Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Christ's Kingly Office

The second of the three offices held by Christ is His kingly office.  This office is spiritual and not carnal in nature.  That is what confused so many of the first century Jewish people who were looking for a powerful king to free them from Roman rule.  After clarifying that this office is spiritual, Calvin writes about eternity and its two sorts in relation to God's people.  First, eternity is applied to the whole body of the church - it will last forever.  This is like what God promised to David, that his line would endure forever.  Christ is the "eternal protector and defender of his church."  The second way eternity is applied is to the individual members.  We all have hope of eternal life or "blessed immortality" as Calvin puts it.  Everything in this world is temporary, only heavenly things are forever (someone needs to tell DeBeers).  Calvin writes, "In short, when any one of us hears that Christ's kingship is spiritual, aroused by this word let him attain to the hope of a better life; and since it is now protected by Christ's hand, let him await the full fruit of this grace in the age to come."

So many televangelists preach a "name it an claim it" gospel.  They teach that God wants you to be rich and have many worldly possessions.  They promise that believing in Jesus will make your present life a happy one and only good things will come to you.  These people do real harm to the Gospel because the people who are fooled into following them are then disillusioned when their wildest dreams do not come true.  Calvin says about the idea that God's rewards to us being earthly, "For this reason we ought to know that the happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages - such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after.  No, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life!"  Who knew that the televangelists were around back in the 1500's?

Christ does equip us and give us spiritual gifts for our use on earth.  He gives us everything we need for the eternal salvation of souls.  He gives us the weapons to fight off our spiritual enemies.  "Then, relying upon the power of the same Spirit, let us not doubt that we shall always be victorious over the devil, the world, and every kind of harmful thing."  We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised eternal life with Christ.  "Thus it is that we may patiently pass through this life with its misery, hunger, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles - content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph."  I am going back now to highlight this sentence in my book.  What a great encouragement when we our down, to be reminded that Christ is always looking our for us and will provide for our needs.

Jesus was not anointed with oil as the kings of Israel were.  "Rather, he is called 'Anointed' [Christus] of God because 'the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might...and of the fear of the Lord have rested upon him' [Isaiah 11:2 p]."  He was anointed with the "oil of gladness" spoken of in Psalm 45:7.  This anointing was symbolized in the baptism and the descending of the Spirit in the form of a dove on Christ (John 1:32).  Calvin writes again about how Christ is our Mediator.  Calvin reminds us that we do stray from God, but Christ is there for us.  "Thus, while for the short time we wander away from God, Christ stands in our midst, to lead us little by little to a firm union with God."  He never leaves us. 

Every week we state in church as we recite the Apostles' Creed, "And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty."  Calvin writes that this is "equivalent to calling him the Father's deputy, who has in his possession the whole power of God's dominion."  Ephesians 1:20-23 speaks to this very thing:  Christ is at the right hand of the Father and "all things are under his feet."  Christ is the head of the church, which is his body.  "Now Christ fulfills the combined duties of King and pastor for the godly who submit willingly and obediently; on the other hand, we hear that he carries a 'rod of iron to break them and dash them all in pieces like a potter's vessel' [Psalm 2:9 p]."  Christ is King and pastor for his chosen people.  He is also the executor of judgment for the wicked. 

Tomorrow's reading: 2.15.6

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