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“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

BETWEEN GOD AND MANKIND THERE IS A GREAT SEPARATION. We are cut off from our Creator by our sins. And this alienation is a problem we can’t solve by our own wisdom or human effort.

Mediator. Paul states that Jesus Christ is able to serve as a “mediator” between God and us. This does not mean that Jesus serves as an arbiter to work out a compromise between God’s position and ours. It means that He is a “go-between” enabling God to have a relationship with us that would be impossible otherwise.

Ransom. Jesus makes possible our reconciliation with God because he “gave himself as a ransom for all.” In other words, He paid the price for us to be released from our condemnation, dying in our place and thereby atoning for our sins. So God is now able to forgive us without violating the integrity of His own law. As Paul wrote to the Romans, God is able at once to be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

On one occasion, John the Baptist saw Jesus and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Freely and voluntarily, He “gave himself” as our ransom. In 1 Peter 2:24, Peter put it this way: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

But notice in our beginning text what Paul said about Jesus. Just as there is one God, there is only one mediator between God and men. Without Him, our sins will kill us. And this is exactly what Jesus said: “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

In this life, we can improve ourselves a little bit, but we can’t save ourselves from sin. We may be able to elevate ourselves, but we can’t grasp eternal life. And even when we come to Christ, we can’t have the life He offers except by dying with Him in baptism and accepting the kind of life He has for us in the here and now.

“The death of Jesus is the only entrance into the life he lived. We cannot get into his life by admiring him, or by saying what a beautiful life his was, so pure and holy. To dwell only on his life would drive us to despair. We enter into his life by means of his death” (Oswald Chambers).

Gary Henry — +

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