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Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 29

August 25, 2014 by Dan Valentine 0 comments

Posted in: Catechism for the Church

"Calvin believed the Supper was a feast of rememberance. But he believed it was a feast of communion too. He believed in a real presence, a real spiritual presence whereby we feast on Christ by faith and experience His presence through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. By faith, then, we 'share in His true body and blood'. Clearly, the Lord's Supper is a memorial. We remember Christ's Last Supper (I Corinthians 11:23-25). We remember His sacrifice and proclaim His death (I Corinthians 11:26). But the Lord's Supper is also a communion. I Corinthians 10:16 says, 'The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?' When we drink the cup and eat the bread, we participate in, have fellowship with, the body and blood of Christ. We are joined to Him and experience a deep, spiritual participation with Him. Christ is truly present with us at the Table." Kevin DeYoung. The Good News We Almost Forgot. 142.

Question 78: Are the bread and wine changed into the real body and blood of Christ?

Answer: No. Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ's blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply God's sign and assurance, so too the bread of the Lord's Supper is not changed into the actual body of Christ even though it is called the body of Christ in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.

Question 79: Why then does Christ call the bread His body and the cup His blood, or the new covenant in His blood? And why does Paul use the words: a participation in Christ's body and blood?

Answer: Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that as bread and wine nourish our temporal life, so too His crucified body and poured-out blood truly nourish our souls for eternal life. But more important, He wants to assure us by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit's work, share in His true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in His rememberance, and that all of His suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we had personally suffered and paid for our sins.

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