THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 23. What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?

ANSWER: Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.


Q. 1. What is the general office of Christ, which respects the whole of his undertaking, and runs through the whole of the covenant made with him?

A. It is his being the only Mediator between God and man, 1 Tim. 2:5 -- "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

Q. 2. What does the office of a Mediator between God and men suppose?

A. It supposes a breach between them, occasioned by sin on man's part, Isa. 59:2.

Q. 3. Could a mere verbal intercession make up this breach?

A. By no means; nothing less than a full reparation for all the damages which sin had done to the honour of God, and his law, could do it away Isa. 53:10.

Q. 4. Was none but Christ fit for being Mediator in this respect?

A. None else: because there was no other who stood related to the two families of heaven and earth, which were at variance, in such a manner as he did.

Q. 5. How did he stand related to these two families?

A. By being, from eternity, God equal with the Father, he stood naturally and essentially related to heaven, John 10:30; and by consenting to become man, he stood voluntarily and freely related to earth, Phil. 2:6, 7.

Q. 6. What are the branches of Christ's mediatory office; or the particular offices included in it?

A. They are three; namely, his office of a prophet, Deut. 18:15; of a priest, Psalm 110:4; and of a king Psalm 2:6.

Q. 7. Have each of these offices the same relation to the covenant of which he is the Mediator.?

A. His priestly office, as to the sacrificing part of it, respecting the condition of the covenant, belongs to the MAKING of it; but his prophetical and kingly offices, with the intercessory part of his priestly office, respecting the promises of the covenant, belong to the ADMINISTRATION of it.

Q. 8. What respect have these offices to our misery by sin?

A. The prophetical office respects our ignorance; the priestly office our guilt; and the kingly office our pollution or defilement.

Q. 9. What is Christ made of God to us, in virtue of these offices, for the removal of these miseries?

A. As a Prophet, he is made of God to us wisdom; as a Priest, righteousness; and as a King, sanctification; and as vested with ALL these offices, he is made of God to us complete redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30.

Q. 10. Was he ordained or appointed to these offices?

A. Yes, from all eternity; 1 Pet. 1:20 -- "Who, verily, was foreordained before the foundation of the world."

Q. 11. What were the necessary consequences of this eternal designation?

A. His mission and call.

Q. 12. In what consisted his mission?

A. In his being promised, Isa. 7:14, and typified under the Old Testament, John 3:14; and in his being actually sent, in the fullness of time, to assume our nature, and finish the work which was given him to do, Gal. 4:4, 5.

Q. 13. Was he formally called to his mediatory office?

A. Yes; he did not take this honour unto himself, but was called of God, as was Aaron, Heb. 5. 4, 5.

Q. 14. Of what parts did his call consist?

A. Of his unction and inauguration.

Q. 15. What do you understand by his unction?

A. The consecration of him to all his mediatory offices, John 10:36; and the giving of the Spirit, with all his gifts and graces, without measure to him, that he might be fully furnished for the execution of these offices, John 3:34.

Q. 16. In which nature is Christ anointed with the Spirit?

A. The person of Christ was anointed in the human nature, which was the immediate receptacle of all gifts and graces, Psalm 68:18:-- "Thou hast received gifts for men:" Margin, in the man; that is, in the human nature.

Q. 17. When was he inaugurated into his mediatory offices?

A. Although, in virtue of his assuming the human nature, he was born to the execution of them, yet he was not solemnly installed into the public exercise of these offices, till his baptism.

Q. 18. What was the solemnity of his inauguration or instalment at that time?

A. "The heavens were opened, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, and lighted upon him: and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," Matt. 3:16, 17.

Q. 19. Why was Christ vested with this threefold office?

A. The nature of our salvation required that it should be revealed by him as a Prophet; purchased by him as a Priest; and applied by him as a King.

Q. 20. Did ever ALL these offices centre in any ONE person except Christ alone?

A. No; for, in order to set forth the vast importance of these offices, as united in the person of Christ, none of those who were typical of him under the Old Testament were ever clothed with all the three: this honour was reserved for himself, as his peculiar dignity and prerogative; John 14:6 -- "I am the way, and the truth, and the life;" that is, the WAY in my death, as a Priest; the TRUTH in my word, as a Prophet; and the LIFE in my Spirit, as a King.

Q. 21. In what states does Christ execute all these offices?

A. Both in his estate of humiliation on earth, and in his state of exaltation in heaven.

Q. 22. What do you understand by Christ's executing of his offices?

A. His doing or fulfilling what was incumbent upon him, in virtue of each of these offices, Matt. 3:15.

Q. 23. Are the offices of Christ the proper fountain from whence the promises flow?

A. No; the proper fountain and spring of all the promises, is the sovereign will and good pleasure of God: hence the sovereign will of God is set in the front of all the promises, -- "I WILL put my law in their inward parts, and I WILL be their God; I WILL forgive their iniquity; and I WILL remember their sin no more," Jer. 31:33, 34; "I WILL take away the stony heart out of your flesh; and I WILL give you a heart of flesh," &c. Ezek. 36:26, 27.

Q. 24. What connexion then have the promises with the offices of Christ?

A. They are revealed to us by Christ as a Prophet, Heb. 1:2; confirmed by his blood, as a Priest, Heb. 9:16; and effectually applied by his power, as a King, Psalm 110:3.

Q. 25. Is the order in which the offices of Christ are here laid down, the very order in which they are executed?

A. Yes; for it is the order laid down in scripture, 1 Cor. 1:30.

Q. 26. By whom is this order inverted?

A. By the Arminians and other legalists, who make Christ's kingly office the first which he executes, in the application of redemption.

Q. 27. How do they make Christ's kingly office the first which he executes?

A. By alleging that Christ, as a King, has, in the gospel, given out a new preceptive law, of faith and repentance, by obedience to which we come to be entitled to Christ and his righteousness.

Q. 28. What is the danger of this scheme of doctrine?

A. It confounds the law and gospel; and brings works into the matter and cause of a sinner's justification before God, contrary to Rom. 5:19, and Gal. 2:16.

Q. 29. When faith closes with Christ, does it not close with him in all his offices?

A. Yes; for Christ is never divided: we must have him wholly or none of him, John 8:24.

Q. 30. Which of his offices does faith act upon for justification?

A. Upon his priestly office only: for the great thing a guilty sinner wants is righteousness, to answer the charge of the law; and the enlightened sinner sees that Christ, in his priestly office, is "the end of the law for righteousness," Rom. 10:4.

Q. 31. What may we learn for encouragement from Christ's being clothed with this three-fold office?

A. That since all these offices have a relation to us, we may warrantably employ him in every one of them; that in like manner as he is made over of God unto us, so we may actually have him for our "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. 1:30.


Return to Documents at CRTA