Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?
In the general sense we have already addressed this question by affirming that the dispute is between God and the “sons of disobedience” (Eph 5:6), that it is these two parties who have need of mediation in order to facilitate reconciliation.
Now who exactly are the “sons of disobedience” upon whom the wrath of God abides?
“And you [did he make alive,] when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, [under the direction of] the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:– but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly [places], in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: for by grace have you been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” (Eph 2:1-9)
In the forgoing statement the Apostle makes it evident that there is now a difference between the standing of the Church and that of the world in the sight of God—that we ‘were (once) children of wrath,’ but, by God’s grace, are such no longer, however the world still lies in the wicked one and are still ‘children of wrath‘ i.e. “sons of disobedience”.
Now the question is, how did this change come about, how was reconciliation made between the LORD and the Church, and was a Mediator required in this process?
“For it pleased the Father that in him (Christ) all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself, by him whether things on earth or things in heaven having made peace through the blood of his cross. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled (made atonement for) in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in his sight…” (Col 1:19-22)
“We are not rebels, we are not alienated from God, but now through faith in the blood we are children of God, and our Redeemer assures us, “The Father himself loves you.” (John 16:27)
A mediator implies hostility between two principals, requiring the intervention of a third party, and this is not the case with the Church. Even before the time came in the Lord’s plan when the Kingdom would be established, the rebels subdued, we were glad to hear the Father’s voice speaking peace through Jesus Christ, and we came to him: Surely, then, there is no need of a Mediator between the Father who loves his children and children who love their Father. However, the basis of our acceptance with the Father was our hearty renunciation of sin and our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as covering our blemishes and condemnation of the past, and our acceptance of the Father in Christ was on condition that we would henceforth walk in his steps, not after the flesh but after the Spirit, as set forth in the perfect law of liberty, the law of love to God and man.”
“With the gradual opening of the eyes of our understanding we noted in 1 John 2:2 the declaration that our Lord’s sacrifice was a propitiation, a satisfaction for our sins, the Church’s sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We perceive that in this text the Lord sharply differentiates between the Church and the world, between our salvation and the world’s salvation. True, at one time there was no difference, for we were all “children of wrath even as others” still are; but we who have heard the voice of the heavenly Father speaking peace through Jesus Christ, we who have accepted that message, we who have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son (through faith in the blood, the ransom), are no longer of the world, but, from God’s standpoint, constitute a separate and distinct class.
The Scriptures tell us that we are called, chosen, separated from the world. Our Master’s words are, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” John 15:16, 19” (Harvest Gleanings 2 Page 356)
“For if when we (the Church) were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more having been reconciled (acquitted of all charges), we shall be saved by his life, and not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (the atonement Greek, kattalage; the satisfaction of justice and restoration of God’s favor and harmony with himself).” Rom 5:10, 11
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God (who first instigated reconciliation), who reconciled us (i.e. all true believers) to himself through Jesus Christ (through faith in Christ and membership in the body), and has (henceforth) given us the ministry of reconciliation (of atonement, that is to say through our membership or participation in the body of Christ we become joint sacrificers with our Lord in the great antitypical Day of Atonement “sin-offerings” Leviticus 16, the “better sacrifices” spoken of in Heb 9:23 and through this ministry or service, our joint participation in these sacrifices we proclaim the message), that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (bringing about the at-one-ment between himself and the world), not imputing their trespasses to them (but laying them on Christ), and has committed to us the word (the honor of relaying the way) of reconciliation (the means by which return to God’s favor is obtained, both presently and in the next age). Now then we (the Church) are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, imploring you (those not yet reconciled, but who have an ear to hear) on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:17-20)
Once again our question: Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?
The Scriptures indicate that the two parties are God on the one hand and the “sons of disobedience” on the other; those not yet reconciled to him, “children of wrath”, out of harmony both with himself and with his laws. Clearly it is these two parties that are in need of mediation.
“Note the difference between the above and the Church’s attitude to the Father and the Son during this Gospel Age. We are introduced to the Father at once, because our hearts are in the right condition—desirous of knowing and doing God’s will to the extent of our ability and trusting in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice already applied on our behalf. When we consecrate our lives after the example of our Redeemer–“to suffer with him,” “to be dead with him,” that we may live and reign with him–the Redeemer, according to the Father’s Plan, becomes our Advocate, endorses our petition, applies his merit on our behalf and becomes guarantor for us, that we may be loyal to God, or die the Second Death. As our Advocate, our Lord does not stand between the Father and us, but stands with us as our Elder Brother, as Chief Priest over his own House of Priests. “For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Heb 2:11, 12)
The Redeemer purposes no mediatorial work in behalf of the Church. He is not our Mediator, he is our Advocate. “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (I John 2:1) Instead of standing between the Father and us, as during the Millennium he will stand between the Father and the world, he introduces us immediately to the Father, and the Father, on receiving us, immediately begets us of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord’s words are, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” —the Advocate of the Church.
As sinners we had no relationship to God. When we believed and turned from sin we had a justification by faith tentatively imputed to us, permitting us to draw nigh to God and to hear his message through Christ– speaking peace to us and informing us of the High Calling and assuring us that “Now is the acceptable time“; that during this Gospel Age he is willing to accept us as living sacrifices through the merit of Jesus and to beget us of the Holy Spirit to the divine nature. The moment we accepted those terms our Redeemer became our Advocate and immediately the entire contract was closed and we were begotten of the Holy Spirit. We were no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit–no longer in the Courtyard condition, but in the Holy or spirit begotten condition. The New Creature being without sin needed no Mediator to come between it and God.
“Now even though the New Creature requires no Mediator it does have need of an Advocate. Even though it is in full relationship with the Father and even though as a New Creature it has no sin–the sins cancelled at Calvary were those of the old creature only. Is it asked why the New Creature, begotten of God, sinless, needs an Advocate? We reply that it is because he has the treasure of the new mind in an earthen vessel that is very imperfect through the fall. The sins of his mortal body were all cancelled through the imputation of the Advocate’s merit and at that moment the old nature died and ceased its responsibility. He that is dead “hath ceased from sin.” (I Pet 4:1) The New Creature, which at that moment was begotten and as a new mind or new will took possession of the mortal body reckoned dead, is held responsible for its conduct in exactly the same manner that the owner of a dog is responsible for him. Whatever violence the dog may do, the owner is responsible, because he should have chained him up. So we, as New Creatures, are responsible for our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongues, in what they may do. If the tongue slanders another through weakness, force of habit, etc., the New Creature is responsible and must give an account.” (R4584 Par. 3-6)
The Church is not included with the world because they are already at one with God, reconciled, this reconciliation (or at-one-ment) they received NOT through any mediation, but simply through faith in the blood, faith in Christ AND in their membership in the body.
The reason we stress upon their membership in the body as being prerequisite to their reconciliation (their complete or full reconciliation) is because there exist in the household of faith those of differing degrees of reconciliation. Some as of yet, the unconsecrated have only received a measure of reconciliation, a measure of peace (Rom 5:1) this they received when through faith in Christ they entered the “courtyard condition” the “tentatively justified condition”. We say “a measure of peace” because they are not yet fully in harmony with God as indicated by their unwillingness to fully surrender themselves in full consecration, to take up their crosses and follow in the Master’s footsteps, which of course would naturally lead them to sacrifice something which they are not prepared to do. The majority of these are quite content with the belief that a mere profession of faith is all that is required of them.
The fully consecrated on the other hand realize that much more is expected of them than simply a mere profession of faith especially if they would ever hope to gain the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. These having followed in their Master’s footsteps not only receive their justification through him (actual justification, reckoned so), but likewise peace with God, but more than this they receive “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7) a full and complete peace obtained only by those who have submitted themselves totally to His will, and are thus at one with him, relieved of all anxiety, worry, or concern completely confident in the LORD’s over rulings, divine providence, these are considered more than just God’s friends, but his sons, begotten of the Holy Spirit.
And so we would consider those in the courtyard condition (the mere professor), not yet reconciled to God in the truest sense as being part of the world likewise, “children of wrath”, these along with the rest of the world will require mediation in order to complete the atonement between themselves and the LORD.
“Gradually those who went out from us because they were “not of us” are going into darkness on all subjects, especially this one. This was to be expected. A root of bitterness developing in the heart affects the sight. Light becomes darkness; darkness becomes light. New things pass away. All things become old again in the wrong sense.
These friends, not content with urging un-scripturally that they need a Mediator between them and God, become very angry with us because we point out to them the truth on the subject–that the Mediator is between God and men and NOT between God and the New Creature (the Church, the body of Christ)…These erstwhile friends, busy seeing what they can object to, are step by step walking into darkness.” (Be careful my friends that you are not found among them). R4585
In our next post we will address our forth question, who specifically is the Mediator? The typical answer is Christ, but who exactly is Christ?