THIRTEENTH LORD’S DAY
Question 34. Wherefore callest thou him our Lord?
Answer. Because he has redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood, and hath delivered us from all the power of the devil, and thus hath made us his own property.
Two things are here to be considered:
To be Lord is to have a right over some thing or person. Christ, therefore, is our Lord and the Lord of all, 1. Because he has dominion over us, and over all things: he has a care for all things, keeps and preserve! all, and especially those who have been purchased and redeemed by his blood. 2. Because all things are subject to him, and we are bound fro serve him, in body and soul, that he may be glorified by us.
The name Lord belongs to both natures of Christ, just as that of Prophet, Priest and King ; for the names of the office, benefits, dignity and beneficence of Christ towards us are affirmed of his whole person, not by the communication of properties, as the names of the two natures and attributes of Christ, but properly in respect to each nature. For both natures of Christ will and secure our redemption : the human nature paid the price of our redemption by dying for us, and the divine gives and offers to the Father this price, and applies it unto us by the Spirit. Christ is, therefore, our Lord not only in respect to his divine nature, which has created us, but also in respect to his humanity ; for even in as far as he is man, the person of Christ is Lord over all angels and men.
Christ is our Lord, not only in one, but in many respects.
1. By right of creation, sustenance and government in its general character, as well as that which he has in common with the Father and Holy Ghost. Hence it is said, “ all mine are thine, and thine are mine.” (John 17 : 10.) The general dominion of Christ is that which extends itself not only to us, but to all men, even the wicked and the devils themselves, although not in the same respect. For 1. He created us to eternal life, but them to destruction. 2. He has a right and power over the wicked and devils, to make them do what he pleases, so that without his will they cannot so much as move ; and if he wills he has power to reduce them to nothing, as the history which we have in the gospel of the man possessed with devils, sufficiently testifies. But besides this right which he likewise has over us, he is also called our Lord, because he guards us as his own peculiar people, whom he has purchased with his blood, and sanctifies by his Spirit ; and, furthermore, by this his Spirit, he rules and governs us, and works in our hearts faith and obedience.
2. By the right of redemption peculiar to himself; because he alone is the mediator, who has redeemed us by his blood, from sin and death, delivered us from the power of the devil and set us apart for him self. The way in which we have been redeemed is most precious, because it was far greater to redeem us with his blood than with money. There fore, the right of possession which he has over us is also of the strongest character. But, seeing that he has redeemed us, it is evident that we were slaves. We were indeed the servants and slaves of the devil, from whose tyranny Christ has delivered us ; hence we are now the servants of Christ; because, notwithstanding we were by nature his enemies, and deserving of destruction, he has preserved and redeemed us. Slaves were first called servi by the Romans, from servando, which properly means preserved, be cause, being taken captives by their enemies, they were preserved, when they might have been slain. This dominion of Christ over us is special, inasmuch as it extends only to the church.
Obj. If we have been redeemed from the power of the devil, the price of our redemption has been given to him ; for from whose power we are redeemed, to him is the ransom due. But the price of our redemption was not given to Satan. Therefore we have riot been redeemed from his power. Ans. The price of our deliverance is due him from whose power we have been redeemed, provided he is supreme Lord, and holds a dominion over us by right. But God alone, and not Satan, is our Supreme Lord, and holds a dominion over us justly. Therefore the price of our redemption is due to God, and not to the devil. It is true indeed, that Satan enslaved us by the just judgment of God, on account of sin, taking us by force, and thus making inroads upon the possessions of another. But Christ, that strong armed and greater one, having made satisfaction for our sins, and broken the power of the devil, liberated us from his tyranny. Therefore Christ has redeemed us in respect to God, because he paid to him our ransom, and in respect to the devil, he has liberated us, and asserted and secured our freedom.
3. By reason of our preservation Christ is our Lord ; because he defends us even to the end, and keeps us unto eternal life, not only by preserving our bodies from injuries, but our souls also from sin. For our preservation must be understood not only concerning our first rescue from the power of the devil, but also concerning our continual preservation and the consummation of his benefits. Christ himself speaks of this preservation when he says, “ Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” “No man shall pluck them out of my hands.” (John 17:12; 10:28.) He preserves the wicked unto destruction, and that merely with a temporal defence.
4. In respect to ordination or appointment ; because the Father ordained the Word, or this person, Christ, to this, that he might through him accomplish all things in heaven and on earth. For Christ is our Lord, not only in that he preserves us, having rescued us from the power of the devil and made us the sons of God ; but also because the Father has given us to him, and has constituted him our Prince, King and Head. “ He hath appointed him heir of all things.” “Thine they were and thou gavest them me. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be Head over all things to the church,” &c. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour for to give repentance to Israel,” &c. (Heb. 1:2. John 17:6; 6:37. Eph. 1:22. Acts 5:81.) Since Christ, therefore, is our Lord in a far more excellent manner than others, we are also much more strongly obligated to render obedience to him ; for he is our Lord in such a manner that he may do with us what he wills, and has an absolute right over us, which he, however, uses only for our salvation : for we receive from him more and infinitely greater benefits than from any one else. Hence we ought ever to acknowledge the dominion which Christ has over us, which acknowledgement to be complete, implies 1. A confession of this great benefit, that Christ should condescend to be our Lord. 2. A confession of our obligation and duty to him, which may be comprehended in serving, worshipping arid loving him.
What, therefore, is the meaning of this article, I believe in Christ, our Lord? Three things are here to be observed:
1 . To believe that Christ is Lord. This, however, is not sufficient, for we believe also that the devil is lord; but not of all, nor of us, as we believe Christ is Lord of us all.
2. To believe that Christ is Lord both of all and of us. Neither is this all that is necessary for us to believe ; for the devils also believe that Christ is their Lord, as it is plain that he has a right and authority over them.
3. To believe in Christ as our Lord; that is, to believe that he is our Lord in such a manner that we may repose our confidence in him. And this is what we are especially required to believe. When we, therefore, say that we believe in our Lord, we believe, 1. That the Son of God is the Creator of all things, and therefore has a right over all creatures. “ All things that the Father hath are mine.” 2. That he is in a peculiar manner constituted the Lord, the defender and preserver of the church, because he has redeemed it with his blood. 3. That the Son of God is also my Lord, that I am one of his subjects, that I am redeemed by his blood and continually preserved by him, so that I am bound to be grateful to him. And, further, that his dominion over me is such as is calculated to promote my good, and that I am saved by him as a most precious possession, a peculiar purchase, secured at the greatest expense.
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