Systematic Theology - Vol. 2

By Charles Hodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.

THE MEDIATORIAL WORK OF CHRIST.

§ 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

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