“The Threefold Office of Christ.” (Loc. 7592)
Pieper observes that the work of Christ is differentiated from his person. “The Christian Church has from the earliest days divided the office, or work, of Christ into the prophetic, the high-priestly, and the kingly office” (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7598). At times Jesus is functioning in multiple offices at once. “All actions performed by our Prophet, Priest, and King are theanthropic actions” (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7608). The prophetic office is performed as Jesus teaches, in person and now through servants of the Gospel. Unlike other prophets, Jesus taught the things he knew from his divinity (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7621). He therefore surpassed all other prophets. Pieper illustrates this concept, comparing Moses’ and Jesus’ knowledge of God’s means of grace. Does Jesus’ prophetic work continue? “At His ascension to heaven Christ did not abdicate His prophetic office, but He still performs it - mediately” (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7677). He now uses the Church and his ministers.
As Priest, Christ purchased for us the grace he proclaims to us as prophet (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7718). Pieper emphasizes that Jesus’ role as prophet is directly dependent on his work as priest. In the state of humiliation Jesus reconciled the world to God (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7728). Pieper discusses the term vicarious satisfaction at some length. The essence is that Jesus was able to satisfy God’s anger at sin in the place of mankind. Pieper sees this as a very objective work, accomplished by God and applied to us subjectively as we believe (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7823). Pieper brings up a variety of objections to the sufficient vicarious atonement but consistently claims Scripture, not man’s reason, as the authority, This concept continues for some time in his discussion. It is essential, in his view, that salvation be completely the work of Christ without any hint of it depending upon our obedience. Rather, all salvation depends entirely on Christ’s obedience (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8240).
Pieper goes on to discuss the Old Testament sacrifices. While the pagans trusted that their sacrifices would appease wrath in the Old Testament the sacrifices looked forward to Christ who would bring forgiveness (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8263). Christ in his death pays the ransom to God for all mankind’s sin (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8291). Likewise in his priestly office Christ prays for all people and especially believers (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8313). In his exaltation he continues as a priest (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8318).
Finally, Christ as king is sovereign over all (Pieper 1968, Loc. 8355). his realm is invisible. It can be divided into his realm of power and of grace. It is always present and is quite real.