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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Species of the Office of Christ, Part 4


THESIS VI:  The Royal Office is the function of the Mediator Christ, whereby He administers and protects His kingdom by the redemption of its parts.

EXPLANATION:  I.  The parts of this royal office, as far as it is administered in this world, are two, the prescription of laws, and their execution.

The prescription of laws is external or internal.

Externally Christ prescribes laws for belief and life to His subjects through the ministry of the Word.

Internally He turns the hearts of the elect to obedience through the Holy Spirit.

II.  Thus the prescription of laws.  Their execution is either the gracious distribution of rewards, with respect to those that obey the prescribed laws:  or the just infliction of punishments, with respect to the disobedient and enemies of the Church.

In this office especially the divinity of Christ exerts itself.  For, to rule the whole Church, to give the Holy Spirit, to illuminate minds, to bend wills to obedience, to circumcise hearts, to bruise the Devil, and powerfully to subdue and subjugate all enemies, are works of divine omnipotence.

Of the royal office of Christ Scripture speaks.  Psalm 2:6, Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill.  Matthew 28:18, All power has been given to me, etc.  Whence He is expressly called the eternal King, Isaiah 9:6; the King of righteousness, Hebrews 7:2; the King of kings, Revelation 17:14.  It is said that the Son is going to deliver up this Kingdom to the Father in the final judgment, 1 Corinthians 15:24, not because He is going to resign from it, but because in glory He is no longer going to administrate it is the manner whereby He has administered it here in grace.  Christ was King, not only after the resurrection, as Socinus maintains, but also before the resurrection.  Whence David acknowledge Him as King long before, Psalm 2:6, 9; 110:1; and the Magi adored Him as King, Matthew 2:2; and Christ is proclaimed as King by the mouth of God Himself before the Resurrection, Matthew 21:5.  Thus to Pilate, asking whether He was King, He answers, that He is truly King, John 18:33, 34, 36.  Whence also the title King of the Jews was written on the cross, Matthew 27:37; the inscription was indicating that this was the cause of His death.  So also He exercised acts of royal power upon men and Devils before the resurrection, as the Evangelical history bears witness.

The Socinians take exception:  The dominion of Christ before His death was not full, neither over Angels, nor over Demons, Ephesians 1:20, 21; 1 Peter 3:21, 22; Hebrews 2:14, where it is said that through death He destroyed the Devil.

Response:  The dominion of Christ was full with respect to right and power, although not in the act of exercising dominion, which is an effect of dominion, not the essence.  Not even now does Christ exercise every act of dominion, nor will He do so before the final judgment.  After the resurrection, the declaration of His dominion was made fuller.

The passage in Acts 2:36 is offered in opposition, God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, LordTherefore, only after His death was He made King.

Response:  It does not follow:  because, if the added determination of the time be expressed, to be made is nothing other than to be declared.

III.  Hitherto we have shown, that Christ discharged the office of Mediator according to both natures.  At this point, the Papists contradict us, who deny that Christ was or is Mediator according to the divine nature:  but according to His human nature alone.

Their principal arguments are these:

(1.)  Paul expressly distinguishes God from the Mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5, there is one God, and one mediator between God and men.

Therefore, he indicates that Christ is not Mediator according to His Deity.

Response:  I deny the consequence.  The rationale:  because in the alleged passage God is taken, not οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, but ὑπόστατικῶς/ hypostatically for God the Father:  between whom and us Christ properly discharges the office of Mediator.  1 John 2:1, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  Thus Chrysostom, homily 16 on Hebrews:  μεσίτης ὁ υἱὸς ἐγένετο τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ ἡμῶν, the Son has become the Mediator between the Father and us.  And Cyril, book II, chapter 7:  To the extent that He is Mediator and High Priest, He takes our prayers to the Father.

(2.)  The Mediator is called man in the same passage.

Therefore, He is Mediator according to His human nature alone.

Response:  I deny the consequence.  Because man in this passage does not signify a nature, but the person of the θεανθρώπου/Theanthropos/God-man.  But not thereupon ought it to be referred to one nature, what is said concerning the person denominated by the one nature.

(3.)  A Mediator is equidistant from both parties at variance.

But Christ, as God, is not removed from both parties at variance, God the Father and man.

Therefore, as God, He is not Mediator.

The minor is proven:  Because God is not removed from God in any way.

Responses:  1.  The minor is denied.  The proof is false:  God, taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically as God the Son, differs from God, taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically, namely, from God the Father:  1.  with respect to person; 2.  with respect to the incarnation; 3.  with respect to the mediatorial office.

2.  A distinction must be introduced into the major premise.  A mediator, considered in the totality of his person, is removed from both parties at variance.  Whence a conclusion of this sort will be inferred:  Therefore, Christ, as God, is not the mediator considered in the totality of His person.  Thus the conclusion does not contradict us.  For the Mediator, considered in the totality of His person, is not only God, but the θεάνθρωπος/Theanthropos/God-man.  But the θεάνθρωπος truly is in the middle between both parties at variance.  For, He, as man, is removed from the Father; He, as God, is removed from us.  He, as God, approaches to the Father; He, as man, to us.  Nor could He have reconciled God and man, unless He had been God and man.

(4.)  If Christ be Mediator according to the divine nature, certainly He would be Mediator and offended party at the same time.

But the consequent is false:  Therefore also the antecedent.

The rationale of the hypothetical is:  because the divine nature is the offended party.

The minor is proven:  because the mediator and the offended party ought to differ:  neither is anyone a mediator for himself.

Response:  The minor is denied.  The proof is not true in any simple way.  One is able to be a mediator for himself, if there be a diversity of respects, which sort there is here.  For, the Son of God, considered φυσικῶς/naturally, only insofar as He is God, differs from Himself considered οἰκονμικῶς/economically, insofar as He is the θεάνθρωπος/Theanthropos/God-man Mediator.  Therefore, by His sacrifice He also reconciles men to Himself:  although Scripture generally commends Christ to us as Mediator between God the Father and men.

(5.)  If Christ were in any way Mediator according to the divine nature, all three persons would have been mediators.

But the consequent is false:  Therefore also the antecedent.

The rationale of the hypothetical is:  that the divine nature is common to the three persons.

Response:  I introduce a distinction into the hypothetical.  If Christ were Mediator according to the divine nature, considered οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, certainly all three persons, considered with respect to nature in this manner, would have been mediators.  But we say, that Christ is Mediator, according to the divine nature, not considered οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, but ὑπόστατικῶς/ hypostatically, that is, insofar as He is the Λόγος/Logos/Word, begotten from eternity.

(6.)  The proper office of the Mediator is to sacrifice, and to make satisfaction by sacrifice.

Therefore, Christ is not Mediator according to the divine nature.

The rationale of the consequencebecause according to the divine nature He did not sacrifice, nor is He priest:  otherwise He would be less than Him whose priest He is.

Responses:  1.  The antecedent is not true exclusively:  for there are more parts of the mediatorial office than to sacrifice, as it is evident from the preceding discussion.

2.  The consequence is denied.  The proof is partly false, partly inconsequent.  It is false, that Christ according to the divine nature did not sacrifice; for He offered the flesh that He had assumed:  And, even if He, as priest and θεάνθρωπος/Theanthropos/God-man Mediator, is less than the Father, yet He is equal with Him with respect to nature.

* IV.  It is asked:  Whether Christ is also the Mediator of the good Angels?

Response:  Concerning the Mediator properly so called we embrace the negative.

(1.)  Because Scripture express says that there is only one Mediator between God and men, 1 Timothy 2:5.

(2.)  Because the good Angels do not sin:  and so there was never any discord between God and the Angels, for the removal of which a Mediator would have been necessary.

(3.)  Because Christ took not the nature of Angels, Hebrews 2:16.  But it was necessary for Him to assume the nature of those whose Mediator He was obliged to be.

V.  However, others introduce a distinction into mediation:  because it is one thing to redeem and another thing to preserve.  With respect to the former, they deny that Christ is the Mediator of the good Angels, but affirm it with respect to the latter.

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