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:
This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom.
This section of the confession nicely sums up why Christ is the only and all-sufficient Savior. In this post, I want to address his office as prophet. I will address his other offices in subsequent posts.
First, Christ as our mediator means that he is the prophet from God. A prophet is someone who authoritatively and infallibly speaks on behalf of God. He provided the revelation from God that God’s people need. Christ is the ultimate Prophet. He is the one of whom Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers-- it is to him you shall listen.” But the Lord Jesus does more than communicate revelation from God with his mouth. He himself is the very revelation of God. John 1 calls him the Word of God - that is, the revelation of God. Hebrews 1 speaks of this climatic revelation in the Son when it says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (vv. 1-2a). The “but” in this statement indicates a contrast. The contrast is not that God has spoken, but rather the manner in which he has spoken. He has spoken in a different, more climatic way in his Son because, as Hebrews 1 goes on to say, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (v. 3).
As our confession says, the prophetic office of Christ addresses the problem of our sinful ignorance of God. By nature, we are like Gentiles “who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:5). This ignorance leads to not reflecting God as the image-bearers we were made to be. Paul ties ignorance of God with a sinful lifestyle: “you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:17-18). The Gentiles (unbelievers) live the way they do because of the futility of their mind - that is, the ignorance that is in them. 3 John 11b says, “whoever does evil has not seen God.” This does not mean that this person has not seen a vision of God, but rather it means that they are ignorant of God - they do not know him. This is what leads to sin - to reflecting the devil’s image instead of the Father in heaven’s image (John 8:44).
However, Christ’s prophetic office solves our ignorance. By the power of his Holy Spirit, he sets us free by giving us the saving knowledge of the truth found in him (John 8:32, 36). As we behold him in his word and the preaching of him, we reflect his same image from one level of glory to the next (2 Cor. 3:17-4:6). Christ’s prophetic office delivers us from our sin by removing our ignorance and giving us the true knowledge of God in him.
Brian Onstead is pastor of Trinity Bible Church in Powell, WY (https://tbcwyoming.com/). He was born and raised in Omaha, NE where he was saved and met his wife Jackie. He then spent three years in San Diego, CA where he attended Westminster Seminary California and the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies. After graduating in 2015, he moved to Montana where he pastored a church for 4 years. In 2019, he moved to Powell, WY where he currently resides. He and his wife have been married for 10 years and have two young children. You can find his sermons on sermon audio and follow him on Twitter (@brianonstead).