The Five Solas of The Protestant Reformation–Part 5b Solus Christus: Christ Alone

In a previous blog, I discussed how we can view Solus Christus through the lens of Christ as our Perfect Mediator described by the context and chorus of unity recorded in 1 Timothy 2:5-6–”For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time” (NASB). 
 
Today’s focus involves the role that covenants play in our understanding of Solus Christus.
 

Covenants Defined

Throughout the Bible, covenants refer to binding agreements involving two parties with clear understanding about the process, people, power, perks, and penalties associated with fulfilling the terms of a contract. Stated differently,  “A covenant is essentially a relationship, but it’s a relationship that has been formalized and has been brought under sanctions, as it were. So there are blessings that come if the relationship is kept, and there are penalties that come if the relationship is broken, and a covenant is simply the terms of that relationship.” 1
 

Covenants Described

Both the Old Testament and New Testament contain examples of binding agreements such as the Adamic Covenant, Noahic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Davidic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, Priestly Covenant, and New (Christ) Covenant.  As Mark Jones explains, “All of these biblical covenants are part of the one covenant of grace—the covenant God made with man after the fall. This covenant of grace was the promise to Adam of the coming seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).”  2
 
Jones’ views emphasize the interrelatedness of every covenant mentioned in the Bible:  God’s holiness and righteousness is the only means through which covenants can be kept.  Implicit in these covenant descriptions is a recognition of the truths behind Romans 3:10-12 which describes how humanity’s spiritual depravity immediately disqualifies us from having any moral, ethical, or innate ability to fulfill our end of a binding agreement (covenant).  
 

Covenants Differentiated

All of this brings us back to our key phrase from 1 Timothy 2:5  “one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 
 
The New Covenant, also known as Christ’s Covenant, is distinct from all the other covenants for several reasons.  First, Christ embodies the definition and implications of covenants because He is a Great High Priest:  sinless and empathetic to our physical and spiritual needs (Hebrews 4:14-16).  He is uniquely qualified because He is both 100% God and 100% man. For more insight on this topic, I highly recommend reading Matt Perman’s article How Can Jesus Be God and Man? 3
 
Second, Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins.  Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:15, and Hebrews 12:24 point out why Christ’s covenant is “new.”  It’s not “new” because it’s a previously unplanned binding agreement: it’s “new” because it’s the fulfillment of all other covenants.  Whereas Old Testament priests repeatedly offered and sacrificed animals as a symbol for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus’ death was a one-time sacrifice sufficient to pay the sin debt for everyone.  John the Baptist affirms this after seeing Jesus: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The Apostle Paul provides even more explanation in Hebrews 10:1-18.  
 
Third, Christ is our Divine Advocate who intercedes to God on our behalf because of His redemptive work on Calvary (1 John 2:1 and Hebrews 4:14-16).  His unique relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit enables Him to plead our case before a Holy Judge.  This can only occur because “He makes reconciliation between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a mediator must be at once divine and human.”  4
 
My next blog will address how the phrases “Christ Jesus” and “ransom” should lead every believer to rejoice in Solus Christus.
 
1  “What Is a Covenant? – Biblical Meaning and Importance Today.” Christianity.Com, 17 Apr. 2019, www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-is-a-covenant-biblical-meaning-and-importance-today.html.
 
2  Mark Jones. “What Is a Covenant? By Mark Jones.” Ligonier.Org, 1 May 2014, www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-covenant.
 
3  Matt Perman. “How Can Jesus Be God and Man?” Desiringgod.Org, 4 Nov. 2019, www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-can-jesus-be-god-and-man.
 

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