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Chapter 27-The Offices of Christ

The Offices of Christ

 

THREE offices are ascribed by the Scriptures to Christ–those of prophet, priest and king.

I. CHRIST AS PROPHET.

This word is to be taken in its wider sense of inspired teacher.

It is frequently confined, in common language, to one who foretells future events. But it literally means one who speaks for his God, and denotes a divine teacher merely. Thus Moses is spoken of as a prophet, and Christ was foretold as a prophet who should he like unto Moses.

It is in connection with this that the term Logos, or Word, applied to Christ in the 1st chapter of John is appropriate.

With the office of teacher, Christ united, as was common with the prophets, the prediction of future events and the working of miracles. But the office of teacher was his special work as prophet.

This work is discharged in the following ways:

1. In the personal revelations which he made, before the days of his incarnation, to our first parents, to the patriarchs and to others of their day, to Moses and the people of God in the wilderness, and to various others, as Manoah, the children in the furnace, etc. These were made in appearances of human form, in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the Shechinah, etc., etc.

2. In the inspired revelations which he made through holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament Scriptures are composed of a portion of these.

3. While on earth in his incarnation.

(1) Personally as, (a) he set forth by his own acts the divine attributes, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity of existence, etc., and (b) as he exhibited God’s love for man, his hatred of sin, and his love of holiness and righteousness in the work of man’s salvation.

(2) By his instructions, as he taught (a) in words to his disciples and others what he exhibited in his person as to the matters above stated, and (b) the truths relative to the kingdom he was to establish, its nature, its subjects, the relations they should bear to each other, to him and the Father, and their future destiny and glory as well as the condition and fate of those who should reject him.

4. By the instructions he gave through his apostles and other inspired men after his ascension.

5. By the revelation of himself in the lives and character of his true disciples in all ages.

6. By the instructions given through his preached word in all ages.

7. By the revelations of glory he shall make to the church of first-born ones in the world to come.

8. By the revelation which through these, he shall make of the glory of God to the universe of created intelligences.

 

II. CHRIST AS PRIEST.

The office of “Priest” is one of divine appointment. That of Christ corresponds to that of the High Priest under the Mosaic economy, and is foreshadowed by it. The Epistle to the Hebrews sets this forth very plainly and explicitly. The priesthood of Christ, however, varies from that of the High Priest in several particulars. Christ’s priesthood is perpetual, is in one person, without predecessor or successor, making one offering, once for all; an offering actually not symbolically effective, deriving value not from appointment alone, but from its nature also. In this case, also, the victim is the same person as the High Priest. Consequently Christ’s office as priest is to be contemplated in the twofold aspect of priest and victim.

1. As Priest, he offers up the sacrifice, laying it upon the altar of oblation, and through it appeasing the wrath of God, making reconciliation between God and man, and securing, in its proper presentation, the removal of guilt and punishment from man.

As Priest he also intercedes with God for pardon or justification or other blessings for all for whom he died, in all the respects in which his death is available for each.

The first of these priestly offices was discharged upon earth, the second is discharging in heaven. It does not cease with his life on earth, but he is represented as continuing as an ever-living High Priest to make intercession for us, Heb. 7:23-25; sitting down at the right hand of’ God, Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 8:1; 9:12-21. (See the law as to the Jewish High Priest entering in once every year in Heb. 9:27; also in the law laid down in Ex. 30:10; Lev. 16:2, 11, 12, 15, 34; see also Heb. 7:27; 10:10. 1 Pet. 3:18, confines it to their sufferings and does not include the offering.) It is not for the purpose of offering the sacrifice that he is there, Heb. 9:24, 25; but to make intercession for those for whom the sacrifice has already been offered, Heb. 10:11, 12, 14-18. These passages show it was such an offering as actually sanctified (v. 10), and purified (v. 14) them that are sanctified.

While we are not to suppose that he is engaged in actual spoken prayer before God, we are also not to understand by this a mere influence of his sacrifice continued without further activity on his part, but some real activity corresponding fully to the essence of prayer and petition, to which is due all the blessings to which his people attain.

This intercession is made for his people, Luke 22:32, John 14:16; 17:9, 15, 20, 24; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 4:14-16. The passages in Isaiah 53:12 and Luke 23:34 have been adduced as indicating intercession which avails in some respect for all men. But such benefits are not the result of intercessory prayer, nor of Christ’s atoning work conferring general benefits; but they come from the necessary co-existence of the persons thus benefited with those to whom the resulting benefits of the atoning work belong.

2. Christ as the victim.

(1) His qualifications.

(a) His sinlessness; for this position he needed to be pure, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and one in whom there was no sin. He must be a spotless Lamb.

(b) His humanity; that he might be of common nature with those for whom he died, and that he might be capable of suffering, and of such suffering as man may endure.

(c) His divinity; that his successful Prosecution of the work might be assured, and that his offering might have merit sufficient to ransom those for whom he died.

(d) His federal relation; that he might he a proper substitute for sinners, not any securing righteousness by obedience, but bearing and removing their guilt by making satisfaction for it.

(2) The offering. Thus qualified he was offered up as a victim; his body to the suffering which culminated in his death on the cross, and his soul to the anguish due to the realized presence of imputed sin, to the wrath endured from God, and to the separation from God’s favor while bearing that wrath.

 

III. CHRIST AS KING.

Christ announced to his disciples just before his ascension, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Math 28:18. Peter at Pentecost declared, “that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified;” Acts 2:36.

Constant references had been previously made to his kingdom. It was not simply spoken of as the kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven, but as closely connected with Christ. Luke 22:29, 30; 23:42; John 18:37.

1. Christ as the God-man is Mediatorial king.

As Son of God he had the right of rule over the universe. Of this he emptied himself and became man, that he might become Mediator and do the work of salvation. Having become man he died on the cross. On this account he has been exalted, so “that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, * * * and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.” Phil. 2:6-11. Compare Acts 2:22-36, especially verse 36. “God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” Also 1 Cor. 15:24-26.

2. Christ reigns over his spiritual kingdom, securing the final result of the establishment of that kingdom in the persons of all his people when he shall “present the church to himself, a glorious church.” Eph. 5:27.

3. He reigns over his visible churches on earth through the laws he has given, through the Spirit by which he dwells in them, and by his providences, overruling, controlling, and accomplishing all his purposes.

4. The rules over this world as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, causing all things to work together for his ends.

5. He rules over the universe. His sway is not limited to earth.

6. His Mediatorial reign is not confined to human subjects, but extends also to angelic. The angels of heaven are his attendants and his messengers.

7. He even rules over Satan and his evil angels. Their exercise of power for evil is permitted only for a time. Even during that time it is controlled by Christ; so that it is limited by his will, and is, therefore, truly subjected to him.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

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The Wednesday Word: He Became Like Us

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

The Eternal Word became one of us in order to redeem us. Indeed, our verse says, “He was made like unto his brethren.” He took our nature and paid for us with His blood. If ever we were to have been saved, there was an absolute necessity for Christ to have become one of us. Consider our predicament: we were on earth and God was in heaven. We were polluted, but God was pure. We were unrighteous, but God was just. How then could He look upon us and grant us grace?

We were without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12). We needed someone to span the immense divide between God and us and rescue us. But to do this, this rescuer would have to become low enough to reach the bottom of our pit (Genesis 18:27). He would also have to be high enough to reach the exalted glory of Yahweh (1 Timothy 6:16). But, where could we find someone low enough and high enough all at the same time? The answer was and is in Christ alone, our Great High Priest. He was and is the exclusive hope of sinners for He alone established the bridge between man and God.

He is now our great high priest and is according to our text both merciful and faithful! Mercy is an interesting word which is inseparably linked to the concept of misery. The objects of mercy are those who were in misery. Indeed, it is only the miserable who sue for mercy! In his misery, for example, Blind Bartimaeus cried out, “Jesus son of David have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47). In His mercy, our priest, the Lord Jesus destroyed the eternal misery of death and the grave for us! In mercy, He destroyed the misery of Satan’s authority over us. In mercy, He took away our sin and misery and reckoned us with His righteousness. He is our champion. Because of mercy, no believer need ever be destroyed by the misery of sin.

But not only is our high priest merciful, He is also faithful. In His faithfulness He finished His work (John 17:4). In His faithfulness, He is our present help in time of trouble! In His faithfulness, He brings all needed gifts and blessings of God to us. In His faithfulness, He understands and sympathizes with us. In His faithfulness, He helps and strengthens us. Because He is faithful, He can be trusted (1 Peter 2:6).

Don’t be mistaken, there is no access to God without a priest and there is no priest qualified to act on behalf of sinners but Jesus Christ. Unlike human priests, Jesus is perfectly holy. Unlike other priests, He understands all our temptations and struggles. Unlike other priests, He Himself is that one, perfect non-repeatable and finished offering for sin. Unlike other priests, in Him we encounter God. Unlike other priests, He will never die, for unlike other priests, He ever lives to make intercession for us. Unlike other priests, mercy and faithfulness meet together in Him. On this point, William Gouge says, “His mercifulness was the ground of His faithfulness and His faithfulness was the evidence of His mercy.

 

A Man there is, a real man,

With wounds still gaping wide,

(From which rich streams of blood once ran),

In hands and feet and side.

(Tis no wild fancy of our brains,

No metaphor we speak;

The same dear Man in heaven now reigns,

That suffered for our sake).

This wondrous Man of whom we tell

Is true Almighty God;

He bought our souls from death and hell;

The price, His own heart’s blood.

Joseph Hart

 

Jesus by His suffering and death has become our merciful and faithful high priest. He has ascended and has presented us to the Father and declared us unblameable and perfect. We are saved by His sacrifice for us, not by our sacrifice for Him. We are saved by His faithfulness to us, not by our strivings to be faithful to Him. We are saved by His merciful and faithful commitment to us, not by our failed efforts of total commitment to Him.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre,

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

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Merry Christmas 2013

December 25, 2013 3 comments

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

 

“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:2.

 

THE incarnation of the Son of God was one of the greatest events in the history of the universe. Its actual occurrence was not, however, known to all mankind, but was specially revealed to the shepherds of Bethlehem and to certain wise men of the east. To shepherds — the illiterate, men little versed in human learning — the angels in choral song made known the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord, and they hastened to Bethlehem to see the great sight; while the Scribes, the writers of the law and expounders of it, knew nothing concerning the long-promised birth of the Messias. No angelic bands entered the assembly of the Sanhedrim and proclaimed that the Christ was born; and when the chief priests and Pharisees were met together, though they gathered around copies of the law to consider where Christ should be born, yet it was not known to them that he was actually come, nor do they seem to have taken more than a passing interest in the matter, though they might have known that then was the time spoken of by the prophets when the great Messiah should come. How mysterious are the dispensations of grace; the base things are chosen and the eminent are passed by! The advent of the Redeemer is revealed to the shepherds who kept their flocks of sheep by night, but not to the shepherds whose benighted sheep were left to stray. Admire therein the sovereignty of God.

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Sages, The Star, And The Saviour; Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, December 25th, 1870

Confession statement 11

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XI UNTO this office He was appointed by God from everlasting; and in respect of his manhood, from the womb called, separated, and anointed most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary. God having without measure poured out His Spirit upon Him.

Prov.8:23; Isa.42:6, 49:15, 11:2.3.4,5. 61 :1.2 ; Luke 4:17,22; John 1:14,26, 3:34.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Confession statement 9

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

IX THE Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote, the Apostles preached, He is the Son of God, the brightness of His glory, etc. by whom He made the world; who upholdeth and governeth all things that He hath made; who also when the fulness of time was come, was made of a woman, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David; to wit, of the virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her, the power of the most High overshadowing her; and He was also tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Gen.3:15, 22:18, 49:10; Dan.7:13, 9:24, etc.; Prov.8:23; John 1:1,2,3; Heb.1:8; Ga1.4:4; Heb.7:14; Rev.5:5; Gen.49:9,10; Rom.l:3, 9:10; Matt.l:16; Luke 3:23,26; Heb.2:16; Isa.53:3,4,5; Heb.4:15.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Unbounded Grace Brought Christ from Glory and Nailed Him to a Tree

Christ has redeemed his people from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for them. Can any man see the Son of God expiring upon Calvary, bearing the sin of man, and say that those for whom he died were worthy that Christ should die for them? It is downright blasphemy to connect any idea of merit with a gift so vast and free as the gift of Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins. Why, sirs, had we every one of us been perfect, and had we kept God’s laws without omission, even as seraphs do in heaven, we should still have only done what was our duty to have done; and there could have been no merit about our service which could deserve that Christ should die for us. Should the Eternal God ever be thought to be such a debtor to his creatures that he must needs veil his splendor in human form, and be despised and rejected and spat upon? Shall it be said that the Son of God owes to man that he should bleed and die for him? I shudder while I raise the question or suggest the thought. It must be pure, spontaneous, disinterested mercy that nailed the Savior to the tree. Nothing could have brought him from the throne of glory to the cross of woe but grace, unalloyed, unbounded grace.

Charles H. Spurgeon–Sermon No. 958 “Dei Gratia”

The Prophets Speak of Christ

Not only in the Psalms, but in the Prophets too, has the Holy Spirit given us to hear some of the holy breathings of Him who became Man, completely dependent upon God. Most blessedly is this brought before us in Isaiah 50. There we find the Mediator saying, “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned a way back….The Lord God will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded” (vv. 4, 5, 7). What light this casts upon the lowly place which the Creator of angels had taken! How blessedly it makes known to us His amazing condescension! How perfectly He conducted Himself as the Father’s Servant (Isa. 42:1). Well could He say, “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt.11:29).

Arthur Pink Studies in the Scriptures Volume XI. No 10 1932