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Chapter XVII.

Of the mediation of Christ.

In his seventh chapter he proposeth two questions in general about the mediation of Christ, answering, first, that he is a “mediator,” from 1 Tim. ii. 5; second, that he is the “mediator of the new covenant,” 347Heb. viii. 6, xii. 24. But as to his work of mediation, what it is, wherein it doth consist, on what account principally Christ is called our mediator, whether he be a mediator with God for us, as well as a mediator with us for God, and how he carries on that work, — wherein he knows the difference between us and his masters about this matter doth lie, — he speaks not one word, nor gives any occasion to me to enter into the consideration of it. What I suppose necessary to offer to this head, I shall do in the ensuing discourse of the death of Christ, the ends thereof, and the satisfaction thereby.

And therefore I shall hereunto add his ninth chapter also, which is concerning remission of sins by Jesus Christ. The difference between his masters and us being about the meritorious and procuring cause of remission of sins by. Christ, which here he mentions not, what is farther to be added thereabout will fall in also under the consideration of the death of Christ, and our justification thereby.

His first question is altogether out of question, namely, “Who shall have remission of sins by Christ?” It is granted all, and only, believers. “He that believeth shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16. “To as many as receive him, power is given to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John i. 12.

To his next question an answer may be given that will suit that following also, which is the whole of this chapter. The question is, “Doth not Christ forgive sins? — A. ‘Christ forgave you,’ Col. iii. 13.”

That Christ forgives sins is taken for granted; and yet forgiveness of sin is the supremest act of sovereign, divine power that God exerciseth in the world. Now, Christ may be considered two ways:— 1. Absolutely, as “God over all, blessed for ever.” So he forgave sins by his own original authority and power, as the lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. 2. As Mediator, God and man; and so his power was delegated to him by God the Father, as himself speaks, Matt. xxviii. 18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;” and chap. ix. 6, he saith that he had “power on earth to forgive sins,” — that is, given unto him. Now, forgiveness of sins is either authoritative or declarative. The latter Christ delegated to his apostles and all their successors in the work of preaching the gospel, and it is such a power as a mere man may be invested withal. That forgiveness of sins which we term “authoritative,” being an act of sovereign, divine power, exercised about the law and persons concerned therein, may be said to be given to Christ two ways:— (1.) As to the possession of it; and so he hath it from his Father as God, as he hath his nature, essence, and life from him. Whence, whatever works the Father doth, he doth likewise, — quicken as he quickens, pardon as he pardons, — as hath been declared. (2.) As to the execution of it, for 348such an end and purpose as the carrying on of the work of mediation, committed to him; and so it is given him in commission from the Father, who sent him into the world to do his will; and in this sense had he, the Son of man, power to forgive sins whilst he was on the earth. And to Mr B.’s ninth chapter this may suffice.

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