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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

Thomas Vincent

XXV. Ques. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.

Q. 1. What is the first part of Christ's priestly office?
A. The first part of Christ's priestly office is, his offering up sacrifice to God for us. "Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices, wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat to offer." Heb. 8:3.

Q. 2. What is a sacrifice?
A. A sacrifice is a holy offering rendered to God by a priest of God's appointment.

Q. 3. Was Christ a priest of God's appointment?
A. Yes; for he was called and anointed by God to this office. "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron: so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said, Thou art a priest for ever1 after the order of Melchizcdek." Heb. 5:4-6.

Q. 4. What sacrifice did Christ offer to God for us?
A. Christ did offer unto God for us the sacrifice of himself. "But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. 9:26.

Q. 5. Did Christ offer the sacrifice of himself often?
A. No; but he offered the sacrifice of himself once only, this being sufficient for our sins. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Heb. 9:28.

Q. 6. Wherefore was it that Christ did offer the sacrifice of himself unto God for us?
A. Christ did offer the sacrifice of himself unto God for us 1. That hereby he might satisfy God's justice for us. 2. And that hereby he might reconcile us unto God.

Q. 7. How doth it appear that Christ did satisfy God's justice by the sacrifice of himself?
A. 1. Because Christ's sacrifice of himself was of sufficient worth to satisfy God's justice, infinitely offended by our sins, being the sacrifice of him who, as God, was of infinite dignity. 2. Because this sacrifice of Christ was accepted by God in behalf of sinners. "Christ hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." Eph. 5:2. 3. It doth further appear, because Christ in his death, who was our sacrifice, did bear our sins, or the punishment due for our sins; and wherefore did he bear them, but for the satisfaction of God's justice?
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." 1 Pet. 2:24. And he is said to give his life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28); which ransom was God's satisfaction.

Q. 8. What is the consequent of the satisfaction Christ bath given to God by the sacrifice of himself?
A. The consequent of Christ's satisfaction by this sacrifice is, our reconciliation unto God. "That he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross." Eph. 2:16.

Q. 9. What is the second part of Christ's priestly office?
A. The second part of Christ's priestly office is, his making intercession for us. "He bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isa. 53:2.

Q. 10. What doth Christ do for us in his intercession?
A. Christ, in his intercession, doth pray unto and plead with God, as our advocate, that through the merit of his death we might be actually reconciled, our persons accepted, our sins pardoned, our consciences quieted, our prayers answered, and at last our souls saved. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1. "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:14.

Q. 11. Where doth Christ make intercession for us?
A. Christ doth make intercession for us at the right hand of God in heaven. "It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Rom. 8:34.

Q. 12. Doth Christ make intercession for us only fora time?
A. Christ maketh intercession for us continually and for ever. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" Heb. 7:25.

Q. 13. Wherein doth Christ's priestly office differ from the priestly office under the ceremonial law?
A. 1. The priests under the law were priests after the order of Aaron; but Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, without father as man, without mother as God, &c. Heb. 7:1-20. 2. The priests under the law were sinful; but Christ is holy, and perfectly free from sin. "Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. " Heb. 7:26. 3. The priests under the law were many, because mortal; but Christ is the one only high priest of his order, and abideth continually. "They truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this man continueth ever." Heb. 7:23, 24. 4. The priests under the law were consecrated and settled in their office without an oath; but Christ with an oath. "For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever," &c. Heb. 7:21. 5. The priesthood under the law was changeable; but Christ's priesthood is unchangeable. "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law; but this man hath an unchangeable priesthood." Heb. 7:12, 24. 6. The priests under the law offered up many sacrifices, and those of bulls and goats, and the blood of others; but Christ offered up but once one sacrifice, and that the sacrifice of himself, and his own blood. "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others." Heb. 9:25. "He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever." Heb. 10:12. 7. The priests under the law offered sacrifice for themselves, for their own sins as well as for the sins of the people; but Christ offered sacrifice only for others, being himself without sin. "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's." Heb. 7:27. 8. The sacrifices which the priests under the law did offer were types of Christ's sacrifice, not being sufficient in themselves to take away sin, nor accepted by God any further than Christ was eyed in them; but Christ's sacrifice of himself was the thing typified, and is efficacious in itself for remission, and for itself is accepted. "The law having a shadow of good things to come, can never with those sacrifices make the comers thereunto perfect. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Christ, by one offering, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Heb. 10:1, 4, 14. 9. The priests under the law appeared in the behalf of the people before God in the temple, the holy place made with hands; but Christ appeareth before God in heaven for us. "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:14. 10. The priests under the law had only the office of priesthood; but Christ is priest, prophet, and king.

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