As Christ, when consecrated by his sufferings, was made the author of salvation to all who obey him; and as for this end, not only the solicitation and the obtaining of blessings were required, (to which the sacerdotal office was devoted,) but also the communication of them, it was necessary for him to be invested with the regal dignity, and to be constituted Lord over all things, with full power to bestow salvation, and whatever things are necessary for that purpose.
II. The kingly office of Christ is a mediatorial function, by which, the Father having constituted him Lord over all things which are in heaven and in earth, and peculiarly the King and the head of his church, he governs all things and the church, to her salvation and the glory of God. We will view this office in accommodation to the church, because we are principally concerned in this consideration.
III. The functions belonging to this office seem to be the following: Vocation to a participation in the kingdom of Christ, legislation, the conferring of the blessings in this life necessary to salvation, the averting of the evils opposed to them, and the last judgment and the circumstances connected with it.
IV. Vocation is the first function of the regal office of Christ, by which he calls sinful men to repent and believe the gospel — a reward being proposed concerning a participation of the kingdom, and a threatening added of eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord.
V. Legislation is the second function of the regal office of Christ, by which he prescribes to believers their duty, that, as his subjects, they are bound to perform to him, as their Head and Prince — a sanction being added through rewards and punishments, which properly agree with the state of this spiritual kingdom.
VI. Among the blessings which the third function of the regal office of Christ serves to communicate, we number not only the remission of sins and the Spirit of grace inwardly witnessing with our hearts that we are the children of God, but likewise all those blessings which are necessary for the discharge of the office; as illumination, the inspiring of good thoughts and desires, strength against temptations, and, in brief, the inscribing of the law of God in our hearts, In addition to these, as many of the blessings of this natural life, as Christ knows will contribute to the salvation of those who believe in him. But the evils over the averting of which this function presides, must be understood as being contrary to these blessings.
VII. Judgment is the last act of the regal office of Christ, by which, justly, and without respect of persons, he pronounces sentence concerning all the thoughts, words, deeds and omissions of all men, who have been previously summoned and placed before his tribunal; and by which he irresistibly executes that sentence through a just and gracious rendering of rewards, and through the due retribution of punishments, which consist in the bestowing of life eternal, and in the infliction of death eternal.
VIII. The results or consequences which correspond with these functions, are, (1.) The collection or gathering together of the church, or the building of the temple of Jehovah; this gathering together consists of the calling of the gentiles, and the bringing back or the restoration of the Jews, through the faith which answers to the divine vocation. (2.) Obedience performed to the commands of Christ by those who have believed in the Lord, and who have, through faith, been made citizens of the kingdom of heaven. (3.) The obtaining of the remission of sins, and of the Holy Spirit, and of other blessings which conduce to salvation, as well as a deliverance from the evils which molest [believers] in the present life. (4.) Lastly. The resurrection from the dead, and a participation of life eternal.
IX. The means by which Christ administers his kingdom, and which principally come under our observation in considering the church, are the word, and the Holy Spirit, which ought never to be separated from each other. For this Spirit ordinarily employs the word, or the meaning of the word, in its external preaching; and the word alone, without the illumination and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is insufficient. But Christ never separates these two things, except through the fault of those who reject the word and resist the Holy Spirit.
X. The opposite results to these consequences are, the casting away of the yoke [of Christ], the imputation of sin, the denial or the withdrawing of the Holy Spirit, and the delivering over to the power of Satan to a reprobate mind, and to hardness of heart, with other temporal evils, and, lastly, death eternal.
XI. From these things, it appears that the prophetical office, by which a church is collected through the word, ought to be a reserve or accessory to the regal office; and, therefore, that the administrators of it are rightly denominated “the apostles and the servants of Christ,” as of him who sends them forth into the whole world, over which he has the power, and who puts words into their mouths, whose continued assistance is likewise necessary, that the word may produce such fruit as agrees with its nature.
XII. This regal office is so peculiar to Christ, under God the Father, that he admits no man, even subordinately, into a participation of it, as if he would employ such an one for a ministerial head. For this reason, we say, that the Roman pontiff, who calls himself the head and spouse, though under Christ, is Antichrist.