In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve learnt about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life. We’ve seen that the covenant of grace was shown in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. This week I want to look at how the covenant of grace is shown in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
In the New Testament age we have two ordinances from God: baptism and the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s Supper is where God’s people eat bread and drink grape juice as commanded in Scripture. The Apostle Paul wrote about the Lord’s Supper: ‘For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: 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’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
So how does the Lord’s Supper show God’s covenant of grace? As Paul and Jesus said, the focus is the death of Christ. In particular Jesus’ body and blood given to pay for our sin. Thus when we eat and drink together we are seeing God’s grace visibly displayed before us as we remember that God has graciously forgiven our sins through Jesus’ death. Jesus even explicitly says in the quote above that the cup is ‘the new covenant in my blood’, meaning that when we eat and drink together we are declaring that we are in God’s covenant of grace. So just as baptism visibly displays our union with Christ’s death, so does the Lord’s Supper.
Now, I want to be clear. Taking part in the Lord’s Supper does not actually save you from your sin. Rather to be saved you must trust that Jesus died for your sin. But if you do trust in Jesus, then you can take part in the Lord’s Supper to show that you have experienced God’s grace.
So have you displayed God’s grace by taking part in the Lord’s Supper?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.