Pastoral Overview

This monthly blog series contains a brief pastoral overview of each chapter of the 2nd London Confession. Written by a pastor for his flock, this series is a lovely collection of articles aimed at introducing congregations to the confession.

Chapter 8 - Of Christ the Mediator

The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of one substance and equal with him who made the world, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her: and the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Ch8, P2.

Two Natures in One Person

Questions frequently come to mind while listening to church leaders’ general thrust of religious talk. What is the need for a mediator with God since we are all mates with him? Surely the only thing you need to do for a moment is to stop, stay still and breathe in the presence of God? As Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it, ‘God is closer to you than your hand and feet and breath that you breathe.’ Indeed, God is omnipresent; even if one were to make their bed in hell, “behold you are there” (Psalm 139.8).

The world is not only full of false ideas concerning the existence of God and the nature of God but also the way one can have a relationship with him. The Pantheist believes that God is everywhere. They believe the only reason human beings feel distant from him is the lack of enlightenment, for each one is part and one with God. Conversely, the truth is that humanity is fundamentally estranged from God. No saint, angel or even the ‘blessed virgin mother’ can bring us an inch closer to God. Those who believe in such mediators fail to understand how much greater the essence and excellence of God’s uncreated being is from his creation.

Although God has made us in his image, the essence of his being is altogether other and higher. He is the one who is holy, holy, holy and of which even the pure angels in heaven cover their faces and feet before him. How much more is the distance of fallen human beings separated by sin from the holy God?

Although God has made us in his image, the essence of his being is altogether other and higher.

Moreover, how can such creatures as ourselves even have contact with the holy one? 1 Timothy 2:6 states, “There is one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus”. In His incarnation, he has joined in himself, in one person, the two essential natures of God and man. “In the beginning was the word” and “the word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1 and 14). In Christ, the two perfect and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person without conversion, composition or confusion. His person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the mediator between God and man.

It pleased God the Father to send his only begotten Son to mediate between God and man. He is the Christ, the prophet, priest and king. He is the head and saviour of the Church and the judge of the world; all were necessary. Concerning our ignorance, we need his prophetical office. Concerning our alienation from God and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile and present us as acceptable to God. Finally, we need a king to preserve us in his heavenly kingdom.

We may observe in the following ways the claim that in his person, Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and man:

  • in his coming and work of fulfilling God’s law
  • in willingly laying down his life and enduring the most grievous sorrows in his soul in the most painful suffering in his body
  • in his suffering the curse and being made sin, yet without corruption
  • in taking away the everest of the sin of his people,
  • in making a way and path through his death on the cross,
  • in his reconciling the infinite divide that was between God and man.
  • in rising again on the third day and with the same body in which he suffered
  • in his ascension into heaven
  • in his intercession as he sits at the right hand of his Father

Now that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Therefore, let us boldly go to the throne of grace so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

O for the faith, with angels,

To penetrate and see

The plan of our salvation,

Its hidden mystery:

Two natures in one Person,

Conjoined inseparably,

Distinct and not confounded,

In perfect unity.

My soul, see this divine one,

How right he is for you;

Here venture your whole being,

Give him your burden too.

As human, he feels with you,

Your weakness as his own;

As God: the world, flesh, Satan,

Are conquered at his throne.

Ann Griffiths

Chris Rees

Chris Rees

Minister, Bethesda Baptist Chapel, Narberth, Wales