Why Solo Christo?

Spout-offs Friday, January 18th, 2013


The third of six posts on the doctrine behind the new album.

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, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

Growing up in a culture which is at the same time secular and infused with religious clichés, it’s easy to miss the revolutionary significance of this statement. If “Jesus is my homeboy”, what need is there for a mediator?

There are two reasons why a mediator is needed between God and man. In the first place, as Luther put it, “God in his own nature and majesty is to be left alone; in this regard, we have nothing to do with him.” As creator, there is no necessity that God should reveal himself to creation: authors do not typically write themselves into their own stories, much less redeem their characters thereby. The transcendence of God requires that we have a mediator – namely the Word of God, which has always been the only means of interaction between God and man, and which became incarnate in Christ (John 1:14).

Quite apart from this, however, sin has estranged us even from the Word of God. That is, we have turned from the Good and broken our natural communion with it. “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts” (Rom. 1:24), from which position we are totally unable to seek again after it.

In the past, this estrangement was mediated by a priest – one who came to God on behalf of the sinner and offered a sacrifice for atonement. We therefore had two mediators: the Word of God who ministered to our createdness, and a priest, who ministered to our fallenness.

With the incarnation of the Word, however, our ontological mediator became as well our priestly mediator – a perfect high priest (Hebrews 2:17, 4:14-15, 9:11-12). Therefore there is now one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

This liberating truth was unfortunately lost in the Roman Catholic division of priests and laity. Indeed, there was little a lay-person had to do with God without the mediation of a priest through confession and sacraments. This was the great rediscovery of Solo Christo, and its corollary, The Priesthood of All Believers. Every believer may, with the mediation only of Christ, himself “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).

Gone then is the power of a priesthood over men’s souls when God himself has assumed both offices on our behalf! This is the promise of Solo Christo – Christ Alone: where Solo Scriptura placed on us individually the responsibility to seek the truth, Solo Christo tells us that God has given it to us by his own goodness.