|Topical Bible Study||April 1961|
The Son of God Series—Lesson VII
Mediator of the Atonement
BECAUSE of original sin the human race is alienated from God, and under condemnation to death. The purpose of the Heavenly Father in sending his Son into the world was to restore oneness between himself and his human creatures, and to set aside the death condemnation which now operates against mankind. One of the titles which the Scriptures give to Jesus in the accomplishment of this divine purpose is “Mediator.” (I Tim. 2:3-6) The first essential in this undertaking was for Jesus to give his life in sacrifice for the sins of the world.*
* “The Atonement Between God and Man,” pages 421-427.
The work of restoring oneness between God and man is likened in the Scriptures to the making of a covenant. God provided an illustration of this when he entered into a covenant with the nation of Israel. God’s Law, as epitomized by the Ten Commandments, was the basis of that covenant, and Moses served as the mediator between God and the nation of Israel in the making of the covenant. The Israelites agreed to obey God’s Law, and in turn God promised to bestow his blessings upon them.—Exod. 19:5-8; 24:3
By the perfect keeping of God’s Law, the Israelites could have escaped the death condemnation that came upon all mankind through Adam’s sin. (Lev. 18:5; Ezek. 20:11,13,21) Although, because of inherited imperfections, they were unable to do this, the effort did serve to point up the need for the shed blood of Christ, whose blood ratifies the promises of God to make a New Covenant with Israel, and with the world.—Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 26:28
The Bible emphasizes an essential difference between the original Law Covenant, with Moses as Mediator, and the New Covenant, of which Jesus will be the Mediator. That difference is that instead of the law of the covenant being written on tablets of stone, it will be written in the hearts of the people, and in their “inward parts.” Taking into account all the generations of the dead who are to be awakened and given an opportunity to return to harmony with God, this work will require essentially the entire Millennial Age.
One of the prerequisites for the people, in order to have the Law of God become a very part of their beings, is to learn the divine will and ways. Thus, a very important part of the mediatorial work of Christ will be the enlightenment of the people. They will need to be enlightened concerning God’s loving provision of redemption through Christ, and also concerning the requirements of divine law.—I Tim. 2:5; Isa. 11:9; John 1:9
While the Scriptures specifically speak of Jesus as being the Mediator of the New Covenant, (Heb. 12:24) the Bible also reveals that the true followers of Jesus will be associated with him in the work of establishing harmony between God and man. In this association the disciples of Christ are said to have been given “the ministry of reconciliation.”—II Cor. 5:18
The disciples’ part in this ministry of the New Covenant is largely in the dispensing of the “word of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:19) Faithfulness in the use of the Word now involves sacrifice, and it proves the worthiness of the faithful ones to share in the future glorious work of mediating the New Covenant in association with Jesus. (II Cor. 3:3-12) This is our glorious hope.
How many of these questions can you answer? To know the correct answers implies an understanding of God’s great plan of the ages.
What was the purpose of the Heavenly Father in sending his Son into the world? and what is one of the titles assigned to Jesus in connection with the accomplishment of this purpose?
To what does the Bible liken the work of reconciling the world to God? In what way did the Lord provide an illustration of this work?
Why did the Israelites fail to keep God’s Law, and what was accomplished by their failure?
What essential difference does the Bible emphasize between the Law Covenant and the promised New Covenant?
What is one of the prerequisites for the people to have the Law of God written in their hearts?
Who will be associated with Jesus in the work of mediating the New Covenant?
What is the principal part the church will play as co-mediators of the New Covenant?
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
There are two important aspects of the Mediator’s work of reconciling God and man: (1) providing redemption from the penalty of sin; and (2) enlightening the people concerning this provision of divine love.