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§ 1. Christ the only Mediator.

According to the Scriptures the incarnation of the eternal Son of God was not a necessary event arising out of the nature of God. It was not the culminating point in the development of humanity. It was an act of voluntary humiliation. God gave his Son for the redemption of man. He came into the world to save his people from their sins; to seek and save those who are lost. He took part in flesh and blood in order, by death, to destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and to deliver those who through fear of death (i.e., through apprehension of the wrath of God), were all their lifetime subject to bondage. He died the just for the unjust that He might bring us near to God. Such is the constant representation of the Scriptures. The doctrine of the modern speculative theology, that the incarnation would have occurred though man had not sinned, is, therefore, contrary to the plainest teachings of the Bible. Assuming, however, that fallen men were to be redeemed, then the incarnation was a necessity. There was no other way by which that end could be accomplished. This is clearly taught in the Scriptures. The name of Christ is the only name whereby men can be saved. If righteousness could have been attained in any other way, Christ, says the Apostle, is dead in vain. (Galatians ii. 21.) If the law (any institution or device) could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. (Galatians iii. 21.)

As the design of the incarnation of the Son of God was to reconcile us unto God, and as reconciliation of parties at variance is a work of mediation, Christ is called our mediator. As reconciliation is sometimes effected by mere intercession, or negotiation, the person who thus effectually intercedes may be called a mediator. But where reconciliation involves the necessity of satisfaction for sin as committed against God, then he only is a mediator who makes an atonement for sin. As this was done, and could be done by Christ alone, it follows that He only is the mediator between God 456and man. He is our peace-maker, who reconciles Jews and Gentiles unto God in one body by the cross. (Ephesians ii. 16.) To us, therefore, there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy ii. 5.)

The Romish Church regards priests, and saints, and angels, and especially the Virgin Mary, as mediators, not only in the sense of intercessors, but as peace-makers without whose intervention reconciliation with God cannot be attained. This arises from two erroneous principles involved in the theology of the Church of Rome. The first concerns the office of the priesthood. Romanists teach that the benefits of redemption can be obtained only thrpugh the intervention of the priests. Those benefits flow through the sacraments. The sacraments to be available must be administered by men canonically ordained. The priests offer sacrifices and grant absolution. They are as truly mediators, although in a subordinate station, as Christ himself. No man can come to God except through them. And this is the main idea in mediation in the Scriptural sense of the word.

The other principle is involved in the doctrine of merit as held by Romanists. According to them, good works done after regeneration have real merit in the sight of God. It is possible for the people of God not only to acquire a degree of merit sufficient for their own salvation, but more than suffices for themselves. This, on the principle of the communion of saints, may be made available for others. The saints, therefore, are appealed to, to plead their own merits before the throne of God as the ground of the pardon or deliverance of those for whom they intercede. This according to the Scriptures is the peculiar work of Christ as our mediator; assigning it to the saints, therefore, constitutes them mediators. As the Christian minister is not a priest, and as no man has any merit in the sight of God, much less a superabundance thereof, the whole foundation of this Romish doctrine is done away. Christ is our only mediator, not merely because the Scriptures so teach, but also because He only can and does accomplish what is necessary for our reconciliation to God; and He only has the personal qualifications for the work.

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