July 24 – LD 30, Day 2: For Whom Was the Lord’s Supper Instituted?
Saturday the 24th of July
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Read: I John 1
The question posed above is beautifully answered by the Heidelberg Catechism. Be sure to read Lord’s Day 30 again if you have not already done so. Before anyone comes to the Lord’s Supper, they should carefully examine themselves. This requirement is spoken of in the passages you were asked to read yesterday from I Cor 11.
The Lord’s Supper was instituted for those who are truly sorrowful over their sins. This sacrament is not for those who imagine that they are righteous in themselves. We do not come to this sacrament to boast that we are without sin. If we indeed were without sin, there would be no need for us to come to the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper presents to us the amazing sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf to atone for our sins. The whole reason for all the shame, agony and suffering of Jesus on the cross was the greatness of our sins, your sins and my sins. We certainly cannot have proper regard for the Lord’s Supper if we are not conscious of the seriousness of our own sins. The Lord’s Supper was instituted for those who sincerely and heartily repent of their sins.
We do not come to the Lord’s Supper to testify that we have arrived at some high spiritual state of holiness above the other members of the church. Every true child of God will confess concerning himself that he is still a great sinner. John says in I John 1 that if we say that we have no sin, we lie, and the truth is not in us.
We must know our own sins and the seriousness of these sins against God. The seriousness of our sin is not merely that we have done evil against our fellow men or because we are in trouble and distress in our lives as a result of our sin. Our sins are so very serious because they were committed against the most high majesty of God. When David confessed the grievous sins of his adultery with Bathsheba and his murdering of Uriah, he confessed before God in deep sorrow of heart, “Against thee, only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
To be sorry for our sins, we must understand that our sins are very many, and they have grievously offended the holy majesty of God. In order to understand the reality of this, we need to remember that according to the Word of God, our sins are not merely a matter of the words we have spoken and the evil deeds we have done. Our sins involve the secret thoughts, desires, and purposes of our hearts as well. God knows all of these. He judges our heart. He requires perfection in our inward being as well as in our outward walk.
Every unclean thought, every inclination to pride and self-centeredness, every impulse of anger and hatred against God and the neighbor, is sin. The worldliness of our purposes, the adultery of our hearts, the hatred we might harbor against our brother even for a moment, even all these are known to God and they are sinful.
Even weakness of faith, doubt and anxiety, is sin. We are sinful Christians because we are not really devoted to God with our whole heart. The Heidelberg Catechism speaks of the fact that even the most holy man in this life has but a small beginning of this new obedience. Our shortcomings and our failures are part of the reality of our sins before God. When we come to the Lord’s Supper, we must be truly sorry for all of these. We must examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word, the absolutely perfect standard for Christian living.