First Baptist Church, Cobden IL
Thursday, August 18, 2022
200 South Walker St. Cobden, IL 62920

Study in the Scriptures: Matt Hartline

 
 
 

 

Pondering the Creed with William Perkins

 

Continuing our study of William Perkins’ commentary on The Apostle’s Creed, we pick up in the second section of The Creed, wherein we confess: “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord.” Having looked at Perkins’ analysis of the first title, “Jesus,” he moves to address the second title, “Christ.” 
                             
Perkins is swift to point out that this is not Jesus’ surname, but is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew title “Messiah” found in the Old Testament. Both terms signify “anointed” and the title given to the promised Redeemer. 
 
Perkins identifies from the Old Testament three “estates or orders of men” that were anointed with oil: prophets, priests, and kings. These anointings were “a type and figure of the anointing of Christ, which was not with bodily oil but by the Spirit.” Perkins explains that this signifies that “neither king, priest, nor prophet was ever anointed in the same manner as He was.”[1]
 
The anointing of Christ by the Spirit, for Perkins, is in accordance with both His Godhead and His manhood as Mediator between God and man, and this consist of two parts: First, as Mediator, Christ is called to the office(s) of king, priest, and prophet. Christ, as king, is “to gather and withal govern His church and people.” As priest, “to make satisfaction and intercession for the sins of the elect.” And, as prophet, “to reveal and teach His people the will of God, His Father.”[2] Second, Christ’s anointing consists in the “pouring out of the fullness of the Spirit of grace into the manhood of Christ. Perkins shows that this fullness is seen in that (1) God alone is the author of it. For the most excellent and unspeakable graces of Christ’s manhood have their beginning from the Godhead of Christ. (2) The manhood of Christ was a “vessel or storehouse” of the “spiritual oil of grace” that contained “created gifts and qualities placed in His human nature.” (3) Just as holy oil was had a “sweet savor,” Christ’s perfect obedience takes away “the noisome scent of our loathsome sins from the nostrils of God,” and does make our “persons” and “actions” acceptable as a sweet perfume.[3]
 
By Christ’s anointing, Perkins announces, “the people of God reap great benefit and comfort, because they are partakers thereof.”[4] The comforts believers receive are: (1) the gladness of heart brought to all members, producing (2) the peace of God which passes all understanding. Additionally, the believers’ benefits are two: (1) all of the elect are set apart and made spiritual kings, priests, and prophets. (2) They receive the same Spirit of God that the manhood of Christ received as well.[5] “Now then,” exhorts Perkins, “let us all lay these things to our hearts and extol the unspeakable goodness of God that has advanced us to the dignity of kings, priests, and prophets before Him and has given His Spirit unto us to enable us to be so indeed.”[6]
 

[1] William Perkins, An Exposition of the Symbol (or Creed) of the Apostles, in The Works of William Perkins, vol 5, ed. Ryan Hurd (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017), 103.
[2] Perkins, Exposition of the Symbol, 103.
[3] Perkins, Exposition of the Symbol, 104.
[4] Perkins, Exposition of the Symbol, 104
[5] Perkins, Exposition of the Symbol, 104-105.
[6] Perkins, Exposition of the Symbol, 105.
 
 
 

 

For the supremacy of Christ in all things,

Brother Matt