Lord’s Day 12: I Share in His Anointing

Catechism and Psalter

As believers, we refer to God’s Son as either “Jesus” or “Christ,” or often both.  Many times, however, we fail to recognize the deeper significance of both of these names.  In Lord’s Days 11 and 12, the Heidelberg Catechism digs deep into the truths of Scripture to teach us the true meaning of each title.   Last week in our series on the Catechism we focused on Lord’s Day 11, which explained the meaning of the name “Jesus.”  Today we consider Lord’s Day 12, which focuses on the name “Christ.”

31 Q.  Why is he called “Christ” meaning “Anointed”?

A.  Beause he has been ordained by God the Father
and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit
to be
our chief prophet and teacher
who perfectly reveals to us
the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance;
our only high priest
who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body,
and who continually pleads our cause with the Father;
and our eternal king
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who guards us and keeps us
in the freedom he has won for us.

32 Q.  But why are you called a Christian?

A.  Because by faith I am a member of Christ
and so I share in his anointing.
I am anointed
to confess his name,
to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,
to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil
in this life,
and afterward to reign with Christ
over all creation
for all eternity.

Suggested Songs

The main thrust of Lord’s Day 12 is what theologians refer to as the “threefold office of Christ”: he is our Prophet, our Priest, and our King.  Because we as his people share in his anointing, our office mirrors his.  Thus, the doctrine set forth here is far from abstract.  Indeed, it is responsible for our entire outlook on the role of the Christian life.  I’ve selected a few psalms from the blue Psalter Hymnal to bring out some of these concepts.

243, “Thou Art My Portion, Lord” (Psalm 119)

“[H]e has been ordained by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief prophet and teacher who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance.”  Not only does this setting of Psalm 119:57-64 set forth Christ’s role of prophet as he reveals God’s Word to us, but it also demonstrates the proper reaction of the obedient Christian.  One of the ways in which we should show our response is to seek to worship with his people: “All those who fear Thy Name/Shall my companions be.”

Thou art my portion, Lord;
Thy words I ever heed;
With all my heart Thy grace I seek,
Thy promises I plead.

I thought upon my ways,
Thy testimonies learned;
With earnest haste, and waiting not,
To Thy commands I turned.

221, “The Lord unto His Christ Has Said” (Psalm 110)

(Sung by West Sayville Reformed Bible Church on Long Island, NY)

He has been ordained and anointed to be “our only high priest who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body, and who continually pleads our cause with the Father.”  Few psalms are more explicit about the priesthood and kingship of Christ than Psalm 110.  The Psalter Hymnal goes so far as to explicitly insert the name “Christ” here in the place of the original first line, “The Lord unto my Lord has said.”  Although it is not a particularly literal psalm setting, “The Lord unto His Christ Has Said” is a remarkably applicable song for this Lord’s Day.

The Lord unto His Christ has said,
Sit Thou at My right hand
Until I make Thine enemies
Submit to Thy command.
A scepter prospered by the Lord
Thy mighty hand shall wield;
From Zion Thou shalt rule the world,
And all Thy foes shall yield.

Thy people will be gladly Thine
When Thou shalt come in might,
Like dawning day, like hopeful youth,
With holy beauty bright.
A priesthood that shall never end
The Lord has given Thee;
Thus He has sworn, and evermore
Fulfilled His word shall be.

Thou shalt subdue the kings of earth
With God at Thy right hand;
The nations Thou shalt rule in might
And judge in every land.
The Christ, refreshed by living streams,
Shall neither faint nor fall,
And He shall be the glorious Head,
Exalted over all.

33, “Now the King in Thy Strength” (Psalm 21)

And He has been ordained and anointed to be “our eternal king who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who guards us and keeps us in the freedom he has won for us.”  Because Psalms 20 and 21 are both royal psalms with rather unique contexts, it’s understandable if they’re not sung very often in our churches.  Even so, these songs are rich with references to God’s Anointed One, the ultimate Son of David, who rules and reigns over his people and all the nations.  Despite its almost ridiculously simplistic tune, Psalter Hymnal number 33 complements our confession of Christ’s kingship:

Now the King in Thy strength shall be joyful, O Lord,
Thy salvation shall make Him rejoice;
For the wish of His heart Thou didst freely accord,
The request of His suppliant voice.

All the blessings of goodness Thou freely didst give;
With the purest of gold He is crowned;
When He asked of Thee life, Thou hast made him to live
While the ages shall circle around.

Through salvation from Thee has His fame spread abroad,
Thou didst glory and honor impart;
Thou hast made Him most blessed forever, O God,
And Thy presence has gladdened His heart.

Be Thou then high exalted, Jehovah our God,
And arise in the weight of Thy might;
We shall sing of Thy strength and omnipotent rod;
In Thy praises shall be our delight.

35, “All Ye That Fear Jehovah’s Name” (Psalm 22)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“I am anointed to confess his name [and] to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks.”  Besides being an all-around delightful psalm versification to sing, “All Ye That Fear Jehovah’s Name” from Psalm 22 captures our response to God’s salvation.  The Psalter Hymnal capitalizes the first-person pronouns in this text, hinting that we ought to view Christ as the singer.  Although that is a solid interpretation, we as Christians should also echo Christ’s response.  The third verse of number 35 mirrors the Catechism most helpfully:

All ye that fear Jehovah’s Name,
His glory tell, His praise proclaim;
Ye children of His chosen race,
Stand ye in awe before His face.

The suffering One He has not spurned,
Who unto Him for succor turned;
From Him He has not hid His face,
But answered His request in grace.

O Lord, Thy goodness makes Me raise
Amid Thy people songs of praise;
Before all them that fear Thee, now
I worship Thee and pay My vow.

For all the meek Thou wilt provide,
They shall be fed and satisfied;
All they that seek the Lord shall live
And never-ending praises give.

83, “O Royal Bride, Give Heed” (Psalm 45)

(Sung on YouTube)

“I am anointed…to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and afterward to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.”  Psalm 45 might seem so flowery as to scare some over-cautious singers away, but it begins to make sense once we understand it properly as a song setting forth the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church.  Again, the Psalter Hymnal takes the liberty of explicitly naming Christ and the Church in this text, a doubtful but not unjustifiable alteration.  This psalm setting urges Christians to “forsake the world/And every former friend,” and promises the same eternal reign with Christ set forth in the Catechism.

O royal bride, give heed,
And to my words attend;
For Christ the King forsake the world
And every former friend.

Thy beauty and thy grace
Shall then delight the King;
He only is thy rightful Lord,
To Him thy worship bring.

Enthroned in royal state,
All glorious thou shalt dwell,
With garments fair, inwrought with gold;
The Church He loveth well.

Thy Name shall be proclaimed
Through all succeeding days,
And all the nations of the earth
Shall give Thee endless praise.

Throughout our lives on this earth, may we never fail to recognize and appreciate the identity of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our own identity as his Church.

–MRK

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1 Response to “Lord’s Day 12: I Share in His Anointing”



  1. 1 Lord’s Day 13: To Be His Very Own | URC Psalmody Trackback on March 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

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