Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:59 pm
The Messenger, December 15, 2011
True God, Truly Man
By RB TOLAR
Special to The Messenger
We were left last week looking for a deliverer and mediator who is not only human (thus qualified to receive the punishment mankind has incurred), but also divine (infinite in being and perfection, thus able to pay the penalty of our sin). This week, questions 16-19 of the Heidelberg Catechism and their answers will identify that savior as our Lord Jesus Christ.
16 Q. Why must the mediator be truly human and truly righteous? Answer: God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin: but a sinner could never pay for others.
17 Q. Why must He also be true God? Answer: So that, by the power of His divinity, He might bear the weight of God’s anger in His humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.
18 Q. And who is this mediator — true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous? Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God.
19 Q. How do you come to know this? Answer: The holy gospel tells me. God Himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise; later, He proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; finally, He fulfilled it through His own dear Son.
We see the dilemma. God’s righteousness and justice demand that the debt of our sins be paid. But we have all sinned (Isaiah 53:6). There is no righteous human to stand in our stead (Psalm 14:3). This is where the gospel comes in.
We find in Hebrews 9:14 that Christ offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God through the power of the Holy Spirit. This covenant of redemption was contracted between the three persons of the Godhead in eternity past (I Peter 1:19-20).
Even in the midst of pronouncing judgment upon Adam and Eve (and all their descendants), God revealed His plan of redemption (Genesis 3:15). He reiterated His promise to the patriarchs of the Israelite nation (Genesis 22:18; 49:10) and through the Old Testament prophets. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah and Micah 7:18-20 are but two examples of God’s revelation of His redemptive plan throughout the Old Testament.
The complex system of sacrifices laid out in Leviticus is but a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice to come (Hebrews 10:1-10). The rivers of animal blood poured out under the Mosaic system could not atone for sins (Ezekiel 18:4), but pointed the way to Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His sinless life, atoning death and miraculous resurrection. It was faith in this promise that saved the Old Testament believer, “those under law” (Galatians 4:4-5).
With the advent of Christ, God’s plan has been revealed fully to a lost and dying world (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:17). In I Timothy 2:5, Paul states “there is but one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus….” All have sinned and stand in need of a savior. That savior is Christ Jesus, the God-man. Is He your savior?
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Editor’s note: RB Tolar is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Troy. He strongly urges readers to consult the scripture references used in this article “to see if these things are so” (Acts 17:11b).