New City Catechism 21.2

Question 21: What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?

Answer: One who is truly human and also truly God.

Jesus Christ is fully God, but he is also fully human. If he lacks any part of human nature, then that part of humanity is left unredeemed by his incarnation and saving work. This is why Scripture teaches, and the church has long affirmed, that God the Son united to himself a fully human nature, including both a human body and a human soul, in his incarnation. This is why he is qualified to be our mediator: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

As mediator, Jesus Christ is our high priest forever. If a day ever comes when there is not a qualified man in heaven standing on our behalf on the basis of his own sacrifice and intercession, then that is the day we lose our standing in God’s favor and fall under his wrath for our sins. As a man who lives forever, Jesus Christ represents us before God forever, interceding on our behalf so that our sins may be forgiven: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).

One additional reason we should be encouraged by the biblical teaching of Christ’s full humanity is that, by identifying with our humanity, Jesus Christ is not removed from our sufferings and temptations: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). May we look to him as both our high priest and as our supreme example.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Hebrews 7. How does this passage draw from the story of Melchizedek in Genesis 14? What does it teach us about Christ?


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