Sacraments


To confess the Lord Jesus Christ, His doctrine, and His church belongs to the most significant objectives of the Lord’s Supper. Observe this in the following passages: “This do ye…in remembrance of Me….ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:25-26); “For we being many are one bread, and one body” (1 Cor. 10:17). It is an absolutely necessary, appropriate, and Christ-glorifying duty to confess Christ, for this duty builds up the congregation and refreshes the soul (II: 65).

Reflection [on the Lord’s Supper] consists in a continual looking unto and having fellowship with the Lord. “…walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1); “And Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:24). To that end it is necessary that one views God in Christ as a reconciled Father. Even when spiritual light dissipates, if one falls into sin and if strife comes, one must nevertheless hold fast to the immovableness of the covenant. It is neither your feeling nor your standing or falling which determines the steadfastness or stability of the covenant; rather, it is based on the immutability of God. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa. 54:10); “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). Therefore do not succumb so readily; hold fast what you have, be steadfast in faith, and conduct yourself manfully. If, according to your feeling, you cannot conclude the certainty of your state, then make the conclusion judgmentally. Observe this in the following passages: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11); “Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead” (2 Cor. 5:14). Therefore set the Lord continually before you and live in a continual dialogue with Him–at one time pray, then ask for counsel, then express your dependence upon Him, then wait upon Him, then reverently worship Him, then rest in Him, then thank Him, and then again, offer yourself to His service. Acquaint yourself thus with Him (II: 596].

Many have a wrong perception of themselves; they measure themselves by themselves. They deem themselves to be fit, for they have no disagreement with their neighbor, are baptized, diligently go to hear God’s Word, live in such a manner that no one can say anything about them, and believe that Christ is the Savior–one must thus not doubt that one will also be saved and that Christ is also his Savior. Therefore all is truly well–Christ invites and commands us, and I then wish to be obedient to the Lord in this respect. Others add to this the fact that, prior to that time, they refrain from indulging in their bosom sins, read pious books, and pray more frequently. One thus puts himself into a pious mold and peacefully attends, eating and drinking judgment to himself (II: 578).

What church’s official documents contain: “what is eaten and drunk by us is the proper and natural body and the proper blood of Christ…”
Zwinglian Anabaptist Roman Catholic Reformed Evangelical Lutheran Eastern Orthodox Emergent Anglican

I am doing a comparison on a number of Reformed Creeds as part of my course-work this semester. I have regained a love and appreciation for the Belgic Confession of Faith. It is so experiential, practical, applicable, and comforting to the Christian. The article on the Sacraments is just one example of the many fine articles that our Continental brethren hold so dear:

We believe that our gracious God, taking account of our weakness and infirmities, has ordained the sacraments for us, thereby to seal unto us His promises, and to be pledges of the good will and grace of God towards us, and also to nourish and strengthen our faith; which He has joined to the Word of the gospel, the better to present to our senses both that which He declares to us by His Word and that which He works inwardly in our hearts, thereby confirming in us the salvation which He imparts to us. For they are visible signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing, by means whereof God works in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the signs are not empty or meaningless, so as to deceive us. For Jesus Christ is the true object presented by them, without whom they would be of no moment. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Lord has instituted, which are two only, namely, the sacrament of baptism and the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ -Belgic Confession, Article XXXII

When seeing these signs, the communicant must not end in them mentally, but must proceed to the matter signified, that is, to the body and blood of Christ–broken and shed to satisfy God’s justice for the sins of believers. Thus, he must unite the sign to the matter signified. One must not do so on the basis of his own imagination, for then he would be able to ascend to the suffering and death of Christ by way of the physical; rather, one ought to do so upon the basis of Christ’s institution. It is thus not a union established by way of human imagination, but it is a union in the true sense of the word. However, it is not a local or physical union, but a spiritual union which has its foundation and derives its veracity from Christ’s institution. This union therefore does not relate to the substances of bread and wine as they are in the dish and in the cup at that moment, that is, apart from being used in the sacrament. Instead, this union comes about when the communicant, by virtue of Christ’s institution, exercises faith, taking note of the instituted relationship between the sign and the matter signified. This is similar to a stone which, taken from a pile and placed as a boundary marker upon the land, is not changed as far as its nature is concerned, but as to how it is viewed (II: 532-533).

Watson was baptized this Lord’s Day. It was very emotional to reflect on all the promises of God as well as the responsibility of Christian parenthood. The first question to which we answered, I do, was a re-commitment to the Christian faith. I pray that this begins a time of personal reviving for us as we have rededicated our lives to the life of Jesus Christ.

Here is a great article by Professor John Murray on the baptism of infants.

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