16 Q. Why must the mediator be a true and righteous human?
A. God’s justice demands
that human nature, which has sinned,
must pay for sin;^1
but a sinful human could never pay for others.^2
^1 Rom. 5:12, 15
^2 1 Pet. 3:18; Isa. 53:3-5,10-11
17 Q. Why must the mediator also be true God?
A. So that the mediator,
by the power of his divinity,
might bear the weight of God’s wrath in his humanity^1
and earn for us
and restore to us
righteousness and life.^2
^1 Isa. 53:8; Acts 2:24;1 Pet. 3:18
^2 John 3:16;1 John 1:2, 4:12; Acts 20:18 ; John 1[:4,12]
18 Q. Then who is this mediator—
true God and at the same time
a true and righteous human?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,^1
who was given to us
to completely deliver us
and make us right with God.^2
^1 Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16;Luke 2:11
^2 1 Cor. 1:30
19 Q. How do you come to know this?
A. The holy gospel tells me.
God began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;^
later God proclaimed it
by the holy patriarchsand prophets^2
and foreshadowed it
by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;^3
and finally God fulfilled it
through his own beloved Son.^4
^1 Gen. 3:15
^2 Gen. 22:18; 49:10-11; Rom. 1:2;Heb. 1:1; Acts 3:22-24; 10:43
^3 John 5:46; Heb. 10:7 [1-10]
^4 Rom. 10:4;Gal. 4:4
Lord’s Day 6 (Q/A 16-19)
“God’s News: Always Good, Forever Personal, Eternally Effective”
A Saturday Night Live! Segment parodied headline news shows where an anchor sits at a desk as various news items flash on every part of the screen: a scrolling marquee at the bottom of TV screens with brief blurb items of world and national disasters, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ totals in the upper-right hand corner, the local time for each time zone imaginable on the lower-right hand corner, the current weather and the weather forecast for the next week in whatever available space there was, with the eyeball of the news anchor somewhere peeking through this inundation of news feeds and information.
My wife and I spent the last three weeks reflecting daily on events that occurred: the revolution in Egypt, the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, the Zimmerman trial. And these were the headline news that captured CNN or New York Times headlines. Then there were other news stories that caused us to reflect: visiting family from Maryland and visiting friends from Korea, our sons’ summer travel baseball and the intensity that goes with that, our 11th wedding anniversary.
In any given day or week, we confront good and bad news, big and small, close to home or halfway around the world. Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Inundated with an overwhelming sense of who we are, what the state of the world around us is, there are many sources that call our attention to examine, to reflect, to pray, to act. In other words, to truly and fully live as we were created to be.
The brokenness in our own lives and in the world – at a microscopic level of our family relationships, our congregational life, the next door neighbor – to the macroscopic levels of a revolution of a whole country or a trial in Florida that captured the heart and mind of a nation – there is deep wounds and heavy scars we inflict upon one another, where we are both victims and victimizers in some way, shape or form. It becomes so overwhelming, that the apostle’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing” would keep us in prayer 24/7 if we literally took up that call and listed prayer concern after prayer concern.
The plight of 6 billion people, and beyond that, of anyone who ever was born and will be born, is exponential if ever the hopes, dreams, nightmares, and fears of us all can be quantified; no amount of Internet servers can possibly be the repository of that many petitions, intercessions, and prayers.
Q/A 16-19 is about the merciful and just God who is compassionate, who sees the brokenness of us all, the scars and wounds we have inflicted upon ourselves and each other because of sin that is ingrained in our hearts. God takes it upon Himself to heal the brokenness, to bear the weight of the pain that we inflict upon each other, to do so as a compassionate human being who becomes as one of us, to know and experience the human brokenness, the evil and destruction we wage. But being God, this unique human – Jesus the Christ — is able to bear the pain, the weight, the inundating burden of it all, to see sin for what it is, the bankrupt power of sin, and wage a war against sin and its effects on God’s good creation and nullify its power and its penalty with the determined love of God.
But it’s not just sin itself that God takes care of. It’s the very people in whom sin dwells. You. Me. Us. God draws us to His heart, “restor[ing] to us righteousness and life.” Such news has always been good news, even though we don’t recognize it or acknowledge it all the time. In fact, throughout history, from the time of the Garden of Eden, to us moderns in the 21st century and beyond, we don’t recognize it or won’t accept it.
Like that Saturday Night Live! spoof, so much news has inundated our attention that we either leave paralyzed because of the overwhelming number of it all, or we stop paying attention all together.
In the midst of each piece of news, each event, is the lurking Good News of God as Jesus Christ, who is the very Good News of God for the brokenness of the world. God’s News has always been Good, has always been personal, has eternally been effective.
God’s News is not like a stock market index that goes up one day and down another; neither is it a temporary salve to ease pain and discomfort. God’s News is Good because it is God’s own self-offering of Himself, the gift of Himself as Jesus Christ, for the life of the world.