Doctrine of Christ: The Office of King
October 17, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Psalm 2
Scripture -> Psalm 2
Last week we spent time investigating the Priesthood of Aaron, its similarities and differences concerning the Priesthood of Melchizedek, and how it teaches and informs us on how Christ fulfills the Office of Priest.
We reviewed how the Aaronic priesthood teaches us
- A Priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin on behalf of others
- The Aaronic priests and Christ, as Priest, represents a commonality of people
- A Priest is to be taken from among men
- A Priest is to be encompassed about with infirmity
In short, we reviewed many passages that speak directly to Aaronic Priesthood as being a type – a foreshadowing of the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Today, we are going to conclude this section of the Threefold Office of Christ by looking at how Christ fulfills His mediatorial role through the Office of King.
Before we begin, let's turn to the Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 45
Q. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king,
....in calling out of the world a people to himself and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; (the visible church)
....in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, (the invisible church)
....restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel. (the world)
From this question and answer, we see 2 primary areas in which the Kingly Office of Christ is concerned.
- The Church (concerning the invisible and the visible church)
- The Word
The kingship of Christ extends to every area of creation.
- A king is sovereign over all that He rules
- Christ rules over all
- Christ is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth
- But there are two types of people over whom He reigns
- His people
- His enemies
Christ is the true king
Before we go much farther, let us examine some Scriptures showing, without dispute, that Christ is indeed the True King.
The New Testament
- Matt 28:18-20 -> All power and all authority is given unto Christ in heaven and on earth.
- Acts 2:22-36 -> The right hand of God is a reference to a high position with God, a position of authority.
- The throne represents the lordship the kingship of Jesus Christ.
- This is its true meaning
- He is seated on the right hand of God the Father on high
- 1 Cor 15:27-28 -> Christ has all authority to rule and reign over creation, especially the church, restraining and overcoming His enemies
- Eph 1:18-23 -> Christ is seated by God at God's own right hand in heavenly places
- far above all principality
- in power and might and dominion
- above every name that is named not only in this world but also in that which is to come
- Rev 5:8-14 -> Christ has the authority of the true King, worthy is the lamb
- In that authority, we have the redemption of the family
- of every kindred, tongue, tribe, and the nations
- In that authority, we have been made us unto our God as kings and priests
- In that authority, we shall reign with Him over the earth.
- In that authority, we have the redemption of the family
- Matt 16:17-19 -> Christ is the one who rules over his creation
- Col 1:16-20 -> Christ has the preeminence
- He is to be the king
- He is to be the ruler
- He is to be the sovereign
The Old Testament
- Ps 2:1-12
- This is a reference in the Messianic promise to the kingship of Christ.
- This is a reference to the authority of Almighty God.
- This is a reference to the calling of Christ, the high priest of God
- "Ask of me"
- God says what he's going to give to Christ. (a part of the covenant of redemption)
- God will give the heathen for thine inheritance
- God shall give the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession
- This is the messianic promise of the kingdom of God.
- It teaches that Christ our prophet is who brings the message of God
- It teaches that Christ our priest is who give the sacrifice for God
- It teaches that Christ also rules
- Over that which God hath given unto Him
- Over the church as the head of the church
Two Types of the Kingship of Christ
As the second person of the Trinity -
- Christ naturally shares in the Kingship of all the universe.
His throne is established, and He rules over all.
But Christ is also Head over the church...the King of the Church.
The Kingship of Christ, clearly established in the Scriptures we just read, is to be considered in two parts.
- The Kingdom of His Power
- His kingship over the universe.
- The Kingdom of His Grace
- His spiritual kingship over the Church, this is His mediatorial Kingdom
The Kingdom of His Grace
The Kingdom of His Grace is with respect to His people.
- It is a spiritual kingdom.
- It is exercised over the people of the Church.
This kingship is administered through the visible church
- through the gathering of the church
- through the government, protection, and perfection of the church
- through Christ repeatedly being referred to as the “Head of the Church”
- through the giving to them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them
- through rewards and corrections and preserving --- through means of grace
And He does this within and through the visible church, the ecclesia.
Characteristics of this Kingdom
- It is grounded in the work of redemption
- Nobody is a member of this kingdom on their own accord
- Members are chosen by God
- Members are regenerated and redeemed by God
- Members have been ransomed and claimed by Christ
- It is, as we said, a spiritual kingdom
- It deals with the hearts and minds of believers
- It deals with the salvation of souls
- It deals with spiritual Israel (Rom 2:28-29, 9:6)
- It is not of this world (John 18:36)
- it deals directly and immediately with the salvation of those whom He has been given
- it is not administered by force but by the Word and Spirit
- The citizenship of the kingdom is co-extensive
- It includes the membership of the invisible Church (part of the visible)
- It includes the membership of the visible Church
- It is the God-given means for extending the Kingdom of God on earth
The visible Church is the most important and the only divinely instituted external organization of the kingdom
The term “kingdom of God” is sometimes used in a sense which makes the kingdom practically equivalent to the visible Church
- 8:12; 13:24–30, 47–50
Christ has enjoined upon his people duties which render it necessary that they should organize themselves in an external society, it follows that there is and must be a visible kingdom of Christ in the world.
Christians are required to associate for public worship (Ekklesia Acts 13-28)
- for the admission and exclusion of members (Acts 2:47, 3 John 1:10, 1 John 2:19, 1 Cor 5:5)
- for the administration of the sacraments (Acts 2:42)
- for the maintenance and propagation of the truth.
(John 8:31,47; 1 Cor 10:1; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 Tim 3:15)
They, therefore, form themselves into churches
- collectively constitute the visible kingdom of Christ on earth
- consisting of all who profess the true religion, together with their children
We see this reinforced in the Larger Catechism ->
153. Q. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law.
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.
153 Q. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.
The kingdom of Christ is not a democracy
- It is not an aristocracy
- It is truly a kingdom of which Christ is the absolute sovereign.
This necessarily means:
- Christ is the sole law-giver
- All legitimate authority comes from Christ
- The State has no authority to make laws to determine faith and practice
- to regulate the worship
- to administer the discipline of the Church
- to appoint nor depose its officers or leaders
- Civil authorities do not have any special authority in the kingdom of Grace
- Nor should such officer be the head of the Church.
- Church power does not exist ultimately in the people or the clergy.
- The church’s authority is strictly ministerial and declarative
- It is not imperial, magisterial, or legislative.
- It is derived from Christ and is exercised by others in his name, and according to the rules laid down in his Word.
- The Church has no authority with the sword
- The Church is not a police force
- The church is to address the spiritual and moral needs of men and women
- The church must, still, speak out against political injustice and moral abuses by the state
Christ is the head of the Church and mediates only over the church.
The Kingdom of His Power
By the phrase, Kingdom of His Power, we refer to the dominion that Christ, as God-Man, has over the universe.
This is partially with respect to those considered as His enemies
- those that are outside the visible church (visible, because we cannot see the invisible and it serves no strong utility to delineate membership in the invisible church)
- those that are not part of the ecclesia
Regarding His enemies, Christ is still their Lord and King
- not in the sense that there is consent or voluntary subjection to him
- not in the sense that there is the desire to own his authority
- not in the sense that there is the desire to yield obedience to his laws
Yet they are, notwithstanding, the subjects of his government
The Kingdom of His Power is exercised in various ways
- It is exercised in the setting of boundaries, the restraining of what His enemies might do against the Church (Psalm 76:10)
- It is exercised in the overcoming of all the enemies of the Church (Col 2:15)
- It is exercised in His taking vengeance over His enemies, in the punishing of their rebellion against him. (Psalm 2:9)
- It includes His providential management and administration of all things in the interest of and for His Church.
All of this is with the design of guiding of individuals, groups, cities, states, nations, etc...with the ultimate effect of protecting and promoting and purifying His church............. for His glory. (Romans 8:28)
We must be careful not to confuse the Kingdom of His Grace with the Kingdom of His Power.
The Kingdom of His Grace is immediately concerned with the Church.
- Christ, as mediator, mediates only for the Church.
- Outside the church, one should not expect to receive His mediation.
- Outside the church is where the enemies of God are to be found
- Outside the church is where the apostate and rebellious are cast
A proper understanding of the visible church is imperative today.
And, a proper understanding of the difference between the Kingdom of His Power and the Kingdom of His Grace is necessary for a proper understanding of the Kingly Office of Christ, as Mediator and for whom He Mediates.
Next, we will continue with Chapter 8 of the Confession examining the two natures of Christ.
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