Where do we learn about Christ, the Mediator?
An Exposition of Question 19 of An Orthodox Catechism,
by Hercules Collins
Q. 19. From what source do you know this [i.e., who the Mediator is]?
A. Out of the gospel which God first made known in paradise (a), and afterwards did spread it abroad by the patriarchs and prophets (b), shadowed it by sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law (c), and lastly accomplished it by His only begotten Son, Christ our Lord (d).
(a) Gen. 3:15.
(b) Gen. 22:18; 49:10-11; Acts 3:22; 10:43; Rom. 1:2; Heb. 1:1.
(c) John 5:46; Heb. 10:7ff.
(d) Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:24; 4:4; Heb. 13:8.
This is a marvelous statement. Where do we learn about the Mediator? “Out of the gospel,” the Catechism asserts. The gospel is the good news of a Mediator ordained by God who takes care of our sin problem, which includes our guilt (i.e., liability to punishment) and lack of righteousness (i.e., lack of obedience to the law of God) unto eternal life.
Here the Catechism asserts that the gospel was revealed very soon after Adam and Eve fell into sin. It asserts that it was spread subsequently by the patriarchs and prophets. It was shadowed or typified by the sacrificial system and other ceremonies in the Old Testament. And finally, it was accomplished by our Lord. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith says something similar to this. In 7.3, it says, “This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament.”
Both the Catechism and the Confession cite Genesis 3:15, which says, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel” (NASB). This is actually given in the form of a curse on the serpent, the pawn of the devil. The promise is that one will come from a woman who will deal a death-blow to the devil and all the effects of the devil on the earth. In 1 John 3:8, we read, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” The promise of the skull-crushing seed of a woman is very old and it is the first revelation of good news for sinners. It is fulfilled in the incarnation, life, ministry, sufferings, death, and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Both the Catechism and the Confession assert that the gospel was in the Old Testament. Listen to the words of Paul in Romans 1:1-3a, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which [gospel] He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son…” The gospel was first revealed as a promise in the Old Testament.
Both the Catechism and our Confession assert that the gospel was accomplished by our Lord Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. When we read the New Testament, it is clear that it views the coming, ministry, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord as the fulfillment of promises given long before the New Testament was written. For example, listen to Paul before King Agrippa, “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23).
We learn about the Mediator in the gospel, which was first promised in the Old Testament then accomplished by our Lord as recorded for us in the New Testament.
Richard Barcellos, pastor
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