Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 40
Q & A 161
Q How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted.
Q & A 162
Q What is a sacrament?
A A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from those that are without.
Q & A 163
Q What are the parts of a sacrament?
A The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.
Q & A 164
Q How many sacraments has Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A Under the New Testament Christ has instituted in his church only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Q & A 176
Q Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper agree?
A The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper agree, in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits; both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.
Q & A 177
Q Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ?
A The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ, in that Baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ, and that even to infants; whereas the Lord’s Supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and growth in him, and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.