Christianity 201

October 17, 2017

Christ as Mediator

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
Tags: ,

by Russell Young

What is the mediatorial ministry of Christ? In addressing the role of high priest, the writer of Hebrews has presented: “But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs (high priests of the Old Covenant) as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and is founded on better promises,” (Heb 8:6 NIV)

This passage reveals that Christ is mediator of a new covenant. The New Covenant is a covenant of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:6) and it is through these covenantal blessings that the believer is made competent to become a sacrifice that is pleasing to God and it is through Christ’s ministry within the believer that he is able to mediate by enabling the believer to become fit for the kingdom. (Rom 15:16)

The ministry of Christ entails more than is often recognized.  A mediator is a person who arbitrates between two people; he brings them together by removing the obstacles that separate. John has identified Christ as the “advocate” or “intercessor” for the person who sins; the same Greek word has been presented as “comforter” and references the Holy Spirit. The mediation of Christ involves his ministries as sacrifice, Holy Spirit, and high priest. Without any of these ministries humankind would remain separated from God, unfit for his eternal kingdom. People need to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) to become a sacrifice acceptable to God.

As sacrifice, Christ took the death penalty that awaits all humankind because of their sin, and provided access to God so that the believer might be given the Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14) and the blessings of the New Covenant. (Heb 9:15)

As Holy Spirit, he enlightens (Jn 14:26), leads (Jn 10:3, Rom 8:4, 14; Gal 5:18), and empowers (Acts 1:8; 2 Pet 1:3; Lk 4:14; Rom 15:19) for righteousness and conformation to the likeness of the Son of God, his own likeness. This mediation makes the believer suitable to God; it returns him or her to the state that God found “very good” in Genesis. (Gen 1:31)

As high priest, he advocates for the one who has sinned. (1 Jn 2:1) The redeemed person needs to be cautious concerning sin, however. Those who deliberately keep on sinning after they have been informed (convicted by the Spirit) of its presence will not enjoy the advocacy of Christ. “No sacrifice for sins” is left for them. (Heb 10:26) When sin is recognized it is to be humbly confessed so that it might be forgiven. (1 Jn 1:9) All sin is offensive to God and as high priest the Lord intervenes on behalf of the believer when he or she confesses sin or when she or he sins in ignorance. (Heb 9:7; see also 8:5)

Believers should not accept that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the fullness of Christ’s mediatorial ministry. Nor should they accept a passive or indifferent attitude towards his leading following their redemption. They are to be led (follow) and they are to be obedient. (Heb 5:9; Rom 8:4; Gal 6:7-8) An advocate can only plead for the believer’s pardon based on the elements of the situation. Deliberate disobedience can not be advocated; it is rebellion.

Christ is merciful and faithful and is ready to help the believer “in his time of need.” (Heb 4:16) That need might be wisdom to avoid temptations or for strength to withstand and to defeat them, or it may be to seek forgiveness when defeated.

The mediation of Christ on behalf of the believer needs to be fully appreciated.  It is common to hear praise for the Lord for what he has done, but he also needs to be appreciated and praised for all that he continues to do through his indwelling presence as Spirit (Col 1:27) and for providing his cleansing blood as high priest. To become an offering acceptable to God the believer must be sanctified by the Spirit and transformed into the Lord’s likeness.


Russell Young’s column appears on alternate Tuesdays. He is the author of Eternal Salvation: “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really? available in print and eBook through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo. 9781512757514

To read all of Russell’s contributions here at C201, click this link.