Q&A: One Mediator between God and Humanity

One Mediator between God and Humanity

Why is Jesus the only one that can redeem humanity?

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Answer

There are not other redeemers besides God the Son. We know that clearly because 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is only one God and one mediator between God and humanity. Theologically, it's consistent to say that only Jesus, God the Son, can be the mediator, the Redeemer, because there are at least two things that he's got to do to be able to accomplish salvation. And doing that requires that he be God and man to do it. One is that we've got to have our sin forgiven. The only way that sin can be forgiven is if somebody, who can suffer the punishment of God's eternal wrath of hell, has got to stand in as a human being and suffer that punishment. God can't suffer punishment without becoming incarnate. We can't get some animal to do it for us. It's got to be a human being suffering the punishment for the human crime. But then, he's also got to be somebody who is divine, because it's not just suffering the punishment, but it's being able to end the eternal wrath of God. As finite creatures, we cannot ever exhaust the punishment for our sin against an infinite, eternal God. We would never get to the end of it. That's why hell goes on forever and ever. But when you bring Jesus, as a divine person, into the punishing situation, he's suffering the punishment as a man, but it's the immense, infinite, eternal worth of who he is as a person that is able to exhaust and end, in a final way, the punishment against us for our sin, the punishment that we deserve. So, those two things are necessary to fulfill if salvation is going to be occurring, and only a divine incarnation of God the Son is going to do that job.

Answer by Dr. John McKinley

Dr. John Mckinley is the Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola Universtity in La Mirada, California and is affiliated with the Evangelical Theological Society.