For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
I. THE RELATION OF ALL MEN TO GOD. The unity of God is consistent with all differences of dispensation. "There is one providence belonging to the one God." The apostle tells the Romans that, "as God is one," he is the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Romans 3:30). There is, indeed, "one God and Father of all" (Ephesians 4:4, 5). The apostle also says, "The mediator" (Moses) "is not of one" - one seed, i.e. including Jew and Gentile, for Moses had nothing, to do with the Gentile - but God is one, in relation to Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:20). In these passages the apostle sets forth the universality of the gospel offer. But in the text he infers the universality of the Divine good will from the provisions made for man's salvation.
II. THE RELATION OF ALL MEN TO THE MEDIATOR. "One Mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus."
1. There is but one Mediator. The Gnostic mediation of angels is, therefore, excluded (Colossians 2:15, 18). Likewise the mediation of saints and angels, as held by the Church of Rome. This idea is dishonoring to the only Mediator. There is no Scripture for the distinction made between a mediator of redemption (Christ) and mediators of intercession (saints and angels).
2. The Mediator was man as well as God.
(1) He was truly man, in opposition to the Docetic notion that he did not possess a real human nature.
(2) He was God as well as man in his Mediatorship, in opposition to the Roman Catholic theory that he only mediated in his human nature. The design of this error is to make way for human mediators. It is said to be absurd to conceive of Christ as God mediating between sinners and himself.
(a) We answer that the Divine nature operated in Christ's priestly work as well as the human, for "he through the eternal Spirit" (his own Spirit) "offered himself to God" (Hebrews 9:14).
(b) If he did not mediate in his Divine nature as well as his human nature, he could not have been in any sense Mediator of the Old Testament saints, because their redemption was completed before he came in the flesh. The human nature is naturally emphasized because of the work of suffering and death which is here ascribed to him.
3. The passage does not imply that Christ was not God. He is elsewhere frequently called God and true God, but here there is a necessary reference to the catholic doctrine of a subordination of office.
4. The reference to the mediatorship brings up the idea of a covenant between God and man. Christ is the Head of humanity, the new Man, the Lord from heaven, able to restore the lost relationship between God and man.
5. The mediatory agency is wrought through Christ's sufferings and death. "Who gave himself a Ransom for all."
(1) This proves that all the blessings of redemption come from the death of Christ, not merely from his incarnation.
(2) He voluntarily gave himself as the Victim, yet he is "God's unspeakable Gift."
(3) His death was strictly substitutionary. The words of the apostle resemble those of our Lord himself - "he gave himself a Ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). He was thus the Substitute contemplated by the apostle as the Messiah who had obtained from the Father the heritage of all families and nations of the earth, not Jews alone, but Gentiles.
III. THE TRUE PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. "The testimony to be borne in its own times."
1. Thus the death of Christ is the great message to be carried to all the world. It is not his birth, or his example, or his truth, but, above all, what is the completion of them all - his death on Calvary.
2. It is to be preached in all times till the second coming of the Lord.
3. The apostle's own relation to this testimony. "Whereunto I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not); a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth." Thus the universality of the remedial scheme is represented by the very mission of the apostle himself. He was "a herald" to proclaim the glad tidings here; "an apostle" - let men say what they will, he is an apostle, therefore the surpassing importance of his message - and "a teacher of the Gentiles" - to mark the world-embracing character of his gospel - "in filth and truth," to signalize respectively the subjective and the objective elements in which his apostleship was to find its appropriate sphere. - T.C.
One Mediator between God and man.
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE IDEA OF A MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN? The fact of a mediation between one man and another implies a difficulty which it is not easy to reconcile. This is equally implied in the employment of a government to mediate between two other nations. Such measures are never adopted in the times of peace and of mutual friendship. So of our attitude to God. The fact that there is a Mediator between God and man unquestionably proves that there is an alienation which it is exceedingly difficult to reconcile.
II. ALIENATION DOES NOT IMPLY CRIMINALITY IN BOTH THE PARTIES WHICH ARE THUS BROUGHT INTO CONFLICT. On this subject a proverb seems to have obtained among men, that in cases of alienation there is transgression in both the conflicting parties. "Both are to blame" is a maxim which has prevailed. It may perhaps be important to show the fallacy of the principle itself against which I am here contending. We are often asked, with a confidence amounting almost to the authority of inspiration, "Do you not believe that in all cases of alienation there is blame on both sides?" To this we reply, "We do not, we cannot believe it." If the question still be pressed, we ask our inquirer, "Do you not know that there is an eternal alienation between sheep and wolves; and have the sheep ever committed any aggression on the wolves?" You have all heard of the warfare which goes forward between the angels which kept their first estate and those spirits which have revolted from God. And is it not to be assumed that in this controversy the angels, who have always been spotless in the eyes of Jehovah, were free from the imputation of guilt? Pre-eminently is this principle applicable to Jehovah. Of what wrong, respecting us, has He ever been guilty? Who amongst those that have in former alines charged Him with injury or injustice has ever been able to sustain it? "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God," etc. The objects around us were never created and never designed to be the cause of our transgressions. Our sins are not the result either of the example of those individuals or circumstances which God has placed around us. They are the fruit of our own hearts. There is an alienation from Him in the sons of men, and the causes of this alienation are not mutual: the criminality is altogether with us.
III. BUT WHO IS THERE THAT IS ADEQUATE TO UNDERTAKE THE MEDIATORIAL WORK? In human affairs there are many individuals who are equally competent to settle a difficulty and remove the causes of alienation which exist between a man and his neighbour. And in a great share of the instances which occur, any individual of a multitude that can be mentioned is equally as well qualified to undertake the work as any other individual that can be selected. Not so in the work of human redemption. Here there is but one Being in the universe who is competent to be a Days-man, a Mediator between Jehovah and His offending subjects (Isaiah 63:5).
IV. TO INQUIRE WHY NO OTHER BEING BUT CHRIST IS QUALIFIED FOR THIS WORK. And here I must frankly confess that of my own unaided reason I am incompetent to tell. And I apprehend that had the family of man been left to ascertain by their own intellectual powers what Mediator is suited to their circumstances, no one of them would have been able to discover the truth. His agony for reconciliation burst forth in the affecting question, "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings and calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression; the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Let us go to the Scriptures to ascertain what Christ is; and having thence derived a knowledge of His character, let us draw the only safe conclusion, that on account of the respects in which He differs from every other being in existence, He is chosen to be the Mediator between God and man.
V. WHAT, THEN, ARE THE RESPECTS IN WHICH HE DIFFERS FROM EVERY OTHER BEING? It must here be remembered that in certain respects He is God. I here refer to His original nature. Of Him, John in his Gospel says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Nor was He God only. In some respects He differed in His mediatorial office from the Father. He assumed into immediate connection with Himself a human body and a rational soul. This was done in accordance with the prophets. Isaiah in prophetic vision declared, "Unto us a Child is born," etc. These expressions show the union of divinity with humanity in our Lord Jesus Christ, and indicate His wonderful adaptedness to the work of redeeming men from their sins and reconciling them to God. Are we, then, asked in what respects Christ differs from every other being? Is it demanded in what respect He differs from the Father? We reply, by the addition unto His own glorious nature of all the powers and faculties of man. He is at once Divine and human. Is it again demanded in what respects He differs from men? I reply, He is human and Divine. In these respects He is altogether diverse from any other being in the universe. And viewed in this attitude, we may wonder, and say in the language of the prophet, "There is none like unto Thee, O God!" Having now learned from the Scriptures the qualifications of Him who undertook to be the Mediator for us, we can see His wonderful adaptations to the work which He has undertaken. Human salvation requires a thorough acquaintance with all the wants, perplexities, and temptations of man. In this respect, such a Mediator as He who has become flesh is wonderfully suited to our condition. He did not undertake to help the angels. The work of human salvation also requires a thorough knowledge of all the causes and a complete control of all the beings who have power either to advance or retard it. And what eyes but those which run to and fro through the universe are competent to see all the wants, and all the exposures, and all the means of relief which pertain to the condition of ruined man? What hands but those which formed the universe are competent so to direct all the influences of the material and the spiritual worlds in such a manner as to subserve the welfare of His people and cause them to conspire together for the promotion of their salvation? What other Presence, except that which pervades the universe, can be co-extensive with all the wants of His people who dwell in every part of the earth, who call upon Him for aid at every hour of the day and of the night What other knowledge but that which transcends all limitation, and is strictly infinite, can be adequate to an acquaintance with the condition, the thoughts, the emotions, the feelings, and the actions of all the immortal beings who inhabit the vast regions of His Mediatorship? And what memory short of that to which all past, present, and future things are equally known is competent to bring together all the particulars of thought, of feeling, and of action, which constitute the life of a human being; and accurately to weigh in the balances the gold and the dross of his character; and not only this, but to extend the process to all the sons of men, all the apostate, and all the holy angels? Yet all this knowledge must be possessed by the Son of Man; and all the powers to which we have referred must be held by Him who undertakes the work of a Mediator between God and man. This work has commonly been regarded and taught under three separate heads. The first is His office as a Prophet. This portion of His work was referred to by Moses when he said, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me. Him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever He shall say unto you." In this office it pertained to Him to reveal the character, the law, and the gospel of God to the children of men, and cause it to be written and preached unto them. It also pertained to His work to open the understandings of His people, that they might know the excellency of the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ. The next particular in the work of a Mediator is that of a Priest. He was a Priest, not indeed according to the order of Aaron, but of Melchizedek. As in the Mosaic history no priest is named as the predecessor of Melchizedek, so in human redemption there is no other priest but Jesus Christ. And in this Priesthood His work differed widely from that of other priests. They first offered sacrifices for their own sins, and afterwards for those of the people; but He had no occasion to offer sacrifices for Himself. "He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." He is able to save to the uttermost those that come unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. A third particular in this work is His office as the Ruler and Defender of the people of God. This is called His kingly office. In this respect the apostle declares that God "hath put all things under His feet, and given Him to be Head over all things to the Church" (Ephesians 1:22). Such is the Mediator between a ruined world and the Holy One of Israel. A Mediator in some respects Divine, in other respects human. A Mediator who in the Scriptures is sometimes denominated God, at other times He is called Man. A Mediator who is set apart by Jehovah Himself to be the Prophet, the Priest, and the King of your souls; a Mediator whom, if you accept, on whom, if you rely, to whom, if you commit your immortal interests, you shall yet stand on Mount Zion with songs and eternal joy. This subject calls loudly on us to admire the wisdom and goodness of God. What could He have seen in us or any of our depraved race that induced Him to confer on us such an immense favour as this? All, He saw nothing but evil in our hearts, nothing but vice in our deeds. It was not owing to any righteousness in us, but of His mercy, that saved us. The subject calls on us to consider what our condition would have been had not Jesus undertaken to be Mediator between God and man.
(J. Feet, D. D.)
(R. H. Storey, D. D.)I. THE NECESSITY OF A MEDIATOR. But there are difficulties existing — a mighty gulf separating God and man. He cannot cross to us; we cannot cross to Him. His holiness is one obstacle. "He is of purer eyes than to behold evil." Guilty and polluted as we are, we cannot approach that Holy Being without being at once consumed as were Korah and his companions. We at once see the necessity of a mediator. His justice is another obstacle. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne." Maintaining the honour and dignity of His government was another obstacle. The great Legislator of heaven has enacted a law that sin must be punished, that death must be the penalty of disobedience. That peace on earth and glory to God may harmonize, there must be a mediator. Thus we have noticed the need of a mediator on the part of Jehovah. The mediator is equally necessary on the part of man. Man needed One who would descend into the depths of ruin, place underneath him the arms of omnipotent love, and raise him up — One who could enter into his dungeon, strike off his fetters, and throw open the prison door for his release — One who can reveal the Most High as a God of mercy, compassion, and love, yearning over the wandering prodigal, and anxiously watching for the first sight of a trembling penitent returning home.
II. CHRIST JESUS THROUGH "THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO NATURES IS ADAPTED TO ACT AS MEDIATOR.
1. He is equal with God; He is "the mighty God."
2. He is acquainted with the mind of God.Christ being human possesses three qualifications to act as mediator: —
1. An affinity to our nature.
2. A sympathy with our infirmities.
3. An interest in our cause.From this subject we learn —
1. To admire the wisdom of God in providing such a mediator.
2. The love of Christ in occupying such a position.
3. The folly of sinners in rejecting this mediator.
I. THE ONLY WAY OF FRIENDLY INTERCOURSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. It is through a mediator; that is implied. Whether man in the state of innocency needed a mediator, is disputed among persons learned and sober; but in his lapsed state, this need is acknowledged by all. God cannot now look upon men out of a mediator but as rebels, traitor, as fit objects for His vindictive wrath; nor can men now look up to God but as a provoked Majesty, an angry Judge, a consuming fire.
II. THE ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN. "One mediator," that is, but one. Some acknowledge one mediator of reconciliation, but contend for many of intercession. So is Christ said here to be "one mediator," that is, but one. This mediator is here described partly by His nature — "the Man"; and partly by His names — "Christ Jesus."
1. His nature — the man"; that is, "That eminent man," so some; "He that was made man," so others. "But why is this mediator mentioned in this nature only?"(1) Negatively: not by way of diminution, as if He were not God as well as man, as the Arians argue from this Scripture; nor as if the execution of his mediatorship were either only, or chiefly, in His human nature, as some affirm.(2) Positively: to prove that Jesus Christ was the true Messiah whom the prophets foretold, the fathers expected, and who had in that nature been so frequently promised: as in the first gospel that ever was preached (Genesis 3:15), He is promised as the Seed of the woman.
2. His names — "Christ Jesus." Jesus, this was His proper name; Christ, this was His appellative name. Jesus: that denotes the work and business for which He came into the world. Christ: that denotes the several offices, in the exercise whereof He executes this work of salvation.
III. THAT THERE IS NOW NO OTHER WAY OF FRIENDLY COMMUNION BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, BUT THROUGH A MEDIATOR. And, indeed, considering what God is, and withal what man is; how vastly disproportionable, how unspeakably unsuitable our very natures are to His; how is it possible there should be any sweet communion betwixt them, who are not only so infinitely distant, but so extremely contrary? God is holy, but we are sinful. In a word: He an infinitely and incomprehensibly glorious majesty, and we poor sinful dust and ashes, who have sunk and debased ourselves by sin below the meanest rank of creatures, and made ourselves the burden of the whole creation. If ever God be reconciled to us, it must be through a mediator; because of that indispensible necessity of satisfaction, and our inability to make it (Romans 8:7). If ever we be reconciled to God, it must be through a mediator; because of that radicated enmity that is in our natures to everything of God, and our impotency to it.
IV. THAT THERE IS NO OTHER MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, BUT JESUS CHRIST. "And one mediator"; that is, but one. And indeed there is none else fit for so high a work as this but only He.
1. The singular suitableness of His person to this eminent employment. To interpose as a mediator betwixt God and men, was an employment above the capacity of men, angels, or any other creature; but Jesus Christ, in respect of the dignity of His person, was every way suited for this work. Which you may take in these four particulars.(1) That He was truly God, equal with the Father, of the same nature and substance. For the further confirmation, take these arguments —(a) He whom Scripture honours with all those names which are peculiar unto God, must needs be God. That Christ hath these names ascribed to Him appears from these instances: He is not only styled God — "the Word was God" (John 1:1).(b) He in whom are those high and eminent perfections, those glorious attributes, of which no creature is capable, must needs be more than a creature, and consequently God.(2) As He is truly God, so is He complete and perfect man; having not only a human body, but a rational soul; and in all things was like to us, sin only excepted. That He had a real, not an imaginary, body, appears from the whole story of the gospel.(3) He is God and man in one person.
V. THE SINGULAR FITNESS OF CHRIST FOR THIS WORK OF MEDIATION ARISES FROM HIS BEING GOD-MAN IN TWO NATURES, UNITED IN ONE PERSON WITHOUT CONFUSION OR TRANSMUTATION.
1. Had He not been truly God, He had been too mean a person for so high an employment. It was God that had been offended, an infinite Majesty that had been despised; the person therefore interposing must have some equality with him to whom he interposes. Had the whole society of persevering angels interposed on man's behalf, it had been to little purpose; one Christ was infinitely more than all, and that because He was truly God.
2. Had He not been completely man, He had been no way capable of performing that indispensably-necessary condition, upon which God was willing to be reconciled; namely, the satisfying of that righteous sentence which God had pronounced: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
3. Had He not been God and man in one person, the sufferings of His human nature could not have derived that infinite value from the Divine nature. We could not have called His blood "the blood of God," as it is called (Acts 20:28): it would have been no more than the blood of a creature, and consequently as unavailable as the blood of bulls, etc. (Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 10:4).
4. Had He not been God-man without confusion of natures, His Deity might either have advanced His humanity above the capacity of suffering; or His. humanity might have debased His Deity below the capability of meriting, which is no less than blasphemy to imagine. And this is the first reason, the singular fitness of Christ for this work, because of the dignity of His person. The singular fitness of Christ for this employment in respect of the suitableness of His offices. There is a threefold misery upon all men, or a threefold bar to communion with God.(1) The guilt of their sins, which themselves are never able to expiate, or satisfy for.(2) The blindness of their minds, the cure whereof is too difficult for any creature-physician.(3) Their bondage and captivity to sin and Satan, which are enemies too strong for man to deal with. Suitably to these three great necessities, Jesus Christ is anointed of God to a threefold office, of a Priest, a Prophet, a King: the former of which offices he exercises on our behalf to God, and the last two from God to us.(a) The priestly office of Christ is the great, the only relief we have against the guilt of sin. The work of the priesthood consisted, under the law, chiefly of these two parts.(1) Satisfaction for the sins of the people (Leviticus 4:15-19, etc.).(2) Intercession unto God on their behalf (Leviticus 16:15-17). Both which were verified in Christ our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). His satisfaction, in discharging those debts which His people had run into with Divine Justice to the utmost farthing.(3) His intercession; this is the other part of His priestly office. His satisfaction — that was performed on earth; His intercession is per formed chiefly in heaven. By the former He purchased pardon and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19, compared with verse 21), by the latter He applies the benefits He hath purchased.(b) The prophetical office of Christ is the great, the only relief we have against the blindness and ignorance of our minds. He is that great Prophet of His Church whom Moses foretold, the Jews expected, and all men needed (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 1:24, 25, 45; John 6:14); that Sun of Righteousness, who by His glorious beams dispels those mists of ignorance and error which darken the minds of men; and is therefore styled, byway of eminency, "that Light" (John 1:8), and "the true Light" (John 1:9). The execution of this prophetical office is partly by revealing so much of the will of God as was necessary to our salvation; partly by making those revelations powerful and effectual.(1) In revealing the will of God.(2) In enlightening effectually the souls of His people. In causing the blind to see, and making them who were once darkness to be "light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8) Thus He instructs by His word and by His Spirit (1 Peter 1:12).(c) The kingly office of Christ is the great, the only relief we have against our bondage to sin and Satan. He to whom "all power is given in heaven, and in earth" (Matthew 28:18).
(W. Whitaker, M. A.)I. THAT GOD HATH APPOINTED BUT ONE MEDIATOR, OR ADVOCATE, OR INTERCESSOR IN HEAVEN FOR US, in whose name, and by whose intercession, we are to offer up all our prayers and services to God. Besides that it is expressly said here in the text, "there is but one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," and that the Scripture nowhere mentions any other: I say, besides this, we are constantly directed offer up our prayers and thanksgivings, and to perform all acts of worship in His name, and no other; and with a promise, that the prayers and services which we offer up in His name will be graciously answered and accepted (John 14:13, 14; John 16:23; 24). St. Paul likewise commands Christians to perform all acts of religious worship in the name of Christ (Colossians 3:16, 17). And indeed, considering how frequently the Scripture speaks of Christ as "our only way to God, and by whom alone we have access to the throne of grace," we cannot doubt but that God hath constituted Him our only mediator and intercessor, by whom we are to address all our requests to God (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18). And we have no need of any other, as the apostle to the Hebrews reasons (Hebrews 7:24, 25). "But this person (speaking of Christ) because He continueth for ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood," "since He abides for ever, is able to save to the uttermost all those that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us."
II. I proceed to show THAT THIS DOCTRINE OR PRINCIPLE OF ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, IS MOST AGREEABLE TO ONE MAIN END AND DESIGN OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, AND OF OUR SAVIOUR'S COMING INTO THE WORLD, which was to destroy idolatry out of the world; which St. John calls "the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).
III. IT IS LIKEWISE EVIDENT FROM THE NATURE AND REASON OF THE THING ITSELF, THAT THERE IS BUT ONE MEDIATOR AND INTERCESSOR IN HEAVEN, WHO OFFERS UP OUR PRAYERS TO GOD, AND THAT THERE CAN BE NO MORE. Because under the gospel there being but one high priest, and but one sacrifice once offered for sin; and intercession for sinners being founded in the merit and virtue of the sacrifice, by which expiation for sin is made, there can be no other mediator of intercession, but He who hath made expiation of sin, by a sacrifice offered to God for that purpose; and this Jesus Christ only hath done. He is both our high priest and our sacrifice; and therefore He only, in the merit and virtue of that sacrifice, which He offered upon earth, can intercede in heaven for us, and offer up our prayers to God.
(J. Tillotson, D. D.)
(Sunday at Home.)I. THE NECESSITY FOR A MEDIATOR is distinctly implied. Christ is a true mediator, because He blends two natures in His own, the Divine and the human. When a man is down in a horrible pit, a rope dangling above him would be a mockery if it were far out of his reach; and a ladder set in the miry clay beside him would be equally useless, if the ground above were at an unreachable distance from its highest rung. The only means of communication, which can bring him salvation, must reach the sunlit plain above him, and yet be within his grasp. So is it with the "one Mediator." As the God-man He reigns in the highest, yet reaches the lowest, and as the Son of man rather than the Son of David or the Son of Abraham, He touches every man, whatever his race or condition.
II. THE ESSENCE OF THE ATONEMENT appears in the statement that He, the mediator, Christ Jesus, "gave Himself a ransom for all." The idea of substitution, however little it commends itself to the judgment of some who have often very imperfectly considered it, is unquestionably involved in this. The Greek word translated here "ransom," means the redemption price paid for the deliverance of a slave or captive, and when Jesus "gave Himself" (not money or power) a ransom for all, He was like one who takes the place of a prisoner that the prisoner may go free. If the captive refuses freedom he perishes, but the love of his would-be deliverer is none the less. Most of those who have rejected this great doctrine have done so because they have had pressed home upon them only one phase of it — as if that were in itself a complete and satisfactory account of a profound mystery. The atonement has sometimes been spoken of as a sort of legal transaction, having no essential bearing upon moral character, which will procure acquittal for the sinner at the bar of judgment without setting him free from the usurpation of sin.
1. The God-ward side of the atonement is as important as it is mysterious, but it is not to be insisted upon as it it were all. The Scripture asserts again and again in types and in texts that it is in virtue of the death of Christ that God can justly forgive; that except for His sacrifice the Divine love could not reach us; that by Him satisfaction was made to the law of God, and that pardon was not, and could not be, a bare act of grace. These statements are beyond proof. They concern a sphere of existence about which we know absolutely nothing except what is revealed in Scripture. They have to do with the relations between the Eternal Father and the Only Begotten Son, about which the wisest of us are profoundly ignorant. We do not understand how the law of the Father required the sacrifice of the Son, nor how the death of the God-man affected the purpose of the Father; but are we to say, therefore, that there is no connection between them? Is that the only mystery in life? Why, what do you know of your own existence in its deeper relations? Yet it has been a frequent and grievous mistake of popular theology to dwell upon this aspect of the atonement only as if it contained the whole truth. But we must also remember that Christ's giving of Himself as a ransom for all was meant to have its influence on human hearts. This leads us to contemplate —
2. The man-ward side of the atonement. The Cross of Calvary assured the world that the Divine love, even for sinners, was capable of the utmost self-sacrifice, which taught many to say, "We love Him because He first loved us." But there is yet another phase of Christ's atoning work which must not be lost sight of. We have seen that it vindicated Divine law, and revealed Divine love so as to touch the hearts of those who saw it, but it was meant also to exert an ethical. influence over men.
3. The moral power of the atonement. Many sneer at professing Christians as men who persuade themselves that they are relieved from the punishment of sin, but who show no signs whatever of being redeemed from its power. But love such as God calls for, and the sacrifice of Calvary demands, is really a strong and active affection; indeed, we are told that "love is the fulfilling of the law."
III. THE PROPAGATION OF THIS FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH through the world is to depend upon testimony. Paul says that he himself was a living witness of it. This is our duty too. It may be that we have not any remarkable gifts like Paul's, but we may reveal to others the power of Christ to save from sin, if only we ourselves experience that power.
(A. Rowland, LL. B.)Acts 7:26). His interference was rejected, when he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler or judge over us?" It is not such a mediator that the text speaks of. It is not presumption, not unauthorized good intention in Christ when He mediates. But, again: the meaning of the term is modified by the relative condition of the parties to be brought together. These may be equal; and then each is privileged to commit his own part in the matter in hand to the care of the common arbitrator. A mediator, under such circumstances, becomes an umpire, a judge, a referee, to whom the interest of each party is committed, and by whose decision each party is bound. But this does not come up to the idea of Christ's mediation. A further notion of a mediator is that of one interposing between unequals: one that has been appointed by a superior, who has a right to make his own terms with an offending inferior, and to depute to whomsoever he may see fit the regulation of the manner in which intercourse is to be carried on between him and those with whom he may be willing to communicate. Moses, when called of God to the direction of Israel, is an instance of this authorized mediation between unequals; and, as such, was representative of the one great Mediator of whom our text speaks. By the term "mediator," then, we are here to understand one duly commissioned by God, with whom the power rests, to negotiate between Himself and man, in order, as God's vicegerent, to receive man's submission and obedience; and, as man's representative and advocate, to propitiate God's justice, and to procure and communicate God's blessing.
I. THE PARTIES TO BE RECONCILED ARE "God and man"; the Creator and the creature; the rightful Sovereign and the rebellious subject; the kind Father and the ungrateful child. Strange, it may be said, that there should be variance between such: was it always thus? No: once all was harmony and peace and love. Whence, then, did the estrangement arise? From God? No: the profusion and magnificence and beauty of Eden forbid the entertainment of such a thought. It was in man that the alienation began. But how is the estrangement perpetuated? "The carnal mind is enmity against God": here is the sinner's having learned to hate what he feels he has abused, and manifesting the identity of interest and feeling between himself and that evil one whose cause he now maintains. The very purity of the Being he has injured makes his hatred but the more malignant: the very lack of palliation for his disobedience confirms him in his settled purpose still to sin with a high hand. Thus, what folly and pride began, folly and pride perpetuate.
II. THE PERSON MEDIATING — "the man Christ Jesus."
1. As to His nature, we may remark, that the expression, "the man Christ Jesus," must not be considered as declarative of His humanity to the denial of His divinity. He is "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God"; "God over all, blessed for evermore." But the Mediator is still the "man Christ Jesus." Our high notions of His Divinity must not cause us to overlook or deny His humanity. As His Divinity fits Him to act with God for man, so His humanity fits Him to act with man for God. But He must be sinless man. The slightest flaw in His moral character would make Him a criminal, and not an Advocate — would make His mediation offensive. The circumstance of having a tendency to sin would imply partiality: He would be prone to palliate rather than to condemn, and have a tendency to lower the standard of the Creator's requirements, in order to make easier terms for the creature.
2. Again, as to His commission. He is authorized and empowered by Him with whom alone the power rests.
3. His work is threefold: His atonement, intercession, and mission of the Spirit.
III. THE DESIGN OR END OF THIS MEDIATION, Now, we must bear in mind that a mediator is required to consider the interests of both parties in behalf of whom he acts, and to make terms by which the honour of the superior, and the restoration to favour of the inferior, may be most effectually secured. With regard to the Almighty Ruler, His honour and sovereignty must be maintained, and His glory acknowledged and admired. Man's position is naturally now one of rebellion; but he must be brought to lay down his arms. Christ, in the person and place of man, has tendered and paid the penalty incurred, met the demands of offended justice, and now He tenders the submission of each individual child of man that receives Him as his Mediator by faith. The construction of man in his original form was a wonder of Divine skill: the formation of his spirit in knowledge, holiness, and happiness, bespoke a master hand; but, when all the beauty of this wondrous production had been marred by the fall, to re-construct, re-adorn, re-glorify the whole, was the act only of Him whose thoughts are not as our thoughts. Yet such is the effect of Christ's mediation. Intelligence continually enlarging and expanding in the unclouded presence of the very Source of truth; holiness everlastingly increasing in those regions where nothing entereth that defileth; love for ever glowing with increasing intensity before Him who is its very essence; happiness continually accumulating in the presence of Him who supplies it in inexhaustible abundance — these are the prospects of the redeemed soul: this is the high perfection to which the wisdom and power and love of Jehovah will bring the frail fragile thing that Satan shivered, and sin defiled. The glory of the perfections of Jehovah, then, are acknowledged and illustrated. But another end of this mediation was the good of man. Christ came to procure the outpouring of the blessing which sin had checked and intercepted. God now can visit those who had loved Him in Christ Jesus. We would now proceed to offer a few general observations which seem to be suggested by the whole subject.
1. And, first, how great is the unfairness of those who affirm, and the folly of those who can be persuaded, that the tendency of the doctrine of justification by faith only, is to engender a careless and an antinomian spirit.
2. But another observation is this: How great are the injury and injustice done to Christ by the addition of other mediators! To endeavour to make out a necessity for the interposition of the virgin, of saints, or of any priestly mediator on earth, in order to our availing ourselves of the mediation of the Redeemer, is grounded on no warranty of Scripture, and reflects injuriously on the character of the blessed Jesus.
(John Richardson, B. A.)
The Man Christ
I. He is the man all through; OUT AND OUT THE MAN. In soul, body, spirit; in look, voice, carriage, walk; in mind, heart, feeling, affection. In Him — in all about Him, all He is, and all He does, you see the man; not the man of honour, the man of piety, the man of patience, the man of patriotism, the man of philanthropy, but the man. The manhood in Christ Jesus is very noble, but it is very simple. And it is because it is so simple that it is so noble. None have ever succeeded in drawing His character since. Do you ever think of Him but just as the man? Other men you think of as distinguished by their features. You remember other men by their peculiarities of manner. But by what peculiarity do you remember the man Christ Jesus? Oh! it is a blessed thing to know that Jesus Christ is the man. The man for you, brother, whoever you are — and the man also, I thank God, for me! The man for the strong — the man for the weak I The man for heroes, for who so heroic as the man Christ Jesus? The man for you who toil in the carpenter's shop; in the like of which once He toiled, like you — the man Christ Jesus I
II. He is simply man throughout; IN EVERY EXIGENCY, in every trial, simply man — the man Christ Jesus! In all His earthly and human experience, you never find Him other than man; you never find Him less than man; and you never find Him more than man. He is the Son of God, you know; the Father's fellow. But you never think of His being the Son of God as making His manhood at all different from yours. No! For you never find Him taking shelter from the ills to which flesh is heir in any power, or privilege, or prerogative of His Divine nature and heavenly rank. Thus, as the man Christ Jesus, He lies in His mother's bosom, and works at her husband's trade, He is subject, all His youth, to His parents, He is weary, hungry, thirsty, He is vexed, grieved, pained, provoked, His soul is exceedingly sorrowful, and at times His anger is stirred, He cries, and groans, and weeps, He bleeds, and quivers, and dies. Man's capacity of attainment, man's power of endurance — what man is fit for, what man can stand, with the help of God, you learn from the human history of the man Christ Jesus!
III. He is the man exclusively, pre-eminently, PAR EXCELLENCE, to the absolute exclusion of all others, He is the man, the only man, complete and perfect. He stands alone as man. Manhood, in its integrity, belongs to Him alone. Not otherwise, Oh, my brother sinner, could He be the man for you; the man for me. Let one gather up in himself all the fragments of the manhood which you and I share together. Let him collect in one heap, as it were, every particle of glory and beauty to be found anywhere among the ruins of humanity. Let him take every great man's quality of greatness, every good man's element of goodness. Take all the good, of all sorts, you can possibly discover in the records of good men of all the ages. Mix, compound, combine as you may please, you cannot get the man! For the man to meet my case, and satisfy the craving of my soul — must be no thing of shreds and patches; but complete, perfect, an Unbroken round, in himself one whole. No composite will do. He must be a single and simple unity; one, like the seamless coat, woven from the top through. out. But humanity, manhood, has never been thus one, inwardly and intensely one, since the fall. Men there have been, good and great. But they have been fragmentary; a bit of manhood in each; often a very beautiful bit of manhood; but set, alas! and often well-nigh lost, in a confused, chaotic jumble of inconsistencies and incoherences! And here is the man; the man Christ Jesus. All manhood is His; manhood such as yours and mine; but untainted, incorrupt, one and indivisible, which yours and mine is not. He is holy, harmless, undefiled; and separate from sinners. Nay, even if we could fancy a man more complete still, more completely uniting in himself the excellences of all other men, and more completely excluding their infirmities and faults; we cannot reach the idea of one who would not be more to some than he might be to others; who might be everything to you, and little, if anything at all, to me. No! If we would find one who is to be the man for me, for you, for all; we must ascend the stream of time, and fetch his manhood from beyond the flood, from beyond the fall! Then, in the unbroken image of God, manhood, human nature, the very self of man, was truly and- indeed one. Since then the manhood among men has been manifold and broken and fragmentary. The man who is to gather up the fragments must himself be whole. The only one who can be the head of all, because He can be the same to all, is He who takes our human nature — not as it is now, rent and torn by sin — but as it once was; one in unbroken, pure, and holy innocence, one in immaculate likeness to the Holy One. And who is this but the man Christ Jesus?
IV. HE IS THE MAN TO MEDIATE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. To be the one Mediator, He must be pre-eminently and distinctively the man; the representative man; the one man. If mediation is a reality; if it is a real transaction outside of us; not an internal process, but the adjustment of an external relation, as all Scripture teaches us that it is; the mediator must be a third party, distinct from both the parties between whom He mediates. He may and must represent both. But He is to be confounded with neither, He is to be merged in neither. A man cannot have a mediator within himself; nor can he mentally create a mediator out of himself. He cannot be his own mediator. Every man is not a mediator, nor is it any man indiscriminately who can be a mediator. Nor will an ideal man, springing, as it were, fully grown, from the thoughtful head or fond heart, the living ideal outcome and expression of those human instincts that are opposed to evil, and yearn for good, suffice. No. Not though we give it a local habitation and a name, and call it the man Christ Jesus of Nazareth. If there is to be real and actual mediation in the fair and honest sense of the term, the man who is to be mediator must be found for me, not found by me, least of all found by me in myself. He must be born, not from among us, but from above. He mush be the man, not by assent or consent on the part of earth merely, but by the decree of heaven, or rather by the creative act of heaven's Lord, doing a new thing on the earth, bringing in anew the man, the second Adam! Thus three conditions come together and coalesce as identifying the man who is to be the mediator. First, He must be the man, not as manhood exists and appears, marred and broken, among the children of the fall, but as it was in its original oneness and perfection, when man really bore the image of his Maker. Secondly, He must be the man, not as suggested by men's own instincts, and impulses, and cravings, but as directly chosen, appointed, introduced by God Himself. And, thirdly, He must be the man, as being, in His wondrous person, one with God in the same true and real sense in which He is one with men. All these three conditions meet in the man Christ Jesus. And they meet in Him as the man who sounded the utmost depths of human experience, and in the strength of His pure and simple manhood, aided only by prayer and by the Spirit, withstood evil, mastered pain, and by suffering overcame the wicked one. Truly there is and can be but one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The man —(1) Made, as to His human nature, by special miracle, in the unbroken image and likeness of God. The man(2) Who comes forth from God, bearing His commission to negotiate peace. The man(3) Who in respect of His Divine nature, unchanged, unchangeable, is one with God — the Son dwelling evermore in the Father's bosom.
V. HE IS THE MAN TO GIVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL. He who would do this — must be one who is willing to take your place, and be your substitute; and fulfil all your obligations, and meet all your responsibilities. But more than that, He must be Himself free, under no obligations, under no responsibilities of His own. He must be one who owes nothing to God on His own account; no service, or righteousness, or obedience; and one also who lies under no penalty on His own account; against whom no charge can be brought. In whom are these qualifications found combined but in the man Christ Jesus? For His willingness who can doubt it? "Lo, I come," He says (Psalm 40:7). But willingness alone will not suffice. He who is to be your surety, your ransom, must be no common man. If He is one who, as a mere creature, is made under the law, as all intelligent creatures are made under the law, He cannot answer for others; He can but answer for Himself. Not even if He were the highest of the angelic host could He do more. Brother, thou needest a ransom, an infinite ransom, a perfect ransom, a ransom sufficient for the cancelling of all thy guilt and the perfecting of thy peace with God. No such ransom canst thou find in thyself, in me, in any angel. But God has found it.
VI. HE IS THE MAN TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME. A testimony for fitting seasons, a great truth to be attested as a fact at the right crisis of the world's history, to be ever afterwards preached and taught as the source of life to men doomed to die — is this marvellous constitution of the manhood of Christ Jesus; fitting Him for being the one Mediator, the one Ransom. It is the testimony for which I am ordained a preacher, an ambassador for Christ.
1. It is my ordained and appointed testimony, or rather the Lord's by me, to thee, O sleeper — to thee, O doubter — to thee, whosoever thou art, who art living a godless, unholy life, unrenewed, unreconciled, unsanctified. It is a testimony in due time to thee.
2. It is the testimony with which I am charged to thee also, O downcast soul, who art afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, sin-laden, sorrow-laden, unable to see thy warrant for having peace and life with thy God. I testify to thee, the Lord testifies by me to thee, that all thou needest is in the man Christ Jesus, the Mediator, the Ransom, and in Him for thee.
3. It is a timely, seasonable testimony to thee also, O man of God, my son Timothy, O child of God, who hast quiet peace in believing, and art walking at liberty, having respect to all God's commandments. The testimony to thee this day is of the man Christ Jesus, the Mediator, the Ransom. And it is for every due time, every fitting season. For thyself, I urge thy recognition always of Him of whom I testify, the man Christ Jesus. For, whatever the time, whatever the season, it is a due time, a fitting season, for His being testified to thee, by the Spirit, as being present with thee. As thou walkest the streets, or journeyest along the road, He talks with thee by the way, and opens to thee the Scriptures concerning Himself; the man Christ Jesus, who taught thus of old in Galilee and Jewry, speaking as never man spoke. As thou sittest at meat, He breaks bread with thee, the man Christ Jesus, in whose living, personal, human, and Divine fellowship, the first disciples at Jerusalem did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. As thou visitest the fatherless and widows in their affliction, He goes with thee, the man Christ Jesus, who in all their affliction is Himself afflicted. As thou art wearied among the workers of iniquity whom thou art seeking to turn to righteousness, ready to complain, "Who hath believed our report?" see, ever near thee, at thy side, the man Christ Jesus, who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, and whose prayer on the cross was," Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
PeopleAdam, Eve, Paul, Timothy
TopicsChrist, Mediator, Peacemaker
Outline1. Instruction to pray and give thanks.
9. How women should be attired.
12. They are not permitted to teach.
15. They shall be saved if they continue in faith.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Timothy 2:5
1165 God, unique
LibraryWhere and How to Pray
'I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.'--1 TIM. ii. 8. The context shows that this is part of the Apostle's directory for public worship, and that, therefore, the terms of the first clause are to be taken somewhat restrictedly. They teach the duty of the male members of the Church to take public, audible part in its worship. Everywhere, therefore, must here properly be taken in the restricted signification of 'every place of Christian assembly.' …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Salvation by Knowing the Truth
Seventeenth Day for Kings and Rulers
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
"Now the End of the Commandment is Charity Out of a Pure Heart, and a Good Conscience, and Faith Unfeigned. "
We Shall not be Curious in the Ranking of the Duties in which Christian Love...
The First Lie.
Believe and be Saved
Introduction to Expositio Fidei.
The Substance of Some Discourse had Between the Clerk of the Peace and Myself; when He came to Admonish Me, According to the Tenor of that Law, by which I was in Prison.
And not Without Just Cause a Doubt is Raised...
An Admonition to them who Come to visit the Sick.
Extent of Atonement.
The Fifth Commandment
The Great Slaughters and Sacrilege that were in Jerusalem.
Thoughts Upon Striving to Enter at the Strait Gate.
A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God, Out of the Holy Scripture, So Far as Every Christian must Competently Know, and Necessarily Believe, that Will be Saves.
An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality.
According to which principle or hypothesis all the objections against the universality of Christ's death are easily solved
The Prophet Jonah.
The Preacher as an Apostle.
The Christian Prayer
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