And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:…
I. OUR DIVINE MEDIATOR'S POSITION INVOLVES TWO OFFICES. We are not now living under the immediate government of God, but under the reign of the Mediator. Jesus as Mediator has become —
1. Our Judge. "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." "To this end Christ both died, and rose, End revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living, for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." In this capacity Christ has judicial authority over all men, and He will try all of us at the last, as He is even now sitting in judgment upon all our acts and thoughts and intents. We shall each one appear before His great white throne, and if any are condemned, His lips shall say, "Depart, ye cursed"; if any are glorified, from His lips shall proceed the sentence, "Come, ye blessed." That judgment will be authoritative and final.
2. A Saviour. "That through His name whosoever believeth in Him should receive remission of sins." He has the sovereign right of condemnation or justification. He has authority to pass by transgression, His atonement has made it possible for Him to do this in perfect consistency with tits character as Judge. And the same universality which pervades the Mediator's dignified proceedings as Judge is to be seen in His condescending operations as Saviour. He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him. Let the two offices dwell together: "He is a just God and a Saviour."
II. BOTH THESE OFFICES REGARD MEN AS SINNERS. I am sick to the death of hearing men talk about the goodness which is latent in human nature. The case of Cornelius makes it evident that the best natural religion needs to be illuminated by revelation, and instructed by the doctrine of the Cross.
1. Christ comes to judge because there are sinners to be judged. If you find me a nation which has no tribunals, no punishments, it must either be the scene of utter anarchy, or else a nation where all obey the law, and such a thing as a criminal is unknown. The setting up of the last great assize, and the making of that assize to have reference to all men, and the appointment of the supremest Person in existence to conduct that assize — all these facts imply guilt somewhere, and abundance of it.
2. Christ comes to save because there are sinners to be saved. He comes to remit sin; but there can be no remission of sins to those who have never transgressed. However wide the "whosoever" is, so wide is the guilt: the remedy measures the disease.
3. Putting the two things together, the very fact that there is a Mediator at all regards man as fallen. God could have dealt with us immediately, without an Intercessor, had we been as the first Adam was before his fall. It is by reason of sin's influence upon the race that it became necessary that there should be a "Daysman that might lay His hand upon both," and deal with God in His Divine Person, and yet deal with fallen man in His humanity.
III. THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED BY OUR LORD AS JUDGE MATERIALLY COMFORT US IN LOOKING AT HIM AS SAVIOUR.
1. As Judge, Jesus —
(1) Has full authority: He is fully commissioned of God to acquit or to condemn. Oh, then, if He gives me pardon through His blood, it is a free pardon under the King's own hand and seal.
(2) Possesses the amplest knowledge. A judge should be the most instructed, or he is not fitted to decide in matters of difficulty and importance. Jesus Christ as Judge is incomparably fit to judge men, for —
(a) He knows men thoroughly. He is Himself a Man, and knows all about us by experience as well as by observation.
(b) He knows the law. Hath He not said, "Yea, Thy law is within My heart"? No one knows the law of God as Jesus did, for He kept it in every point.
(c) He knows what sin is. He has lived among sinners as a Physician, making a specialty of the disease of sin. Though He had no sin of His own, yet all sin was laid on Him.
(d) He knows the punishment of sin. A judge must know what penalties to award. Jesus knows this well enough, for He Himself also hath once suffered for sin, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God.
2. Inasmuch as Christ is qualified to be Judge, it equally qualifies Him to pardon. For —
(1) He knows thee thoroughly, and can cleanse thee thoroughly. He knows the law, and therefore He knows how legally to acquit, so that no further question can be raised. Since He knows the penalty, because He has borne it all, He will take care that none of it shall ever fall on us. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect since God hath justified?
(2) All the personal qualifications of our Lord as Judge remarkably tend to make the pardon of His people the more blessedly clear, for as a Judge He is very just. "Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness." Well, then, when He forgives it must be just to forgive.
IV. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FIRST OFFICE OF THE MEDIATOR IS NECESSARY TO OUR ACCEPTANCE OF HIM IN HIS SECOND CAPACITY. This was why Peter preached it; this was why Paul before Felix reasoned concerning righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. This is why the Holy Spirit Himself convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. If you do not believe in Christ as your Judge, you never will accept Him as your Saviour.
V. THE SAVING WORK OF CHRIST'S MEDIATORIAL OFFICE IS THAT WHICH CONCERNS US MOST AT THIS PRESENT TIME.
1. Note the words, "Shall receive remission of sins." What is this? It is the causing of sin to cease to be. God in wondrous mercy is prepared to forget your sin, to blot it out, to cast it behind His back, to cast it into the depths of the sea.
2. Note that this is to be done in Christ's name. There is no other name in which pardon can be bestowed.
3. This is to be had through faith.
4. This blessed news has reference to everyone in the whole world that will believe in Jesus.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: