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Christ Is The Only Mediator
(Foundations Of The Brethren Doctrinal Stand)

Dr. Johnson C. Philip & Dr. Saneesh Cherian


Seeking the help of a mediator is human nature -- particularly when one seeks the favour of a person very high above us. A mediator is also sought when two parties are at odds with each others. Both the above cases apply to man's spiritual life.

When man tries to approach God, the finite one is trying to approach the infinite one, and the mortal one is trying to reach the eternal one. What is more, it is also a case where a sinner is trying to approach the most holy God who cannot have anything with sin, inequity, or unrighteousness. Every human being knows about this chasm between him and God, and -- rightly --  feels inadequate for this task. The problem is that he prefers to invent or manufacture mediators instead of looking for the mediator that God has provided.

From the moment man decided in Eden to act upon his own desires, instead of divine commands, he has been living with rebellion steeped deep in his heart. Doing what is wrong is closer to his heart than doing what is right. Thus instead of looking for the Mediator that God has provided, or even inquiring if God has provided a solution, mankind has been "manufacturing" mediators unto himself.  Most of these mediators were of pagan origin in Old Testament, but the rebellion has reached greater intensities in the Church age.

Church is the first age in which God's written word is available as a whole unit to mankind. What is more, increasing sophistication of writing materials has made it possible for common man to have easy access to the Bible. If the average Christian uses this access, he would immediately discover both God's method for access to Him, and also the Mediator through whom such access is available. The ONLY Mediator through whom such access is possible to God.

The Scripture says:

  • There is  one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1Tim 2:5 )
  • But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. ( Hebrews 8:6)
  • And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. ( Hebrews 9:15) 
  • And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24)

God's word is very clear that only one person has the credentials to function as a mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus. The Scriptures quoted above are so clear that one does not require any explanation to realize that other than Lord Jesus, there is no mediator between God and man. Couple that with Acts 4:12 which says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" and it becomes clear that our Lord Jesus is the only one Saviour and Mediator in the Universe.

The above fact is offensive to the average human mind because of his sin nature and rebellion against God. He wants a mediator who is human, but he dislikes the idea of someone who is also God. That is why Christendom has invented numerous mediators in the last two millennia who are totally human. These include numerous people whom the churches have declared as "Saints". Worse, these churches directly and indirectly encourage their followers to pray to these human saints to pray for them. In other words, these humans are supposed to mediate between man and God which is a terrible fallacy as well as a heresy.

The chief among the mediators invented by man is Mary who is labeled as the "Mother of God" by them, instead of correctly being labeled as the "Mother of Jesus". Things  have become so bad that in 1935 Mary was labeled a co-redemptrix along with Lord Jesus Christ. Thus for them the work of redemption is done not only by the God-Man Jesus Christ, but also by the human mother of Jesus. This demonstrates the fact that when humans formulate doctrines on the basis of considerations outside the Bible, they will always devalue God and would elevate human to the level of the divine.

The Scripture is very clear: there is only one redeemer and one Mediator, and that is Jesus Christ. All other mediators are man-made and are not mediators at all. In fact all of them need salvation exactly the way we need it through Lord Jesus Christ. Let us keep this in mind, and give reverence only to the one single Mediator between man and God.

God Is A Trinity
(Foundations Of The Brethren Doctrinal Stand)

Dr. Johnson C. Philip & Dr. Saneesh Cherian

The doctrine of Trinity states that "We believe in one God, who eternally exists in three persons". While human logic often defies an understanding of this doctrine at a human level, this is one doctrine that is strongly believed by all the major streams of Christianity, including the Protestant, the Roman Catholic, and the Eastern Orthodox.

 

Of course, every Christian knows about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct persons,  yet  God is one. The Godhood of the Father is a theme found throughout the Bible. For example, "Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed" (John 6:27). Godhood of Lord Jesus Christ is also mention in numerous places including John 1:1,  Romans 9:5 and 1 John 5:20.

 

Coming to Holy Spirit, many people think of Him only as a power, but as we study the Bible carefully, it becomes obvious that all the attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit also. Eternity: Hebrews 9:14,  Omniscience: 1 Corinthians 2:10,  Omnipresence: Psalm 139:7,  Holiness: all passages that apply the term "holy" to the Spirit,  Truth: John 16:13,  Love: Romans 15:30. Thus it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is a person co equal with the Father and the Son.

 

While each person is spoken of as  God, this does not mean that there are three Gods. On the contrary, God is one as we read in 1Timothy 2:5 that "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". Thus the right doctrine of God should take these two factors into account -- that God is one but also that He is spoken of as three co equal and co eternal persons. This is reconciled into a unified vision when we say that we believe in one God who eternally exists in three persons in such a manner that it is not three Gods but rather three persons but one God.

 

The doctrine of Trinity has given difficulty to many who have tried to understand the three in one and one in three concept of the Bible. This difficulty arises when humans try to understand Trinity using strictly human logic. Most of them overlook the fact that  when the finite man tries to understand the infinite God, difficulties are bound to arise. More so if he tries to understand the divine in terms of human logic, concepts, and terminology. Thus Trinity is something to be believed, based upon what the Bible says. It is not something to be explained using human logic.

 

Deliberate insistence upon human logic is the reason why  many erroneous teachings have come up about Trinity.  There are many groups that deny the divinity of Jesus, and accept only the Father as God. There is a cult known as Jesus only that says that there is only one person -- Jesus -- and that Father and Holy Spirit are the different form of Lord Jesus. These people develop these deviations when they ignore a large number of statements that are scattered all over the Bible about all the three persons in the Godhead.

 

This is not to imply that we should not try to understand or explain Trinity. On the contrary, one can definitely try to understand Trinity as much as a good analysis of the Bible can help oneself. The restriction comes when when are unable to understand a given point. At that juncture we should choose to believe what the Scripture says, instead of substituting a wrong or distorted human message.

Jesus: The Perfect God-Man
(Foundations Of The Brethren Doctrinal Stand)

Dr. Johnson C. Philip & Dr. Saneesh Cherian


One of the most important doctrines of the Bible is related to the two natures of Lord Jesus.  For convenience this is often called the Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union.

 

According to this doctrine, Lord Jesus is a unique person in this Universe who is both God as well as man. He is perfect God, and perfect (sinless) man in one person. His divinity and his humanity are inseparably united with each other in such a way that He is one person, not two. At the same time, there is no admixture of the human into the divine or the divine into the human. Thus the divine nature was not changed when he became flesh or human (John 1:1,14).  Instead, the divine nature was joined with the human without any confusion of nature (Colossians 2:9). 

 

The two natures are totally separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus.  This is called the Hypostatic Union. While it is easy for people to think of a person as God or as man, it is difficult for the unregenerate world to think of a God-man who is fully God and fully human. Even for the regenerate people it is at times difficult to properly understand this doctrine because the coming together of the infinite divine nature with the finite human nature is not at all easy to understand or comprehend.

 

Implications of the Doctrine:  The doctrine of God-man-saviour is very important from a number of angles. First of all, the divine involvement was essential because God wanted to bear the penalty of human sins. This would be possible only if God were the party who bore the punishment for humans sins. However, God who is perfectly righteous cannot bear such a penalty and thus a human was needed to bear sins.

 

God could not have created a human being afresh, because such a creation would not be from the race of Adam. At the same time, from the race of Adam He could not get a human who would be perfectly sinless as the sin nature taints the entire Adamic race. Yet, the Saviour needed to be Adamic in race so that he could bear the sins upon himself.

 

All of these things were satisfied when Lord Jesus (perfect God) came into this world through Mary's womb. Since He was God, human sins were borne by God Himself. Since He was born of Mary, He was from the Adamic race. Yet since He was conceived of a virgin, the human sin nature was not passed on to Him, and thus He was a sinless human being from the Adamic race. Thus Hypostatic Union and Virgin Birth together made it possible for God to freely bear the sins of mankind through a sinless son of Adam.

 

It was not necessary for God to go to all this length to save mankind. However, it is His infinite love towards mankind that He did so. Thus we the saved ones should always be grateful for the incarnation, the virgin-birth, and the God-man Jesus.

 

Distortions of the Doctrine:  Natural man cannot understand the things of God because he does not have the Holy Spirit in him to make him comprehend these things. Even the committed believer often finds it difficult to grasp the full range or implications of many doctrines when the doctrine involves a fusion of the finite and the infinite. Thus many have tried to mould the doctrine of Hypostatic Union in such a manner that it fits in well with their carnal or human intellect.

 

Obviously, doctrines manipulated so as to fit with human taste will become heresy. Thus there are many heresies related to the Hypostatic Union. The first error is to proclaim that the two natures of Jesus have some kind of an admixture. This error is called Eutychianism. Another one says that the two natures mingled with each others to become a single nature. This heresy is called Monophysitism. The Jehovah's Witnesses focus on Jesus' humanity and ignore His divinity.  The Christian Science sect emphasizes the divinity and ignores the humanity. Whenever the finite man tries to explain the infinite as per his taste and logic, errors are bound to arise. We see a lot of this in relation to the Hypostatic Union of Christ.

 

Summary: That God became man in Lord Jesus Christ so that God could bear the sins of mankind upon Himself is an amazing demonstration of God's love. That He had to take a human nature upon himself through virgin birth of Christ is another amazing fact of God's work for redemption. All of this should humble each one of us, motivating us to live with great commitment.



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