Sacraments are simply signs and seals symbolizing salvation.
Read / Listen
Read Matthew 26:26-28
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 66
Q. What are sacraments?
A. Sacraments are
holy signs and seals
for us to see.
They were instituted by God so that
by our use of them
he might make us understand more clearly
the promise of the gospel,
and might put his seal on that promise.
And this is God’s gospel promise:
to forgive our sins and give us eternal life
by grace alone
because of Christ’s one sacrifice
finished on the cross.
Jesus uses very interesting terminology when instituting the Lord’s Supper. He says to his disciples when they are eating the communion bread, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then when he gives them the wine to drink, he says, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant.” Why would Jesus use those terms?
This builds on what we started to look at yesterday when we studied how the sacraments confirm our faith in Jesus Christ.
When we eat the bread of the Lord’s Supper, we are not eating the physical body of Christ. When we drink from the cup of the Lord’s Supper, we are not drinking the physical blood of Christ. While Jesus is present spiritually in the Lord’s Supper through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are not eating his body or drinking his blood. Jesus uses these terms because the sacraments are signs and seals of God’s promises in Jesus Christ.
When we baptize an infant or a new convert, we know that baptism does not save them. We are only saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, baptism is a sign and seal of God’s gospel promise.
As surely as water washes away dirt from our bodies, the blood of Christ, shed on the cross, washes away our sins. Baptism is a sign and seal because it points to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, and shows us how we are saved through faith. It is why we can sing a song like Nothing But the Blood of Jesus so fervently.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
When we eat of the bread and drink of the cup of the Lord’s Supper, it too is a sign and seal of God’s gospel promise. Communion points to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ body was broken and his blood shed for our salvation. Not only that, just as bread and juice physically nourish us, Jesus nourishes us spiritually through his presence.
The sacraments are a physical way for God to confirm a spiritual reality. We celebrate them to confirm our faith in Jesus and be nourished by him.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Amazing God, who shows us, as well as teaches us of your power and grace;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you would contemplate the meaning of the sacraments as you are celebrating them;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Colossians 1