This article gives an explanation of the offices of Christ as those of prophet, priest, and king, and applies them to the condition of man in his need for Christ.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2014. 1 pages.

The Offices of Christ

Christ undertook His office in order to obtain salvation for His people (1 Tim. 1:15). Both the calling and the components of the office are worthy to be considered. The calling is an action of God the Father, whereby He bound His willing Son to His office by an eternal covenant (Ps. 110:4; Isa. 53:10; Luke 22:22; Acts 4:28; Heb. 5:4, 6; 7:24). This involved choosing the ends (Isa. 42:1); foreordaining the means (1 Peter 1:20); and sending the Son (John 3:17).

There are three components to Christ’s office. First, Christ holds the office of Prophet (Deut. 18:15). By this, He reveals perfectly the whole will of God. This office has various names: Christ is a Teacher (Matt. 23:7); the Apostle of our confession (Heb. 3:1); the Angel of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1); the Word of God (John 1:1); the very Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24); and the Treasure of wisdom and under­standing (Col. 2:3).

In order to be the perfect Prophet, Christ necessarily was both God and man. It was necessary for Him to be God in order to understand and minister the will of God perfectly (John 1:18; 3:13; 1 Cor. 2:11, 16). If He had not been man, He could not have properly declared this will to men by His own person (Heb. 1:1).

Second, Christ holds the office of Priest. His priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:17), and therefore is indestructible (Heb. 7:16); stable and perfect (Heb. 7:18-19); eternal (Heb. 7:24); and perpetual, leaving no room or need for other priests (Heb. 7:24-25).

In the execution of His priestly office, Christ is the Priest, the sacrifice, and the altar. He is Priest in both natures (Heb. 5:6). He was the sacrifice principally in His human nature, as the Scriptures attribute His sacrifice most primarily to His body (Heb. 13:12; 1 Peter 2:24; Col. 1:22) and blood (Col. 1:20). However, this sacrifice became effec­tual because of Christ’s divine nature as the very Son of God (Acts 20:28; Rom. 8:3) – which is understood properly according to the idea of the altar (Heb. 9:14; 13:10, 12, 15). The function of the altar is to sanctify the offering, grant­ing it dignity beyond itself (Matt. 23:17). Herein is manifest why Christ as Priest had to be both God and man: if He were not man, He could not have atoned for men; if He were not God, the sacrifice would not have been sufficient.

The Offices of ChristThird, Christ holds the office of King (cf. Deut. 17:14-20). His kingdom is called the kingdom of God; the king­dom of peace and glory; the kingdom of light and glory; the kingdom of heaven; and the world to come. In His kingdom, Christ’s rule is His power to dispense and administer all things pertaining to the salvation of men with force and authority (Ps. 2:6; Dan. 2:44; Luke 4:36). This kingship is universal, that is, it encompasses all ages, being eternal (Matt. 22:43-45; Dan. 2:44; 7:14). Christ’s rule is over all kinds of men (Dan. 7:14; Rev. 17:14) – even all the world and its creatures (Eph. 1:21, 22). Christ governs both man’s outward and inward activity (Rom. 14:17), dispensing ever­lasting life or death (Rev. 1:18). For the heirs of the king­dom, Christ as King brings the greatest peace and most perfect joy (Isa. 9:6; Eph. 2:16; Heb. 7:2). Again, it is neces­sary that Christ be King as God and man: the latter, that He might be the spiritual King of our souls, dispensing eternal life and death; the former, that He might be the Ruler of the same nature as His body.

The threefold office of Christ announces three truths. First, it identifies the state of man and how it is remedied in Christ. Man suffers under ignorance, which is resolved by the prophecy of Christ; dwells in alienation from God, which is restored by the priestly work of Christ; and pos­sesses no power to live holily, which is established by the kingship of Christ. Second, Christ’s threefold office reveals the way salvation is brought to bear upon man. It is first preached by His prophecy; obtained by His priesthood; and applied by His kingship. Third, the threefold office exposes that salvation is accomplished by Christ. Christ first taught others the will of God; then He offered Himself; and after­ward He entered to rule in His kingdom.

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