The most glorious plan of God the Father is His plan of redemption. His plan is never more clearly written to us than in Ephesians 1:3-6,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
As we contemplate the plan of God the Father in the sending of His Son for our redemption, we should be in awe. This passage written by Paul to the church at Ephesus reveals for all of us God's perfect plan long before the creation account. Before, God the Father determined to create the world, ex nihilo—out of nothing—He determined to ensure that Christ would mediate our redemption. The task of redeeming humanity would be given to no one else but Christ.
Our knowledge of this truth makes Marian dogma, produced long after the clear teaching of the Apostle Paul, even more offensive. The Roman Catholic Council of Ephesus 431 AD would give Mary Theotokos, meaning Mother of God or God-bearer. Time and time again, through Popes and Church Councils of the Roman Catholic Church, Mary would be given a title that would witness her ascension to Mediatrix.
Soon, it became essential to revisit Scripture and establish the role of Christ as mediator based on Scripture. The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, along with other documents, did this well. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith was based upon the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) and the Savoy Declaration (1658) to reflect believer's baptism.
Chapter 8 of the London Baptist Confession of Faith is titled, Of Christ the Mediator. Paragraph one examines the preordained purpose of God. Paragraphs two, three, seven, and nine address the person of Christ. Paragraphs four, five, six, eight and ten examine the purpose and work of Christ.
The Preordained Plan of God the Father
It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and Saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be His seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
The London Baptist Confession of Faith reveals the preordained plan of God the Father in the sending of his only begotten Son. Christ, according to Scripture, is the only mediator between God and man. In 1 Timothy 2:5 it says, “for there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” It was the apostles who, early in their ministry, were willing to die for this truth. It was Peter before Council who stated, "Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).
The Person of Christ
Paragraph 2 examines Christ as a hypostatic union. This paragraph explains his nature as the second person in the Trinity who yet became a man in his humanity through the Holy Spirit's power as conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
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 upholds and governs 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.
Furthermore, this paragraph examines his earthly lineage as born of the Tribe of Judah and Abraham and David's seed.
The benefit of paragraph three is that it further explains this union of deity and humanity. The focus of this paragraph relies on a number of texts of Scripture. However, perhaps none of these texts is more succinct as what we find in Colossians 1:15-20,
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Paragraphs 7 and 9 go on to discuss the importance of the role of Christ in mediation. The clarity of the LBC is critical in explaining how both natures were properly acting in the process of mediation.
Christ, in the work of mediation, acted according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.
This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other.
The Work of Christ
Paragraph 4 takes the time to explain that the work of Christ was done willingly. Then it goes on to explain the nature of the work in that Christ was born to suffer, made to be sin, and made a curse for us all. By paragraph five, we have these words,
The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.
The nature of our justification is based on Christ as the propitiatory sacrifice. What was required for Christ to be a perfect sacrifice was that he was perfectly obedient. His obedience to the law was required. Also required was the submission of Christ to the will of the Father. We would see this in his prayer in the garden when he prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).
Chapter 10 does exactly what the Roman Catholic Church aimed to destroy by giving the title of mediatrix and redemptrix to Mary. All questions regarding the office and preeminence of Christ should be clear as the authors of the London Baptist Confession of Faith explain,
This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom.
All of human history points toward the incarnation of Christ. Everything that preceded this pivotal event looked toward it, and everything that postdates it looks back at it. Furthermore, our eternal reward is based upon our understanding of who Christ is and what he came to do. Scripture is clear that all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23), and the result of our sin requires what Christ offers—eternal life through repentance and faith in Him. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the doctrine of Christ—who He is and what he came to do—correct. The doctrinal statement provided by the authors of the London Baptist Confession of Faith offers Biblical clarity sourced in Scripture which is essential to help that to happen.
Saturday 19th June 2021