Before the Reformation, Christians properly understood that, because of sin, direct access to God was impossible for man. They understood that no one could enjoy a right relationship with God without first going through Christ. The problem, however, was in the widespread belief that even Christ could not be approached directly. Vast multitudes of additional intermediaries had been imagined, through whom it was necessary to go if one desired communion with God. The worshipper might begin with a priest. If that were not enough, he might have to pray to the proper departed saint. If his relationship with that saint was somewhat strained, he might have first to find another departed saint more sympathetic to his plight. From there, perhaps, he could find some path, some chain of intermediaries by which, if he were fortunate, he might eventually gain access to Christ, and then to God.
As the Protestant Reformation dawned, however, God began graciously to open the eyes of his people to many biblical truths that had nearly been forgotten. One of these was the teaching that there was only one person qualified to serve as mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. Upon this rediscovery, the Reformers began to teach that, even though unmediated access to the Father was not possible, man could approach Christ directly and through him alone enjoy a reconciled relationship with God. This truth later came to be summarized by the Latin phrase, Solus Christus, or “Christ Alone.” This is the doctrine that, other than Christ, no other mediator between God and man is possible, and that in addition to him, none other is necessary.
Conflicts arise in every human relationship. Sometimes these conflicts grow so acute that these relationships are fractured, even to the point where direct reconciliation is no longer possible. A mediator, then, is one who steps in between two parties at this critical point in an effort to help restore peace between them. Effective mediators must possess unique qualifications. They must understand the interests of the person who sends them. They must have access to and a favorable relationship with the offended party. They must be able to help the opposing parties facilitate a solution to the conflict responsible for the damaged relationship.
The scriptures are clear that all men have sinned, and that sin has effectively destroyed man’s relationship with God. The enmity between God and man is infinitely more severe than any conflict arising from mere human relations. Man in his natural state hates God, and God stores up eternal wrath against man. Without a mediator, without someone to bridge the gap, their relationship is doomed; and man will certainly fare the worse for it. Who could possibly mediate such animosity? He must be one who deeply comprehends the nature of man, one who has full favorable access to God himself, and most importantly, one who can effectively facilitate a solution to the seemingly insurmountable problem of sin.
Consider, then, the qualifications of Christ for this ministry of mediation between God and man. Because he has partaken of our nature and experienced our sufferings and temptations, he fully understands our needs and weaknesses; because he is the obedient beloved Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased, he enjoys unfettered access to the very throne of God; and because he is the spotless Lamb of God, who has shed his perfect blood, he has done more than facilitate- indeed, he has become the solution to the problem of sin. Through him, therefore, we can be completely restored to peace with God. How could another ever do the same? Without the mediation of Christ, man has no hope. If we would be reconciled to God, it is in him alone that we must place our trust. In addition to him, we need no other.