Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catechism #75-79

Some how, I got behind in posting the questions we've been discussing. Honestly, these questions are a little over their heads. We are, however, plugging away and laying a good foundation for later discussions.

Question #75: How does the Lord's Supper remind you and assure you that you share in Christ's one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts?

Answer: In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup. With this command he gave this promise: First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ's body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25)

Question #76: What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?

Answer:It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body.
And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul (John 6:35, 40, 50-54; John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1; 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13; John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24)

Question #77: Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?

Answer: In the institution of the Lord's Supper: "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed,
took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,
'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death
until he comes." This promise is repeated by Paul in these words: "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf." (1 Cor. 11:23-26; 1 Cor. 10:16-17).

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 (Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5; Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28; Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 12:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-4)

Question #79: Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood? (Paul uses 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 remembrance, and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and paid for our sins (John 6:51, 55; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26; Rom. 6:5-11)

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