Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 36. Who is the mediator of the covenant of grace?


Q. 36. Who is the mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.

We begin in the Catechism a most excellent discussion pertaining to Christ.

How does the Roman Catholic Church practically deny this truth of the Bible? In regarding Mary and the saints as mediators, praying to them, hoping for their intercession with God on behalf of sinners.

What is meant by affirming that Christ is the eternal Son of God? By affirming that Christ is the eternal Son of God, we mean that he has always been the Son of God, the second person of the divine Trinity, from all eternity. He did not become the Son of God when he became man nor at any tinie in the history of the created universe.

How is the doctrine of the deity of Christ denied today? (a) The doctrine of the deity of Christ is denied by those who say that Christ is divine because all men are divine. If all men are divine, then for Christ to be divine is nothing out of the ordinary. (b) The doctrine of the deity of Christ is denied by those who, while calling Christ “the Son of God,” still refuse to say that he is of one substance and equal with the Father. Such people consider it a sin to worship Jesus Christ. (c) The doctrine of the deity of Christ is denied by those who accept his deity only as a “limiting concept”; that is, when they speak of Christ as divine, or call him “the Son of God,” they do not mean that this is really the absolute truth about Christ; they only mean that Christ’s “deity” is a convenient label for classifying Christ for the time being; in calling Christ “God” they do not mean that he really and truly is God, but only that he is “God” for us human beings that he may occupy the place of God in our human thinking at the present time. It is obvious that the idea of Christ’s deity as a “limiting concept” is something very different from the faith of orthodox historic Christianity in Christ’s deity.

What is the importance of the word entire in this answer of the catechism? The word entire emphasizes the truth that Christ is not only truly but fully God and fully man both on earth and in heaven. There is no element lacking from either his deity or his humanity. With respect to his human nature, Christ possesses both a human body and a human soul, in addition to his divine Spirit. This is often overlooked, and Christ is wrongly represented as composed of a divine Spirit and a human body. Such a Christ would not be fully human. Because of his divine nature, Christ must not be thought of as less than fully God, nor in any sense subordinate to God the Father except positionally, by reason of his voluntarily assumed position of a servant while he was here on earth.

What is the importance of the word distinct in this answer of the catechism? The word distinct teaches the truth that Christ’s two natures, divine and hunian, while they were and are mysteriously united in one divine person, still are not in any way mixed, blended, or confused. Each reniains distinct and retains its separate identity. Christ’s divine nature always remains his divine nature; his human nature always remains his human nature; these two cannot be mixed in any way. Christ is not a being halfway between God and man; he is a person who is both God and man at the same time; he is as fully God as if he were not man at all; and he is as truly man as if he were not God at all. In the record of our Lord’s life on earth, at one point his deity shines forth, as when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am”, at another point his humanity is disclosed, as when he said, “I thirst.” But the two are never mixed or confused in any way.

What is the importance of the statement that Christ is “one person”? This statement avoids the error of those who have thought of Christ as a divine person united to a human person, so that Christ had a double personality. We should realize that according to the teachings of the Scriptures, Christ, while he possessed two natures, was only one person. It follows from this that Christ, while a human being, is not a human person. From all eternity he has been a divine person. At a certain point in history, this divine person took to himself, not a human person, but a human nature which lacked personality. Christ therefore was and is a divine person with a human nature. We should realize that human nature is that which all members of the human race have in common (namely, a human body and a human soul), whereas personality is that which distinguishes one member of the human race from all others. In the natter of human nature, all human beings are exactly alike. In the matter of personality, of all the people that have ever lived, there have never been two alike; each individual is different from all others. We should always be careful to avoid the common error and popular misconception which regards Christ as a human person. If Christ were a human person, then certainly it would be idolatry to worship him. But because he is a divine person, even though possessed of a human nature, it is not idolatry to worship him as the Christian church always has done.

I guess that clarifies why it matters to study this.

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