A Superior Priest Mediating a Better Covenant pt.2
a. Engage: The decades following the birth of the Reformation brought a flowering and production as in no other period of the Church’s life and history of Creeds, Catechisms and Confessions of faith. The names of some of these are very familiar to us, others not known at all. In fact, many of us who have grown up in Christian churches have never confronted a Creed or Confession beyond the two so-called universal creeds, the Apostles’ and the Nicene. Perhaps the most well known confession of Faith among Conservation, orthodox evangelicals is what are called the Westminster standards (Confession, WSC ,and WLC) The WCF and its near clone the London Baptist Confession are made up of sections referred to as chapters. Each chapter divided into numbered paragraphs. The Chapters cover all the major points of doctrine including Scripture, the Existence and attributes of God, The Trinity, The Work of Christ, the Sacraments, and the nature of the Church. It is to be noted that the two longest chapters are 1st the Scripture and 2nd (not God, the Trinity or Any of the aspects of our salvation—but) The work of Christ as mediator. Mediator is probably not the first thing that comes to our minds when we think of our relationship with God. It is this great subject that we return out attention to this morning using both our test Heb. 8:6-13 and the Single verse we read earlier, II Time 2:5
i. Christ our Great High Priest who intercedes
ii. Christ our Great High Priest who ministers in heaven
iii. We also introduced the next concept of our Great High Priests as a Mediator of a Covenant. He is the one who stands between the Holy God and the Ruined Sinner and brings the two parties together. His present role and the superior excellence of his work is also seen in his work as a mediator of a better covenant. With this phrase our author is making a transition from his subject of the superiority of the new priesthood over the old to the subject of a better covenant.
i. Come back to a Working definition of the Role of Mediator
ii. Requirements of a proper Mediator
iii. Implications and applications of this great role
d. Big Idea; To understand Christ’s role as mediator is the primary way of understanding the whole of the work of salvation (Soteriology)
2. That is the role of a mediator defined
a. Go-between or literally a middle man
i. OT use of the word mediator = 0. Instead we have:
1. Umpire or Daysman Job. 9:33 One who stand between and puts hands on both. He was called a daysman because he would hear the complaint and then chose a day when he would hear both sides and decide the case
2. One who stands in the Gap. a. Moses Psalm 106:23 No One! But God becomes his own mediator. b. Isaiah 59:16 c. Isaiah 63:5
ii. NT use = 6x.
1. Gal. 3:19, 20 of Moses
2. Here Hebrews 8:6 and 9:15; 12:24
3. And most familiarly I Tm. 2:5
b. Additional aspects of a mediator to help us with our understanding and definition.
i. There must be two parties. A solitary person or party doesn’t need arbitration!
ii. The parties must be at odds, variance, or conflict with one another. It is here that Satan does his great work. We need a mediator because Satan stands between two parties and stirs up and continues discord and division. Christ comes to bring peace. And what a terrible and dreadful breach there is between God and man! Let us read and consider two passages: Romans 5:9-11 and II Cor. 5:18-20
1. The Sinner reconciled toward God. (The sinner’s wrath against God). The Scripture tells us that the natural condition of every human person is that we start our lives as rebels, at odds with God’s rule and rules. In fact the situation is so dire that we are described as being enmity against God.
a. Enmity defined: deep-rooted hatred. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15). The friendship of the world is “enmity with God” (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15, 16). The “carnal mind” is “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7).
b. Further defined in this sermon by Charles Spurgeon:
“…observe how strongly the Apostle expresses it. “The carnal mind,” he says, “is ENMITY against God.” He uses a noun, and not an adjective. He does not say it is opposed to God merely, but it is positive enmity. It is not black, but blackness; it is not at enmity, but enmity itself; it is not corrupt, but
corruption; it is not rebellious, it is rebellion; it is not wicked, it is wickedness itself. The heart, though it be deceitful, is positively deceit; it is evil in the concrete, sin in the essence; it is the distillation, the quintessence of all things that are vile; it is not envious against God, it is envy; it is not at enmity, it is actual enmity. (“The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God” http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0020.php
c. It is natural then, for us to think that the work of our mediator is chiefly a work of turning the sinner’s natural hatred for God into something else-love perhaps, or at least a neutrality.
d. Indeed this is a part of the work of Christ the mediator as we read in the LBC:
“To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.”
HOWEVER, this is not the main work of Christ. The breach between God and man is not merely our disdain towards God, but
2. God must be Reconciled Towards The Sinner (God’s Wrath against the sinner). Note that the issue cannot be reduced to the human side of the conflict between God and man. Yes indeed we are enemies, but the language in Romans 5 is the language of God’s deep displeasure against our sin—in fact the word here is not mere displeasure, but wrath and condemnation. We need to be saved from this wrath. The attitude of God towards sinners must be changed. The death of Christ is not meant to change our opinion of God—in fact thinking people recoil at the idea that–The death of Christ satisfies the debt of obedience that we have with God. Our offenses have offended His holy majesty; they have brought us into condemnation. He cannot look with favor upon the sinner and rebel. Therefore, it is he who must be reconciled. It says we are justified by the blood of Christ and reconciled to God by the death of his Son. You may recoil at the concept of the wrath of God and think that it is not an attribute worthy of such a great and loving and merciful deity. You may if you ignore
that clear evidence of Scripture. Leon Morris, the eminent evangelical New Testament Expositor from Australia has identified 20 different Hebrew words used in the Old Testament to describe the indignation of God against sin, which are found in more than 580 passages. Oh, you say, that is the God of the Old Testament. The God of the New Testament is a more gentle and loving God represented by the meek and lowly Jesus. To believe this is to discount and overlook at least 100 New Testament passages that speak of the wrath of God. AS Roger Nicole ahs written “Some of the Most fearful are form the lips of Jesus himself, for no one spoke of the wrath of God as manifested in the harrowing of hell as strongly as Jesus did.” (See Roger Nicole, “Reconciliation and Propitiation” in Our Sovereing Saviour, The Essence of the Refomed Faith, Christian Focus Publications, 2002, 91-100)
iii. This mediator is neither a negotiator nor compromiser in the sense that we understand these terms. He puts out his hands and touches both and brings the warring parties together.
How do we know that Jesus is a qualified and sufficient mediator to repair this yawning chasm that opens between the holiness op God and the sinfulness of man?, who stands in the gap between the demands of the law of God and the abysmal failure of our meager and disinterested performance?
3. Requirements of a mediator. These are not necessarily legal requirements, but what we might call practical requirements.
a. First in our list is that He must take on the work voluntarily—he is not like a court appointed lawyer who begrudgingly takes on a low pay case. He delights to come and do the full work for both parties. Our Lord Jesus was not cajoled, coerced, or shamed in this work. Here is what we read in Scripture: See: PS. 40:7-8; Hebrews 10:5; John 10:18
b. Secondly, The mediator must come with authority. This may not seem like an important requirement, indeed when two persons are at odds with one another we would not be surprised if a person came to us on his own authority or out a her own desire to see two persons she loved restored to a relationship of peace. However, if the two persons at unequal in standing or if there are going to be promises or concessions made, then the person acting as the mediator certainly needs to come with a stamp of authority.
i. LBC again,
“…the office of mediator and surety; which office he took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgment in his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same. (Ch. Viii. 4)
ii. Remember what we have already studied in Heb. 5: he was appointed a priest by God
iii. John 5:22, 27: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son…And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
c. He must be accepted and trusted as one who will fairly and disinterestedly seek the best of both parties. This means that he is one who has the ability to understand both sides of the case
i. Illus. Marriage Counseling, taking sides.
ii. No Suspicion of Ulterior motives.
iii. John Flavel, the Puritan, writes of the trust that the Father and the Son invest in one another:
“The Father relies on the Son for the performance of his part (here referring to Isa. 43:1) As if the father had said, behold what a faithful servant I have chosen, in whom my soul is at rest: I know he will go through with his work, I can depend on him. “…the Father so trusted Christ, that upon the credit of his promise to come into the word, and in the fullness of time to become a sacrifice forth elect, he saved all the Old Testament saints, whose faith also respected a Christ to come. (Heb. 11:39) And as the Father trust Christ, so doth Christ in like manner, depend upon and trust his Father, for having performed his part, and left the world again, he now trusteth his Father for the accomplishment of that promise made to him. (Isa. 53:10; John 17:11) (Flavel, Works, Vol. I, 59-60)
1. The mediator must share fully in the concerns of both parties. Christ does this
a. The Concerns of the Trinity—the honor and payment for offenses committed.
b. The concerns of the ruined sinner, the condemned criminal. The removal of the penalty incurred.
2. He must be fully committed to the good and concerns of both parties working to the utmost of his ability to see that the needs of mediation are met (Flavel).
d. In addition (number four in our list), if there is going to be a true mediator between God and Man the mediator needs to share in each of their natures—able to put his hands on each. In Christ’s work he mediates between God and man making certain that the offended God and the offending sinner both receive what is their need. God his honor and man his salvation. God receives his full due in the perfect life of Christ and the sinner is freed from the ruin that he has earned.
i. Here is how the WLC puts it
Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A. 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.
Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A. 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, have 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.
Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. 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.
ii. It was necessary that our mediator be man because we need a true and authentic representative one who came under the law, obey that law in his human nature, and die a human death. It is in his human nature that our mediator is able to sympathize with us and enter into a proper and true intercession for us.
iii. It was necessary that our mediator be God. An ordinary human being would be disqualified by their own sins. Even if there were a perfect human being as if God had miraculously provided another man like Adam. This man could have only dies for one other person. A life for a life. Our mediator having a divine nature gave his human nature infinite value and allowed him to suffer for many people at the same time—every one whom the Father gave him were saved by his death. The Beligic confession says that the divine nature of our mediator allowed the human nature to endure the infinite suffering that was piled upon him by the infinite sins of the people whom he came to save.
iv. In our nature he puts his hands upon us in true sympathy and empathy, in his divine nature he puts his hands on the father in true holiness.
e. He must have the power and ability to affect the peace.
i. What is the evil that needs to be changed, or from evil is man to be rescued?
1. Is it nature?
2. Is it circumstances?
3. Is it a lack of unity with the One
ii. What is the deity that has the power to remove the evil, or redeem from the effects of the evil?
1. If the evil is nature, then the deity to be appeased or removed, religion seeks to manipulate nature. In this we find ourselves in a culture of pantheists, very nearly animists who try change the problems of nature—disease, disasters, and so on… (Bavinck)
2. If the evil is our circumstances, our upbringing, our lack of money, education, opportunity, or equality, then we will go to the gods of Government and the Courts, the gods of academia, the gods of psychology and positive –thinking to overcome these evils.
3. If the evil is a lack of oneness and unity with the One as the religions of the east tell us then the deity who can solve this problem is the god of self-emptying mediation.
4. However, because the great and universal problem that human beings face is the rupture caused by sin and all of the ramifications that come with it, we need a mediator
4. Lastly, the work of a mediator is a work
i. Removes obstacles that stand between the parties
ii. Repairs potholes and craters in the road between the two parties.
iii. Here Christ is the perfect road builder prophesied in Isa. 40
1. He has taken the mountain of sin’s guilt away
2. He has filled the holes with his own righteousness.
a. A very great mediator shows the greatness of our need
b. The greatness of our need shows the greatness and value of Christ’s blood and suffering
c. The greatness of the blood and suffering of Christ shows the Greatness of the heart of Love shared by the Godhead.
d. The greatness of this work shows the greatness of love, worship, praise, and adoration that is ours to give.
e. Let me end with this from the Belgic Confession on the intercessory work of Christ
We believe that we have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, “Jesus Christ the righteous,” who therefore was made human, uniting together the divine and human natures, so that we human beings might have access to the divine Majesty. Otherwise we would have no access. But this Mediator, whom the Father has appointed between himself and us, ought not terrify us by his greatness, so that we have to look for another one, according to our fancy. For neither in heaven nor among the creatures on earth is there anyone who loves us more than Jesus Christ does. Although he was “in the form of God,” Christ nevertheless “emptied himself,” taking “human form” and “the form of a slave” for
us; and he made himself “like his brothers and sisters in every respect.” Suppose we had to find another intercessor. Who would love us more than he who gave his life for us, even though “we were his enemies”? And suppose we had to find one who has prestige and power. Who has as much of these as he who is seated at the right hand of the Father, and who has “all authority in heaven and on earth”? And who will be heard more readily than God’s own dearly beloved Son? (Beglic Confession, Article 26)
Who loves us more than he who said, ”Come to me ..and I will give you rest
Who loves us more than the one who calls us friends, and said, Greater love has no one than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.
Who love us more than the one whose love “surpasses knowledge
Who loves us more than the one who is able to keep any thing in all creation “whether friend or foe, fiend from hell, angelic being form heaven, king, president, pastor, pope, or beheading jihadists from separating us from his love?
Why go anywhere else than to this mediator who has declared that he is the only way to the Father?
Why go to any other mediator than he who has loved us and made the way open for us while we were still his enemies?
Why go to any other mediator than to the one who is seated at the right hand of power and majesty on high?
Why go to any other mediator than the one who has the ear of God on high and is guaranteed the answer to every one of his petitions?
Or let me ask this
Why refuse this mediator who has declared that he is the only way to the Father?
Why refuse this mediator than he who has loved us and made the way open for us while we were still his enemies?
Why refuse this mediator than to the one who is seated at the right hand of power and majesty on high?
Why refuse this mediator than the one who has the ear of God on high and is guaranteed the answer to every one of his petitions?
Our great High Priest is this Mediator, Even Chrsit Jesus, the only mediator between God and Man.