Easter Meditations: “The Divine Dilemma” (part 4)

Romans 5

12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ Our Mediator

“Fix your thoughts on this sentence:

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.

J.I. Packer says it isn’t too much to describe these verses as “the key, not merely to the New Testament, but to the whole Bible, for they crystallize into a phrase the sum and substance of its message.”

In this one sentence, Paul succinctly captures the main theme an essence of the entirety of holy Scripture—as well as answering the desperate cry we heard from job for someone to arbitrate between God and man. Yes Paul declares, there is a mediator! There is someone to arbitrate between us, to lay His hand on us both and remove the rod of God’s wrath so His terror frightens us no more. There’s a unique intermediary between God and humanity: the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as the ransom for all. The Bible’s complete message hinges on this one point.

Because of God’s amazingly gracious heart toward those who thoroughly deserve only His wrath, he both planned for and provided this mediator to resolve the divine dilemma—a mediator who, through His blood, would accomplish a unique assignment utterly unlike any other work of mediation. In the mystery of His mercy, God—the innocent, offended party—offers up to death His own Son, to satisfy His righteous wrath and save the guilty party from it.

“The glory of the gospel,” says R.C. Sproul, “is this: The one from whom we need to be saved is the one who has saved us.” John Stott expressed it this way: “Divine love triumphed over divine wrath by divine self-sacrifice.” (p. 42-43)

From Christ Our Mediator, by CJ Mahaney, Multnomah, 2004.

The Precious Blood

Words and music by Peter Gagnon

As recorded on Valley of Vision

Before the cross I kneel and see
The measure of my sin
How You became a curse for me
Though You were innocent
The magnitude of Your great love
Was shown in full degree
When righteous blood, the crimson spill
Rained down from Calvary

Oh, the precious blood
That flowed from Mercy’s side
Washed away my sin
When Christ my Savior died
Oh, the precious blood
Of Christ the crucified
It speaks for me before Your throne
Where I stand justified

And who am I that I should know
This treasure of such worth
My Savior’s pure atoning blood
Shed for the wrath I’d earned
For sin has stained my every deed
My every word and thought
What wondrous love that makes me one
Your priceless blood has bought

A crown of thorns, pierced hands and feet
A body bruised, and Mercy’s plea

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

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