I am starting a new series today on the offices of Christ. It is necessary to know Christs offices because when we proclaim the gospel, and when we teach or discuss with others, we need to know who and what Christ is. It is common and correct to state that Christ is one person of the Holy Triune God, and carries the name, roles and duties of the Son in the Godhead.
However, I want to take it a step or two further and look at the offices that Christ holds. Why is it important to know this in the context of salvation, and by implication in the gospel? The offices are the categories of Godly duty that Christ fulfills as part of the Trinity. The duties cannot be seperated from from our relationship with Christ, because everything we do, be it pray, worship, study or teach, is in relationship to one or more of the offices. Even when we teach the gospel, we allude to all three and rightly so.
Christ performs the duties of prophet, priest and king. Each of the offices are linked to the other in word and deed, He cannot be one without being the other. These offices of Christ can be related directly to the individual human office-bearers in Old Testament Israel who did God’s work by appointment.
As prophet, Christ shows us who God is, He reveals God’s will and character to us, He teaches us and speaks God’s words. As priest, He is responsible for the sacrificial duties, He explains the necessity of sacrifice, He offers the sacrifice to God, and He becomes the sacrificial offering Himself. As king, He established His kingdom at the foundation of the world, He made the laws that govern His kingdom and now He rules over His kingdom. He offers the protection and benefits of His kingdom to those that are subjects in His kingdom.
I want to reiterate that all 3 offices should be seen in the single function of mediator. In many cases, the work that Christ did can fit more than one of the offices, so we cannot draw clear lines between the offices in all cases. The demarcations may not always be clear, and some others roll the priestly duties in with kingship, resulting in only 2 categories. I don’t want to get hung up on the names too much, I want to clearly show how Christ fulfills the duties that God assigned to man, and man could not perform.
“As prophet He represents God with man, as priest He represents man in the presence of God, and as king He exercises dominion and restores the original dominion of man” (Systematic Theology, 1938, p 357)
As we go through the different offices, please bear in mind how applicable these still are today. In the conclusion of the series, we will have a quick look how movements that deny one of the offices end up in awkward positions.
Come back tomorrow for the first installment, Christ as prophet.