and to His people, could have moved Him thereunto.

When we speak of Christ as Mediator, we always think of Him as God and man in one person, and that His two natures, though infinitely distinct, are not to be separated. As God, without a human nature united to His divine person, He would be too high to sustain the character or to perform the work of a servant, and, as such, to yield to the law that obedience which was incumbent upon Him as Mediator. So, on the other hand, to be man, or merely a creature, would be too low, and altogether inconsistent with that infinite value and dignity which must be put upon the work He was to perform. Therefore, none but God incarnate, possessing two natures, was qualified to act as Mediator. Let us amplify this important consideration with a few details.

First, it was necessary that the Mediator should be a divine person. “It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that He might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God and the power of death, give worth and efficacy to His sufferings, obedience, and intercession, and to satisfy God’s justice, procure His favour, purchase a peculiar people, give His Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation” (Westminster Catechism, 1643). None but God can give eternal life, and, therefore, none but a divine person could be a real Saviour of those who were dead in sins (Joh 10:27-28). Again, “For man to glory in any one as his Saviour, and give him the honour of the new creation, to resign himself to His pleasure, and become His property, and say to Him, ‘Thou are Lord of my soul,’ is an honour to which no mere creature can have the least claim. ‘In JEHOVAH shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory’ (Isa 45:25) (Hermann Witsius, 1636-1708).

Second, it was necessary that the Mediator should be a human person. “It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that He might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer, and make intercession for us in our nature, having a fellow-feeling of our infirmities, that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace” (Westminster Catechism). The law of God requires the love of our neighbour, but none is our neighbour but who is of the same blood with us. Therefore, before our Surety could satisfy the law for us, He must become man. So, too, He needed to take on Him our nature in order to our being united to Him in one body, and He made members “of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph 5:30).

Third, it was necessary that the Mediator should be God and man in one person. “It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should Himself be both God and man, and this in one person; that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person” (Westminster Catechism). Had He been God only, He could not have died. Had He been man only, He could not have merited for and bestowed the Holy Spirit upon all His people. Had He not been the Godman, our redemption would have been brought about by two persons! Therefore, did the eternal Word become flesh (Joh 1:14)—for ever be His name adored.

Now, inasmuch as the Mediator is God and man in one person, it follows that various things may be truly stated concerning, or applied to Him, which are infinitely opposite to each other, namely, that He has all power and wisdom as it concerns His Deity, and yet, that He is weak and finite as respects His humanity. In one nature, He is equal with the Father, and so receives nothing from Him, nor is under any obligation to yield obedience. In His other nature, He is inferior to the Father, and so receives all things from Him. Here then is what makes it manifest that there is no contradiction between John 10:30 and John 14:28. As the second person of the Trinity, He could say, “I and my Father are one.” As the God-man Mediator, “My Father is greater than I.” Such verses as Matthew 11:27; 28:18; John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:22-23; Revelation 1:1, etc., all speak of Him as “the Mediator!”

In seeking to make practical application of this blessed theme, we cannot do better than quote the following words. “Think of it, my brother, I entreat you, upon every occasion when drawing nigh to the throne of grace, through that channel by which alone you can approach the throne—through the mediation of Jesus—and in that recollection, may the Lord strengthen your hands and heart. That almighty Friend we now have in heaven, in whose hands all our high interests are placed, though once ‘Man of sorrows,’ was, and is, no less, at the same time, one with the Father, ‘over all God blessed forever,’ (Rom 9:5)” (Robert Hawker, 1753-1827). May the Lord be pleased to add His blessing to this meditation.