Read: Hebrews 9:22 - 28
I am going to consider question and answer 80 of the Heidelberg catechism with Lord’s Day 29. This question and answer was added later to the catechism to distinguish the serious errors of the church of Rome from true understanding of the Lord’s Supper. We have in an earlier meditation already made mention of this. In the sovereign providence of the Lord, when the church must defend the truth of God’s word against error, she often enriches her understanding of the positive truth of God’s word at the same time. Question and answer 80 of the Heidelberg Catechism summarizes the serious errors of the church of Rome with regards to her doctrine on the Lord’s Supper. Be sure to read this question and answer before you continue with this meditation.
The most serious error of the church of Rome is her belief that in the mass, the priest must offer Christ again under the elements of the transubstantiated bread and wine. The communion table in the church of Rome has been changed to an altar. This re-offering of Christ under the elements of the bread and wine is being performed daily in the church of Rome by the Roman Catholic priest in the ceremonies of the mass when he places the bread and wine on the ‘alter.’ Further, it is maintained that the sacrifice of Christ will not benefit those who come to the mass unless it is offered again by a human priest in the mass. The church of Rome pronounces a curse on all those who do not agree with this false teaching.
The Reformed Church considers this to be a very serious error. It maintains that this re-offering of Christ by the priest is a denial of the once and for all perfect sacrifice on the cross. What an affront that is to our Lord!
In the Reformed Church, the Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the once and for all perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross. This sacrifice was made by the Lord Jesus Himself, who is God’s own Son. This sacrifice involved the sacrifice of His own blessed body. It was perfect and therefore never again needed to be repeated. How can a repeated offering by a mere human priest who is a sinner just like all of us are, add anything to the perfect sacrifice of Christ Himself?
The sacrifice of Jesus was absolutely perfect. It was infinitely precious in the sight of God. It made atonement for all the sins of all of God’s people. It merited perfect and everlasting righteousness for all of the elect of God. It obtained for all those who belong to Christ and believe in Him all the blessings of salvation and the hope of life eternal.
In Heb 9:12 we read “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” In verse 28 of the same chapter we read, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
We look for no repetition of this offering. To repeat this offering is implying that the sacrifice of Christ was not perfect, there is a need for another offering.
As Reformed believers, we say with the inspired apostle Paul, “…God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ…” Gal 6:14
Rev. Arie denHartog (Wife: Sherry)
Ordained: October 1974
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1974; Foreign Missionary, Singapore - 1979; Randolph, WI - 1987; Redlands, CA - 1990; Minister-on-Loan, Singapore - 2001; Southwest, Grandville, MI - 2005Website: www.southwestprc.org/
Address4895 Ivanrest Ave. SW
State or ProvinceMichigan
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