Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope...(1 Tim. 1:1)
Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our hope. Imagine, for a moment, if instead of living in the present hour of history in which we find ourselves, you had been born around 100 B.C. In other words, dare to ponder what life would have been like before the coming of the Christ our Lord. Consider just how helpless and hopeless your sorry lot would have been. Wonder at how sad your condition, how grim your prospects, and how utterly impossible the problem of your sinful estate truly was.
First, there is the problem of your guilt. Innumerable willed transgressions against your Maker since you left the womb and began to forge your way in the world will soon be due for fierce judgment. Even now, why are you not swept away in the wrath of the Just One? How much longer will your punishment tarry? Should it not fall upon you like a snare this night? Yet even supposing you might find some means of acceptable sacrifice great enough to expunge these offenses, there remains another problem. It is not merely that you have done bad things, you are bad. Your whole being is corrupt through and through. Depravity produces in you an odious proclivity such that even though your guilt will swell all the more, you desire iniquity. What deliverance could you ever find from yourself? How could your very being be undone, as it were, and you become something that you are not now?
Supposing you could find a righteous man among the forlorn sons of Adam, could he speak efficaciously to God on your behalf? Even the virtue of Noah, Job, and Daniel are said to be only sufficient to save themselves when judgment is in the land (Ezekiel 14:14). You would not need merely a righteous man; you would need a perfect man – a sinless man. Since the Garden there had not been one to arise from any generation, or in any nation, but even if one were to come forth, how could their merits be credited on your behalf? Salvation belongs to the Lord. God alone is Savior. What confidence could there be that God would be inclined to show favor toward humanity even if a perfect man arose to stand as their representative?
For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both. (Job 9:32-33)
An insurmountable impasse, a gap too wide to ever be crossed – this was our plight. Who could adequately represent man to God, and God to man, so that the two parties might be reconciled? In short, what hope could there ever be without a mediator, just as Job lamented. Hear the old Puritan, William Witaker, describe our plight apart from Christ:
And, indeed, considering what God is, and withal what man is; how vastly disproportionable, how unspeakably unsuitable our very natures are to his; how is it possible there should be any sweet communion betwixt them, who are not only so infinitely distant, but so extremely contrary? God is holy, but we are sinful. In him is nothing but light, in us nothing but darkness. In him nothing that is evil, in us nothing that is good. He is all beauty, we nothing but deformity. He is justice, and we guiltiness. He “a consuming fire,” and we but dried stubble (Isa 6:3, with Gen 3:5; 1Jo 1:5, with Eph 5:8; Rom 7:18). In a word: he an infinitely and incomprehensibly glorious majesty, and we poor sinful dust and ashes, who have sunk and debased ourselves by sin below the meanest rank of creatures, and made ourselves the burden of the whole creation. And can there be any communion, any friendship, between such? “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amo 3:3). And what agreement can there ever be but through a Mediator?
And then came Jesus. All of the impossibilities collide in the Man who is the Mystery of God (Colossians 2:2-3). As the fullness of divinity dwells within a sinless human life, the door of true reconciliation opens before the created order. In perpetual enmity, the two polarities of God and man find rest with one another in and through Christ alone. Within Jesus unsearchable cross-currents blow: God descends toward humanity and man reaches toward God. The two movements, formerly in opposition, surge unhindered and collide in a wondrous peace in the man Christ Jesus. And the gap, formerly vacant, is spanned at last. In Christ, both God and man are equally and fully represented. Divinity penetrates and confronts man with His sovereign and holy claims, and humanity stands before the piercing Divine gaze to give account. Through His death and the shedding of His precious blood, our guilt is washed away. Through His resurrection we are born again and freed at last from the tyranny of our depravity.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus...(1 Timothy 2:3-5)
Christ alone! There is no one like Him. Jesus is utterly and supremely matchless, and His accomplishment on our behalf so uniquely and infinitely sufficient. May all of the excellencies of His identity be the anthem of our ecstatic praise. May His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His return be our sweetest treasure.