In my last post I argued that Christ’s kingly office is perhaps his most misunderstood office among reforming Calvinists. In my experience, Calvinistic Baptists distinguish Christ’s priestly office as exercised solely for us, from his kingly office which is all about our response. Their message is summarized like this: because Christ is king, he needs to be obeyed - and if you are not obeying him, then you are not saved! This seems to be a reaction to the Arminian and antinomian circles out of which many Baptists come, where it is posited that all that matters is that you have made a decision for Christ and how one lives is optional. Disturbed by this kind of teaching, Calvinistic Baptists are zealous to point out that because Christ is king he must be obeyed or you’re not his!
In my latest series of posts I have been talking about why our Lord Jesus Christ is an all-
sufficient Savior. In doing so, I wanted to explore his three-fold office as Mediator. What it
means for Christ to be a mediator is for him to be in the middle between us and God in order to
bring us to God. In executing his saving work as our Mediator and Redeemer, he fulfills a three-
fold office of prophet, priest, and king. I have been working through the Second London Baptist
Confession of Faith (1689), Chapter 8, paragraph 10, which nicely summarizes these three
offices of Christ. In my last two posts I covered Christ’s prophetical and priestly office. In this
post I cover Christ’s kingly office.
In my latest series of posts I have been talking about why our Lord Jesus Christ is an all-sufficient Savior. In doing so, I wanted to explore his three-fold office as Mediator. What it means for Christ to be a mediator is for him to be in the middle between us and God in order to bring us to God. In executing his saving work as our Mediator and Redeemer, he fulfills a three-fold office of prophet, priest, and king. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), Chapter 8, paragraph 10 nicely summarizes what these three offices of Christ:
One of my favorite sections of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) is the section on Christ’s threefold offices. This is found in chapter 8 which speaks of Christ as the Mediator. What it means for Christ to be mediator is for him to be in the middle between us and God in order to bring us to God. Paragraph 10 of that chapter describes how Christ functions in his three-fold office as mediator:
We’ve been hearing the word “narrative” come up quite a bit as of late. We hear quite frequently, “It didn’t fit the narrative,” “The media has a narrative.” It is true that narratives are a driving force in the way we see things. A narrative is simply a story by which we present information. Stories are powerful, intriguing, and often draws people’s interest. We remember stories more readily than anything else (except perhaps songs).
It is often said that John Wycliffe was the morning star of the Reformation because of his work in translating the Bible into English. The story goes that once the printing press was invented a couple of centuries later, everyone had access to the Bible in English, and upon reading the Bible everyone discovered the truth. As important as John Wycliffe’s work was, it is simply not true that everyone had private access to the Bible the minute that the printing press was invented. Even though it was the Reformers’ great desire for everyone to have this access, this did not widely happen until the eighteenth century. Furthermore, one may have a Bible in his hands, but one must understand and accurately interpret the Bible.
This brings us to what I believe is the true morning star of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the distinction between the Law and the Gospel. Luther came along after years of darkness because of Medieval corruption regarding the doctrine of salvation. The Medieval church had a high view of the Bible and a heavy focus on grace. They did not teach a pure salvation by works (really, nobody in history ever did). Rather, they taught that one is saved by God’s grace. This grace, however, is freely given by God so that the sinner may sufficiently cooperate with it in order to produce sanctification (intrinsic holiness). This sanctification, then, becomes the basis by which one may finally be justified and make it to heaven. Roman Catholicism officially adopted and codified this teaching.
Luther, however, broke away from Rome and sparked the Reformation when he discovered a key distinction in Scripture: the distinction between the Law and the Gospel. This distinction was a key component in sparking the Reformation and bringing liberty not only to himself but many others for generations to come. This occurred as he was wrestling with Paul’s statement in Romans 1:17: “for in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed.” Luther writes about his struggle and the relief he found when he discovered the gospel in distinction from the law: