THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 26. How does Christ execute the office of a King?

ANSWER: Christ executes the office of a King, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.


Q. 1. How does it appear that Christ is a K ING?

A. From his Father's testimony, Psalm 2:6, and his own, John 18:36, concerning this matter.

Q. 2. When was he ordained or appointed to his kingdom?

A. He "was set up from everlasting," Prov. 8:23.

Q. 3. When was he publicly proclaimed?

A. At his birth, Matt. 2:2, and at his death, John 19:19.

Q. 4. Did he not actually exercise his kingly power before that time?

A. Yes; he commenced the exercise of his kingly power ever after the first promise, of his bruising the head of the serpent, Gen. 3:15.

Q. 5. When was he solemnly inaugurated into his kingly office?

A. When he ascended, and "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb. 1:3.

Q. 6. Where stands the throne of this great Potentate?

A. His throne of glory is in heaven, Rev. 7:17; his throne of grace is in the church, Heb. 4:16; and his throne of judgement is to be erected in the aerial heavens at his second coming, 1 Thess. 4:17.

Q. 7. What sceptre does he sway?

A. He has a twofold sceptre: one by which he gathers and governs his subjects, Psalm 110:2; another by which he dashes his enemies in pieces like a potter's vessel, Psalm 2:9.

Q. 8. What is that sceptre by which Christ gathers and governs his subjects?

A. It is the gospel of the grace of God, accompanied with the power of his Spirit, therefore called the rod of his strength, Psalm 110:2.

Q. 9. What is that rod of iron by which he dashes his enemies in pieces?

A. It is the power of his anger, of which no finite creature can know the uttermost, Psalm 90:11.

Q. 10. What armies does this King command and lead?

A. His name is the Lord of hosts, and all the armies in heaven, whether saints or angels, follow him as upon white horses, Rev. 19:14.

Q. 11. What other armies does he command?

A. The devils in hell are the executioners of his wrath against the wicked of the world, who will not have him to rule over them: yea, he can levy armies of lice, frogs, caterpillars, locusts, to avenge his quarrel, as in the plagues of Egypt.

Q. 12. What tribute is paid to this mighty King?

A. He has the continual tribute of praise, honour, and glory paid him, by saints in the church militant, Psalm 65:1; and by both saints and angels in the church triumphant, Rev. 5:9, 13.

Q. 13. Does he levy a tribute also from among his enemies?

A. Yes; for the wrath of man shall praise him on this earth, Psalm 76:10; and he will, hereafter, erect monuments of praise to his justice, in their eternal destruction, Rom. 9:22.

Q. 14. Who are the ambassadors of this king?

A. He has sometimes employed angels upon some particular embassies, Luke 2:10:but because these are apt to terrify sinners of mankind, therefore, he ordinarily employs men of the same mould with themselves, even ministers of the gospel, whom he commissions and calls to that office, 2 Cor. 5:18, 19.

Q. 15. May any man intrude himself into the office of an ambassador of Christ?

A. No man may lawfully take "this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron," Heb. 5:4.

Q. 16. What shall we think then of those who intrude themselves, or are intruded into the ministry, without a scriptural call?

A. Christ declares them to be thieves and robbers, or at best but hirelings, John 10:8-12; that "they shall not profit the people at all, because he never sent them," Jer. 23:32; and that the leaders, and they that are led by them, shall "both fall into the ditch," Matt. 15:14.

Q. 17. How many fold is Christ's kingdom?

A. It is twofold; his essential and his mediatorial kingdom.

Q. 18. What is his essential kingdom?

A. It is that absolute and supreme power, which he has over all the creatures in heaven and earth, essentially and naturally, as God equal with the Father, Psalm 103:19 -- "His kingdom ruleth over all."

Q. 19. What is his mediatorial kingdom?

A. It is that sovereign power and authority in and over the church, which is given him as Mediator, Eph. 1:22.

Q. 20. What is the nature of his mediatorial kingdom?

A. It is entirely spiritual, and "not of this world," John 18:36.

Q. 21. Does the civil magistrate, then, hold his office of Christ as Mediator?

A. No; but of him as God Creator, otherwise all civil magistrates, Heathen, as well as Christian, would be church officers; which would be grossly Erastian.

Q. 22. What are the ACTS of Christ's kingly power?

A. They are such as have either a respect to his elect people, John 1:49; or such as have a respect to his and their enemies, Psalm 110:2.

Q. 23. What are the acts of his kingly administration, which have a respect to his elect people?

A. They are his subduing them to himself, Acts 15:14; his ruling them, Isa. 33:22; and his defending them, Isa. 31:2.

Q. 24. How does Christ SUBDUE his elect people to himself?

A. By the power of his Spirit so managing the word that he conquers their natural aversion and obstinacy, Psalm 110:3; and makes them willing to embrace a Saviour and a great one, as freely offered in the gospel, Isa. 44:5.

Q. 25. In what condition does he find his elect ones, when he comes to subdue them to himself?

A. He finds them prisoners, and lawful captives, Isa. 61:1.

Q. 26. How does he loose their bonds?

A. By his Spirit, applying to them the whole of his satisfaction, by which all demands of law and justice are fully answered, John 16:8-12.

Q. 27. What is the consequence of answering the demands of law and justice, by the Spirit's applying the satisfaction of Christ?

A. The law being satisfied, the strength of sin is broken, and therefore the sting of death is taken away, 1 Cor. 15:56, 57.

Q. 28. What follows upon taking away the sting of death?

A. Satan loses his power over them; and that being lost, the present evil world, which is his kingdom, can hold them no longer, Gal. 1:4.

Q. 29. What comes of them, when they are separated from the world that lies in wickedness?

A. The very moment they are delivered from the "power of darkness," they are translated "into the kingdom of God's dear Son," Col. 1:13.

Q. 30. Are they not in the world after this happy change?

A. Though in the world, yet they are not of it, but true and lively members of Christ's invisible kingdom; and, therefore, the objects of the world's hatred, John 15:19.

Q. 31. When Christ as a king has subdued sinners to himself, what other part of his royal office does he exercise over them?

A. He RULES and governs them: hence he is called the "Ruler in Israel," Micah 5:2.

Q. 32. Does the rule and government of Christ dissolve the subjection of his people from the powers of the earth?

A. By no means: he paid tribute himself, Matt. 17:27; and has strictly commanded that "every soul be subject to the higher powers, because there is no power but of God; and the powers that be, are ordained of God," Rom. 13:1.

Q. 33. In what things are the subjects of Christ's kingdom to obey the powers of the earth?

A. In every thing that is not forbidden by the law of God; but when the commands of men are opposite to the commands of God, in that case, God ought always to be obeyed, "rather than men," Acts 5:29.

Q. 34. How does this glorious King rule his subjects?

A. By giving them the laws, Psalm 147:19, and administering to them the discipline of his kingdom, Heb. 12:6.

Q. 35. What are the laws of Christ's kingdom?

A. They are no other than the laws of the Ten Commandments, originally given to Adam at his creation, and afterwards published from Mount Sinai. Ex. 20:3-18.

Q. 36. How does Christ sweeten this law to his subjects?

A. Having fulfilled it as a covenant, he gives it out to his true and faithful subjects as a rule of life, to be obeyed in the strength of that grace which is secured in the promise, Ezek. 36:27.

Q. 37. Does he annex any rewards to the obedience of his true subjects?

A. Yes; in keeping of his commandments, "there is great reward," Ps. 19:11.

Q. 38. What are these rewards?

A. His special comforts and love-tokens, which he bestows for exciting to that holy and tender walk, which is the fruit of faith, John 14:21.

Q. 39. Why are these comforts called rewards?

A. Because they are given to a working saint, as a farther privilege on the performance of duty, Rev. 3:10.

Q. 40. Is it the order of the new covenant, that duty should go before privilege?

A. No; the matter stands thus: the leading privilege is the quickening Spirit, then follows duty; and duty, performed in faith, is followed with farther privilege, till privilege and duty come both to perfection in heaven, not to be distinguished any more, 1 John 3:2.

Q. 41. What is the discipline of Christ's kingdom?

A. Fatherly chastisement; which, being necessary for the welfare of his true subjects, is secured for them in the promise, Psalm 89:30-35.

Q. 42. To what promise of the covenant does fatherly chastisement belong?

A. To the promise of sanctification, being an appointed mean for advancing holiness in them, Heb. 12:10; Isa. 27:9.

Q. 43. What other act of kingly power does Christ exercise about his subjects, besides subduing them to himself, and ruling of them?

A. He DEFENDS them likewise, Psalm 89:18 -- "The Lord is our DEFENCE "

Q. 44. Against whom does he defend them?

A. Against all their enemies; sin, Satan, the world, and death, Luke, 1:71; 1 John 4:4; Hos. 13:14.

Q. 45. Who are their worst enemies?

A. The remains of corruption within them, which are not expelled during this life, but left for their exercise and trial, Gal. 5:17.

Q. 46. How does he defend them against these inward foes?

A. By keeping alive in them the spark of holy fire in the midst of an ocean of corruption, and causing it to resist and overcome the same, until it is quite dried up, Rom. 7:24, 25.

Q. 47. What are the acts of Christ's kingly office, with respect to his people's enemies?

A. His restraining and conquering them, 1 Cor. 15:25 -- "He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet."

Q. 48. Whence is it that this glorious King, and his subjects, have the same enemies?

A. He and they make up that one body, of which he is the head and they are the members, 1 Cor. 12:12; and therefore they cannot but have common friends and foes, Zech. 2:8.

Q. 49. What is it for Christ to restrain his and his people's enemies?

A. It is to overrule and disappoint their wicked purposes, Isa. 37:29; to set limits to their wrath, and to bring a revenue of glory to himself out of the same, Psalm 76:10.

Q. 50. What restraints does he put upon them?

A. He bounds them by his power, as to the kind, degree, and continuance of all their enterprises and attacks upon his people, Job 1:12, and 2:6.

Q. 51. What is it for Christ to conquer all his and his people's enemies?

A. It is his taking away their power, that they cannot hurt the least of his little ones, with respect to their spiritual state, Luke 10:19; 11:22.

Q. 52. How does he conquer them?

A. He has already conquered them in his own person, as the head of the new covenant, by the victory he obtained over them in his death, Col. 2:15; and he conquers them daily in his members, when be enables them, by faith, to put their feet upon the neck of their vanquished foes, Rom. 16:20.

Q. 53. What may we learn from Christ's executing his kingly office?

A. That though believers, while in this world, are in the midst of their enemies, "as lambs among wolves," Luke 10:3; yet by this mighty King, as the breaker, going up before them, Mic. 2:13, they shall be "more than conquerors through him that loved them," Rom. 8:37.


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