W. G. T. Shedd on Christ laying down his mediatorial authority

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The Mediator will carry on his work of saving sinful men, until he has gathered in his church, and completed the work according to the original plan and covenant between himself and his Father, and then will surrender his mediatorial commission and office. There will then no longer be any mediation going on between sinners and God.

The church will be forever united to their Divine Head in heaven, and the wicked will be shut up in the “outer darkness.” That Christ’s mediatorial work does not secure the salvation of all men during the appointed period in which it is carried on, is proved by the fact that when “the end cometh” some men are described as the “enemies” of Christ, and as being “put under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:24, 25). All of Christ’s redeemed “stand before his throne” (Rev. 14:3; 19:4-7; 21:3). They are in the “mansions” which he has “prepared” for them (John 14:2, 3). ...

For more, see W. G. T. Shedd on Christ laying down his mediatorial authority.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you Daniel, this is enlightening. It hadn’t clicked with me that his mediatorial work is what 1 Corinthians 15:24 and 25 are referring to. Lovely!
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you Daniel, this is enlightening. It hadn’t clicked with me that his mediatorial work is what 1 Corinthians 15:24 and 25 are referring to. Lovely!
If I recall correctly, a proper understanding of this text is key to refuting the ESS position... there were blog posts a few years back that mentioned Matthew Henry's and John Calvin's commentaries on this passage.

At the time I had never thought much about the issue one way or the other and was a bit befuddled as to how to discern the truth here. But those two commentaries helped me to see that the traditional Reformed view incorporated a distinction lost by the ESS camp. They looked at passages like this and saw it as proof of ontological subordination and I began to see that they were flattening the distinction between the second person of the Trinity and Christ's work because they didn't think about Christ the Mediator.

Another thing that clicked into place was the nature of Christ's mediatorial work - I had tended to think of Christ's work as ending at the resurrection. But dwelling on this passage forced me to seriously acknowledge the rest of the creed: his ascension, heavenly session, and coming again in glory. Christ's humiliation ends at the resurrection but the exaltation of Christ the Mediator continues and Christ the Mediator is now at God's right hand purifying my prayers and interceding for me. He still has work to do, even if that work is framed in the context of his main mission being fully accomplished.

Without that puzzle piece clicking into place for me I don't know how else I would have made sense of these passages except to start to see some sort of ontological power dynamic at play. I don't even really know when I became firmly convinced on this matter. I read a lot about it for a year or two and then stopped and at some point it just made sense - the Reformed confessions and theologians implicitly rejected ESS, the creeds don't allow for it, and it's a novel view. As C.S. Lewis said, "What's new is not true and what's true is not new." At any rate, this passage was helpful to me in regards to this topic.
 
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