Dear Church Family,
Continuing in our Sunday school lessons in the Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC), this past Sunday we covered questions 38-42. Here is a brief review.
WLC 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.
WLC 36 established the biblical teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only Mediator in the covenant of grace, “was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, for ever.” Here, now, we learn of three reasons why it is necessary for the Mediator to be God.
(1) To sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death.
Because Christ is fully God, He was able to undergo and survive the wrath of God as punishment for our sin, death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24-25).
(2) To give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession
Because Christ is fully God, He was able to make atonement for the sins of others. Unlike the priests who ministered in the old covenant, Christ did not need to offer up sacrifices for His own sins and then the sins of the people. Rather, by His death, He was able to offer up Himself as a one time sacrifice for the sins of His people (Hebrews 7:25-28).
(3) 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
In addition to making atonement for the sins of His people, Christ also victoriously purchased certain benefits for His people. He satisfied the justice of God and earned favor in God’s sight. He also purchase a people for Himself, the Church – conquering all of their enemies of sin, death, and the devil (Hebrews 2:14-15). To His Church, He has given His Spirit and brought them into everlasting salvation (Titus 2:11-14).
WLC 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.
Here, we learn of two main reasons why it was necessary for Christ, our Mediator, to be man.
(1) To advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities
In order for the Son of God to advance the human nature and obey the Law of God in our stead, it was necessary for Him to take on the human nature. Adam was a type of Him who was to come; therefore, as the second Adam, Christ had to become man (Romans 5:14-15).
(2) That we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace
Because He shares in our flesh and blood, Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses; He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, because He intercedes for us, we have confidence to approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in our need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
WLC 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.
The previous two questions emphasized the two distinct natures of Jesus Christ as our Mediator (divine and human). This question emphasizes the one Person of Jesus Christ as our Mediator: note the last phrase of this answer – “the whole person.” We don’t trust in Christ as our Mediator in His divinity or in his humanity; we trust in Christ as our Mediator as one whole Person with two natures (divine and human).
There are many passages in Scripture which speak to both Christ’s divinity and Christ’s humanity; however, here is one which speaks of both, emphasizing the works of Jesus Christ (the whole Person) as the perfect mediator between God and man (Hebrews 9:13-15):
“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ [humanity], who through the eternal Spirit [divinity] offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
WLC 41 Why was our Mediator called Jesus?
A. Our Mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his people from their sins.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, he told him that the Child who has been conceived in Mary was of the Holy Spirit; Joseph was to “call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). Jesus (or Yashua) means “Yahweh saves.”
WLC 42 Why was our Mediator called Christ?
A. Our Mediator was called Christ, because he was annointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his Church, in the estate both of his humiliation and exaltation.
“Christ” means “anointed one.” In the Old Testament, it is “Messiah” – or sometimes simply translated as “Anointed,” “God’s Anointed,” or “His Anointed” (e.g., Psalm 2:1-2). As God’s anointed Messiah or Christ, God has set His seal upon Jesus (John 6:27). God sent forth the Spirit to anoint Jesus and empower Him for His ministry and mediatorial work, declaring, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).
The remainder of WLC 42 provides an outline of the next series of questions and answers in the Westminster Larger Catechism as follows:
WLC 43-45 – Christ’s Offices of Prophet, Priest, and King of His Church
WLC 46-50 – The humiliation of Christ
WLC 51-56 – The exaltation of Christ
Join us for Sunday school at 9:15 am as we learn more about the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch