If only there were a mediator…

If only there were a mediator who could bring us together,
but there is none. —Job

The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of His punishment.  Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength…How can a person be declared innocent in the eyes of God? If someone wanted to take God to court, would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?—Whatever happens, I will be found guilty!

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all—But he was wounded and crushed for our sins.  He was beaten that we might have peace.  He was whipped, and we were healed!

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—He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 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. 

Job 9:33-35,3,29 NLT; I Tim.2:5,6 ESV; Is.53:5 NLT; Heb.4:15 ESV; Heb.7:24,25 ESV


Job attests to his own innocence in the face of  his friends’ accusations, but He also knows that noone is righteous in comparison to our holy God.  He knows God is his only hope and yet…he sees his life fleeing away filled with tragedy and pain.  And in his perplexed anguish he longs for a mediator…

I’ve been a Christian for a long time, pretty much a lifetime, so the doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice can seem commonplace, obvious. The tangible fear of God and awareness of my native unworthiness to exist in His awesome presence can fade.

But story has a way of awakening us to things we take for granted.  I’ve just finished James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which he explores the inner workings of the soul of an artistic lad reared in the shadow of the Irish Roman Catholic church of the last century.  Hellfire sermons such as I’ve never heard were common fare.  Confession to a priest was obligatory.  Guilt and sin were constant conscious realities for this intensely conscientious introvert. He knew the fear of God. He knew conceptually of the love of God, but he lived in fear of judgment. He slunk to the confessional in hopes of ridding himself of his immense burden of guilt.  And he adopted rigorous asetic habits in hopes of evading sin.  But alas,  the priest would pronounce absolution of his sins  only to demand a repeat confession at a subsequent meeting… His forced contrition failed to provide relief from the humiliation, shame and restless guilt that dogged his days. And in his heart of hearts he knew he did not, and could not love God by his own effort.  Obedience to the Church’s standards was the only hope he knew–more penance, more confession, more prayers of contrition, but no actual freedom from guilt. No life!

A Portrait was a dreary tale, with a bleak ending.  The young artist’s ‘coming-of-age’ declaration was “I will not serve that in which I no longer believe!”  Abandoning church and family he determined to strike out to express himself in some mode of life or art as freely and wholly as possible.  This conclusion would appear triumphant and courageous if it weren’t such a pitiful delusion.  For in fact what this young man needed was a Mediator with God to bring him peace with God.  No human priest could suffice.  Serving the church was not sufficient.  Pursuing freedom on his own terms would only lead to further bondage.  What was needed was a Mediator to plead his case with God and set him free to serve God wholeheartedly with his art.

Against the backdrop of this autobiographical story the reality of the peace and freedom I possess because of Jesus is tangibly profound. There is a Mediator!  I will gladly yield my life in service to this awesome God.  And lately there have been new songs in my heart that reflect this glory. In fact, we had the unexpected delight of standing in the mosh pit at a recent music festival where “My Story” was performed.  It is my story too. Turn up the volume and enjoy this praiseworthy re-make of an old hymn!!!  And praise God for our Mediator!

–LS

My Story lyrics:

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave
….
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
Songwriters: Michael Weaver / Jason Ingram

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;

no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Ps.34:5

*A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, 1916
If I have peaked your interest in this book, hop on over to my  Quotes and Notes blog for more details and some timeless quotes.
 https://dictationbydawn.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/a-portrait-of-faith-lost/

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