In a previous article we wrote of the fact that the difference between the two sacraments lies in the fact that baptism pictures our entrance into the covenant of God, while the Lord’s Supper pictures our life in that covenant once we have entered. The two together, therefore, picture the whole of our salvation and show that it is by grace alone.
The wonderful testimony of the two sacraments is that Christ and His sacrifice are everything! Baptism says that we enter the covenant by the death of Christ, pictured in the water of baptism, while the Lord’s Supper tells us that once we are in the covenant, the same death of Christ, pictured in the bread and wine, are our life, nourishment, help and strength. It is Christ alone and His sacrifice!
The Lord’s Supper, however, is unique in that it shows us what it means to live in the covenant of God. It pictures us sitting down at the table of the Lord as members of His family, and speaks of how God, our Father, cares for us there and provides for all our needs. Indeed, the Lord’s Supper, as we shall see, does not just picture these things but is a way in which we enjoy that fellowship and that care.
The symbolism of the Lord’s Supper has a number of different elements, all of them emphasizing God’s fellowship and provision. (1) There is the table itself. This element is sufficiently important that the sacrament is even called the Lord’s table (I Cor. 10:21). That table symbolizes to us our place in the family of God and the fact that as members of His family He loves us, cares for us, and shows His love by providing for our needs. (2) Then there are the bread and wine. Broken and poured out, they symbolize the broken body and shed blood of Christ as our daily spiritual food and drink, our nourishment and refreshment, the means by which our spiritual life is fed, supported, grows and develops and is preserved unto eternal life. Let us take note of that. The sacrifice of Christ is not only payment for our sins and the way in which we are restored to God’s favor and fellowship, but is also our daily strength and nourishment and help until we leave this life and enter our eternal home. He is everything. (3) One more important element of the Lord’s Supper is the eating and drinking. This pictures our faith and shows us the importance and necessity of faith. Nor more than food and drink are of any benefit without eating and drinking, are the body and blood of Christ of any benefit to us without faith. There is not, as Roman Catholicism teaches, any automatic blessing in eating and drinking the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.
One of the Reformed creeds calls faith the hand and mouth of the soul (Belgic Confession, Art. 35). Thus the eating and drinking in the Lord’s Supper remind us that just as by taking and eating our daily bread and so receiving it into our bodies, so by faith we really do receive Christ, who dwells in us and is our strength and life (Gal. 2:20).
What a beautiful picture! What a sin to neglect it!
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 15
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA