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New City Catechism Question and Answer 44

Question 44
What is baptism?

Answer
Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church.


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New City Catechism Question and Answer 43

Question 43
What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Answer
The sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by his death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.


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Looking Forward, Looking Back, Looking Around – The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a meal with a unique vantage point.
Christians look at three realities and are spiritually nourished in each.
From Guy Prentiss Waters:

The Lord’s Supper, therefore, always and simultaneously points in two directions, backward and forward. It points backward to the finished work of Christ on the cross. The Supper, in particular, underscores this finished work as the fulfillment of the words and works of God in redemptive history leading up to the cross. It also points forward to the certain hope of the glorious return of Christ at the end of the age. It reminds God’s people of the certainty of this hope—that the great, promised messianic banquet awaits us. If God was faithful to bring his promised Son into the world the first time to live, die, and rise again for our salvation, we can surely trust his promise that Jesus will return at the end of the age to consummate the application of his saving work in our lives.

source.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

80.
Q. What difference is there between the Lord’s Supper and the papal Mass?
A. The Lord’s Supper testifies to us that we have compete forgiveness of all our sins through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which he himself has accomplished on the cross once for all; (and that through the Holy Spirit we are incorporated into Christ, who is now in heaven with his true body at the right hand of the Father and is there to be worshipped). But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have forgiveness of sins through the sufferings of Christ unless is again offered for them daily by the priest (and that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine and is therefore to be worshipped in them). Therefore the Mass is fundamentally a complete denial of the once for all sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ (and as such an idolatry to be condemned).

81.
Q. Who ought to come to the table of the Lord?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves for their sins, and who nevertheless trust that these sins have been forgiven them and that their remaining weakness is covered by the passion and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and improve their life. The impenitent and hypocrites, however, eat and drink judgment to themselves.

82.
Q. Should those who show themselves to be unbelievers and enemies of God by their confession and life be admitted to this Supper?
A. No, for then the covenant of God would be profaned and his wrath provoked against the whole congregation. According to the ordinance of Christ and his apostles, therefore, the Christian church is under obligation, by the office of the keys, to exclude such persons until they amend their lives.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 29

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 29

78.
Q. Do the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
A. No, for as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, nor becomes the washing away of sins by itself, but is only a divine sign and confirmation of it, so also in the Lord’s Supper the sacred bread does not become the body of Christ itself, although, in accordance with the nature and usage of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ.

79.
Q. Then why does Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood, or the New Covenant in his blood, and why does the apostle Paul call the Supper “a means of sharing” in the body and blood of Christ?
A. Christ does not speak in this way except for a strong reason. He wishes to teach us by it that as bread and wine sustain this temporal life so his crucified body and shed blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life. Even more, he wishes to assure us by this visible sign and pledge that we come to share in his true body and blood through the working of the Holy Spirit as surely as we receive with our mouth these holy tokens in remembrance of him, and that all his sufferings and his death are our own as certainly as if we had ourselves suffered and rendered satisfaction in our own persons.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

75.
Q. How are you reminded and assured in the Holy Supper that you participate in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in all his benefits?
A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup in remembrance of him. He has thereby promised that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood was shed for me, as surely as I see with my eyes that the bread of the Lord is broken for me, and that the cup is shared with me. Also, he has promised that he himself as certainly feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life with his crucified body and shed blood as I receive from the hand of the minister and actually taste the bread and the cup of the Lord which are given to me as sure signs of the body and blood of Christ.

76.
Q. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his shed blood?
A. It is not only to embrace with a trusting heart the whole passion and death of Christ, and by it to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. In addition, it is to be so united more and more to his blessed body by the Holy Spirit dwelling both in Christ and in us that blessed body by the Holy Spirit dwelling both in Christ and in us that, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, always living and being governed by one Spirit, as the members of our bodies are governed by one soul.

77.
Q. Where has Christ promised that he will feed and nourish believers with his body and blood just as surely as they eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup?
A. In the institution of the holy Supper which reads: The Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also the cup, after supper, saying, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
This promise is also repeated by the apostle Paul: When we bless “the cup of blessing,” is it not a means of sharing in the blood of Christ” When we break the bread, is it not a means of sharing the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, many as we are, are one body, for it is one loaf of which we all partake.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 27

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 27

72.
Q. Does merely the outward washing with water itself wash away?
A. No; for only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.

73.
Q. Then why does the Holy Spirit call baptism the water of rebirth and the washing away of sins?
A. God does not speak in this way except for a strong reason. Not only does he teach us by Baptism that just as the dirt of the body is taken away by water, so our sins are removed by the blood and Spirit of Christ; but more important still, by the divine pledge and sign he wishes to assure us that we are just as truly washed from our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water.

74.
Q. Are infants also to be baptized?
A. Yes, because they, as well as their parents, are included in the covenant and belong to the people of God. Since both redemption from sin through the blood of Christ and the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit are promised to these children no less than to their parents, infants are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Covenant by circumcision. In the New Covenant baptism has been instituted to take its place.