Friday, May 20, 2011

HC: Lord's Day 29-We Really Partake

Q: 78. Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
A: Not at all: but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; so the bread in the Lord's supper is not changed into the very body of Christ; though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ Jesus.

Q: 79. Why then does Christ call the bread "his body", and the cup "his blood", or "the new covenant in his blood"; and Paul the "communion of body and blood of Christ"?
A: Christ speaks thus, not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood by the operation of the Holy Spirit as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him; and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.

1. There is not much to say on question 78. However, I do like the analogy to baptism.

2. Question and answer 79 is rich with great theological truth. First, note again that the Lord's Supper is a sign of assurance. It is there to assure us that we are really partakers of Christ's body and blood. In other words, the point of the supper is not to make us doubt whether we really partake of Christ's blood or not. Second, the picture painted of imputation is beautiful. God looks on us, because of the work of Christ, as if we ourselves had suffered and made satisfaction for our sins. We are united to Christ in such a way that his sacrifice becomes ours. His righteousness becomes ours. This is good news indeed!

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8