Christ, a Willing Submissive

This week’s post comes out of response to my class reading. We were reading a section on the mediatorial office of Christ in a book by William Shedd. In reading this reading I found inspiration for my own walk with Christ and my struggle with submission. Hope you enjoy!

The mediator between God and man cannot be God alone for by definition a mediator is one who can empathize with both parties and bring about a common good. He must be capable of intervening between the two parties and as God alone, Christ would not have been able to intervene for the opposing side, having only relation to the one side, the divine side. Thus the dual natures of Christ are a necessity for the position of intercessor or mediator.

In addition to taking on the position of mediator, Christ willingly took on a position of condescension and humiliation. This seems an odd reference to attribute to the divine, yet because the incarnation required the second person of the Trinity to assume a human nature; it required the infinite to humble himself in order to unite himself with the finite. The incarnation required the second person of the trinity to take a secondary position because by definition the position of mediator implies a “condition of dependence.” Shedd gives an example of a king volunteering to become an ambassador to his own subjects as being a condescension below his status, requiring the king to humble himself for the sake of his people. 

This section was particularly interesting to me because putting myself in a position of dependence is one of the more difficult parts of the Christian walk for me. The idea of submitting one’s will to another for any reason is a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around because of some previous life situations where an abuse of power has tainted the idea of dependence for me in such a way as to make it terrifying. Yet reading this section and seeing the reality of Christ’s willful submission to the father, to the point of condescending and humbling himself for the good of mankind, for no reason other than it was requested of him, was eye opening. We have a God that can relate to us, one who knows even our obscurest of struggles and who asks nothing of us that he has not already experienced or been required to face. When God asks submission of us and that we might submit our will unto his voluntarily, he knows the thoughts, struggles and feelings associated with that action. He can relate to the idea of submitting one’s self unto the will of another and he is not asking something of us that he has not already experienced and accomplished. He is not asking us from a place of ignorance, rather from a place of complete understanding.

Shedd goes on to discuss that the office of mediator is temporary and that at some point in the future it will no longer be a necessary office, rather redemption will be complete and Christ will be able to step out of that role. He also states that “the condescension and humiliation of the Logos in assuming a finite nature and executing a commission is to be recompensed.” When initially reading this, it seemed normal and natural for Christ, but as I continued to think over this part of the reading, it also has a message for those of humanity willing to submit to the will of God. God rewards those who willingly submit their wills to his in obedience. There will be a time when it is no longer a choreful effort that feels unnatural and imposing, rather when God’s plans have been accomplished and we have learned submission, it will become a part of our nature and will no longer be an area of humiliation and distaste. There too will be reward for our willing submission, because God does not require submission of his people for arrogant or self-flattering reasons, rather his laws and ways are truly for the flourishing of humanity. So in the same way as Christ will be rewarded for his submission, so too shall we be rewarded in that we shall be able to experience God in a way previously unknown to our rebellious willful nature.

Quotes from Dogmatic Theology by William Shedd.

One Comment:

  1. According to Timothy 2:5 there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity–the man Christ Jesus.