Why Jesus Remaining in the Flesh is Good For Humanity
We’ve talked at length about the covenant and what a covenant is, etc… and so a lot of what we are going to look at today is a repeat, but it’s the good kind of repetition that gives us strength of a spiritual kind. Our Lord calls on us to meditate on the blessed things because we are constantly being assaulted by the bad stuff. As Paul likewise reminds us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” That’s why we do these catechism lessons every week. When we compare the amount of time we spend on frivolities verses the word of God every one us likely should be ashamed in some way. Yet, when we do go to Jesus to get fed we are comfortably prompted to give thanks for the opportunity. As we consider this week’s double Q/A may we drink deeply at the well of Christian plenty:
Q. 36. Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fulness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.
Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.
The best part of the lesson is the fact we particularly get to spend a moment on the Lord Jesus Christ and what it means that He is our mediator. To get a start on it we need to give definition to that word “mediator”. According to the google machine a mediator is a person who comes between two parties, usually for the purpose of settling a dispute. It should be pretty easy to see how our Redeemer fulfills that in the believer’s life. We are at odds with our heavenly Father and someone needs to fill the breach. As you go back and read the Bible one of the things you will see is that at different times and in diverse places different folks in different ways satisfy that place for God’s people. At first of course it was Adam. He was our covenant head, our representative. Now, unfortunately he failed miserably in that work. Yet, even after his sin he continued to be the go-between, then we have all sorts of others, including Abram/Abraham and most famously Moses. He’s the one we usually consider from back in the olden days. Mostly because what do we see him doing? Interceding on behalf of the Israelites. When they get wonky he speaks to the LORD about it, when they get cranky he tells God about it, etc… Eventually of course Moses dies and who takes that role over? Well, it is not who you are probably thinking about. It was Aaron, and after him all the high priests who we mainly remember as being the ones who offer up sacrifices in the Tabernacle/Temple in the days of the old covenant, and they surely did do that. Yet each of these men were always a stand-in until the fullness came in. Our catechism today gives us the good news that one greater than Moses or Aaron or Caiaphas is here, and has always been here!
It should be noted that there is a lot more going on in the Q/A’s than simply a question of the mediator and why He needs to be God. There is a concern to define who Jesus Christ is. So much needs to be said. Each clause is carefully constructed to clearly and plainly testify of the particular attributes of our Lord We need to get that right, because it effects how we understand our redemption writ large. We’ll spend the rest of our space explaining why.
First, He has to be divine because only the Divine person did not break the covenant made with Adam and would be in a position to satisfy the requirements of the covenant. There is also, according to Paul in the Book of Hebrews no one greater to swear by than Himself. So as the new covenant is made in Christ, the Covenant of Grace (which as our previous catechism questions made note of has been in effect since Genesis 3:15, just in different administrations) the reason why we can have assurance is because of the promise of John 10:30, the Father and Son are one, and being that this is the truth we have no need to fear our enemies because we are held in His divine hands.
Second, He has to be human because the first covenant was made with man and broken by man and must be fulfilled by man, since he broke it. Since man is incapable of this due to his sin a substitute, a kinsman-redeemer must be found. That is why Christ must be born of the virgin Mary. He must be flesh of our flesh, yet without the stain of the transgression of Adam upon Him, because if He had that blemish according to the word of God He would be an unworthy sacrifice, due to the fact that any sacrifice offered to the Father must be perfect.
Lastly, He must stay in that state, wholly man, and wholly God, in order that He might continue to be our intercessor, our High Priest. Due to His ongoing physical state there is also a common bond where Jesus’ affections for His kin are a crucial part of His identity as the God-Man, both in His earthly life and His heavenly one. His experiential sympathy is confirmed by His remaining as He has been since the incarnation.
All of this could take up many, many volumes (and they have!), but we’ll stop here for today.
Here’s the extra reading:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church