The Uniting Together of Heaven and Earth
How the Hypostatic Union Grants Assurance to Believers
Today in our look at the Larger Catechism we will be spending time considering more about what it means that Jesus Christ is our Mediator. We’ve defined that word enough to be able now to dig deeper into why it matters and to see how it effects our daily walk and life. Some people like to look down on doctrine, saying things like “it’s a relationship, not a religion”. Yet, the problem with thoughts like that is when you utter it you are standing on the shoulders of men who spent a lot of time in concert with the Church in the blessed work of faith seeking understanding. There’s a bit of Paul’s concern at Corinth and Peter’s general worry to those he is writing to in his first epistle. Milk is good, but it’s not filling, it doesn’t make you stronger. There should be a desire to learn more and more of Jesus and His labors on our behalf. Can you get too deep? Sure, I’ll grant it’s possible in the sense of jumping into a pile of wires can entangle oneself, but unravelling them and finding out which cable is for which purpose has its own reward. As we get into the Q/A’s for this week read them, prayer over them, and let’s examine them in turn:
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.
Q. 41. Why was our Mediator called Jesus?
A. Our Mediator was called Jesus, because He saves His people from their sins.
Q. 42. Why was our Mediator called Christ?
A. Our Mediator was called Christ, because He was anointed 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.
In his commentary on these questions J.G. Vos helpfully explains why the Mediator had to be God and man in one person, he says:
Because the relation between the works of each of the two natures required that these two natures be united in one person. A divine Mediator could not experience suffering except through a human nature; a human Mediator could not endure the required suffering, except as sustained by a divine nature.
In reading that it assists our brains in wrapping around the difficult ideas which always surround our talking about things like the hypostatic union (the theology term for what we are talking about here). Christ in His humanity could not bear the weight of all the transgressions of the world because the finite cannot handle the infinite. If against God and God alone have we sinned, and if one break of the law is as if we broke the whole of the commandments then our Lord needed to atone for an infinite infinite amount of demerits. That’s why again to fulfill the proper works Jesus had to be first of all born of a virgin, that is without the stain of Adam’s unrighteousness, and of the Holy Spirit so that divinity could take on flesh and be the right sacrifice that we need to be saved from eternal death.
I’ve been talking a lot about Hell in the morning service the last couple of weeks and it should really bring home for us the magnificence of what our Redeemer has accomplished for us at the cross, and how massive the resurrection is for our peace of soul and mind. The acceptance of the totality of Christ’s work, His both keeping the law for us (in His humanity, what Adam could not do) and His paying the wrath due for sin in the giving of Himself at Golgotha work together through this uniting of the humanity and the deity to guarantee that we will never experience what all who remain in rebellion against God do when they leave this present world. Here is the power of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15 come to life. The grave, death have no victory, no sting any more only through this gift and grant of righteousness purchased by Christ do we have hope. Take a moment and meditate on that blessed truth for a second. Remembering these things is the fuel which keeps the engine of faith running in the face of all the trials and tribulations to be found in this life.
The second and third questions are unique in that they seem like odd inquiries to encourage people to answer, but it most certainly gives meat from an unlikely source, the name of Jesus and the title of Christ. We know that the name we most popularly know Him by is a transliteration of the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. It was a very common name back in those days, again pointing to the humility of Jesus and the way His labors were of a different kind from what the Pharisees and others expected. The particular command of course comes to Joseph from God Himself in Matthew 1:18-22 as the birth is announced to the earthly father of the Lord. He says, “…and she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” We often compare Christ to Moses in the way that He leads His church from bondage and slavery to unrighteousness and to the freedom of righteousness in Himself, and that is certainly true. However, think about why Joshua is chosen as His name. Remember this son of Nun was given a calling by Jehovah to lead the tribes of Israel to victory over the inhabitants of the land and secure Abraham’s promise for generations to come. We know how that turned out, middling to fair. What makes of course the second Joshua greater than the first is that He accomplished this task in all its fulness. The victory is won, the kingdom is safely free of iniquity, for the King of Kings is here, and He has vanquished the Devil and all his minions forever and ever. The Christ, the Anointed One, has come.
God be praised.
Here’s a word of help:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church
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