July 27, 2007 § Leave a comment
Of the Sacraments
As the fathers under the law (besides the verity of the sacrifices) had two chief sacraments to wit, circumcision and the Passover, the despisers and contemners whereof were not reputed for God’s people so do we acknowledge and confess that we now, in the time of the evangel, have two sacraments only, instituted by the Lord Jesus, and commanded to be used of all those that will be reputed members of his body: to wit, baptism and the supper, or table of the Lord Jesus, called the communion of his body and blood. And these sacraments (as well of the Old as of the New Testament) were instituted of God, not only to make a visible difference betwixt his people, and those that were without his league; but also to exercise the faith of his children and, by participation of the same sacraments, to seal in their hearts the assurance of his promise, and of that most blessed conjunction, union, and society, which the elect have with their head, Christ Jesus.
And thus we utterly damn the vanity of those that affirm sacraments to be nothing else but naked and bare signs. No, we assuredly believe that by baptism we are engrafted in Christ Jesus, to be made partakers of his justice, by the which our sins are covered and remitted; and also, that in the supper, rightly used, Christ Jesus is so joined with us, that he becomes the very nourishment and food of our souls. Not that we imagine any transubstantiation of bread into Christ’s natural body, and of wine in his natural blood (as the Papists have perniciously taught and damnably believed); but this union and conjunction which we have with the body and blood of Christ Jesus, in the right use of the sacraments, is wrought by operation of the Holy Ghost, who by true faith carries us above all things that are visible, carnal, and earthly, and makes us to feed upon the body and blood of Christ Jesus, which was once broken and shed for us, which now is in heaven, and appears in the presence of his Father for us. And yet, notwithstanding the far distance of place which is betwixt his body now glorified in the heaven, and us now mortal in this earth, yet we most assuredly believe that the bread that we break is the communion of Christ’s body, and the cup which we bless is the communion of his blood. So that we confess, and undoubtedly believe, that the faithful, in the right use of the Lord’s table, do so eat the body and drink the blood of the Lord Jesus, that he remains in them and they in him: yea, that they are so made flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones, that as the Eternal Godhead has given to the flesh of Christ Jesus (which of its own condition and nature was mortal and corruptible) life and immortality, so does Christ Jesus’ flesh and blood eaten and drunken by us, give to us the same prerogatives. Which, albeit we confess are neither given unto us at that only time, neither yet by the proper power and virtue of the sacrament only; yet we affirm that the faithful, in the right use of the Lord’s table, have such conjunction with Christ Jesus, as the natural man cannot apprehend.
Yea, and further we affirm, that albeit the faithful, oppressed by negligence, and manly infirmity, do not profit so much as they would in the very instant action of the supper, yet shall it after bring fruit forth, as lively seed sown in good ground. For the Holy Spirit (which can never be divided from the right institution of the Lord Jesus) will not frustrate the faithful of the fruit of that mystical action; but all this, we say, comes by true faith, which apprehends Christ Jesus, who only makes this sacrament effectual unto us. And, therefore, whosoever slanders us, as that we affirm or believe sacraments to be only naked and bare signs, do injury unto us, and speak against the manifest truth.
But this liberally and frankly we must confess, that we make a distinction betwixt Christ Jesus, in his natural substance, and betwixt the elements in the sacramental signs; so that we will neither worship the signs in place of that which is signified by them; neither yet do we despise and interpret them as unprofitable and vain; but do use them with all reverence, examining ourselves diligently before that so we do, because we are assured by the mouth of the apostle, That such as eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, unworthily, are guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord Jesus.
1. Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 23:3,etc.; Gen. 17:14; Num. 9:13.
2. Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
3. 1 Cor. 10:16; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27.
4. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:11; 3:21.
5. 1 Cor. 10:16.
6. Eph. 5:30.
7. Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30.
8. John 6:51; 6:53-58.
9. 1 Cor. 11:27-29.
I just love the language of the early Reformers. I pray we as a church will recover some of this most biblical and beautiful language.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West
July 24, 2007 § Leave a comment
The Apostle Paul was constantly aware of his unworthiness of God’s grace. If the doctrines of grace teach us nothing else they should teach us our absolute unworthiness of God’s present and abiding grace and mercy. We all should echo Paul in this text and confess our sin and unworthiness of Christ. From this ever present knowledge Paul had the greatest motivation to bring this gospel of grace to his fallen neighbors that they too may be saved. He knew that for this very reason he was given this saving grace. May we never forget this. May the Holy Spirit continually remind us of this. The Christ who came into the world to save sinners, is the Christ we must be fervently motivated to offer to this world of sinners, beseeching them to be reconciled to God, so that they may know His forgive even as we. Notice Paul says that Christ shows PERFECT PATIENCE towards him the foremost of sinners. When I am thinking clearly and I am beholding Christ, in whom I have found such mercy, I identify completely with Paul here and understand the significance of this grace. May we continually remember this unfathomable truth.
1 Timothy 1:13-16, “Though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”
Let us pray a prayer back to God from this passage:
Father, you who have loved us and sent your own Son into this world, grant unto us the grace to be ever conscience of our sinfulness and unworthiness of this love we have in Christ. Cause us, Father, to make it the passion of our lives to be instruments through which you offer this love to sinful humanity as you display your perfect patience in and toward us as an example to all who see our lives. may we never bring reproach and shame to you, Oh merciful Father, by failing to imitate you in showing mercy and grace to others with whom we interact with. And when we fail to do so, I pray you forgive us this grave sin. I pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West
July 21, 2007 § Leave a comment
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
July 20, 2007 § Leave a comment
I am a most unworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I have made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence. No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. The working out of all things has been assigned to each person by our Lord, but all happens according to His sovereign will, even though He gives advice. He lacks nothing that is in the power of God to give men. O what a gracious Lord, who desires that people should perform for Him those things for which He holds Himself responsible! Day and night, moment by moment, everyone should express to Him their most devoted gratitude.
Christopher Columbus (A.D. 1451-1506) – Book of Prophecies
July 18, 2007 § Leave a comment
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Clement of Rome (A.D. 30 – 100) – First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 32
July 17, 2007 § Leave a comment
Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.
Clement of Rome (A.D. 30 – 100) – First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 7
July 16, 2007 § Leave a comment
Grant, Almighty God, since we have already entered in hope upon the threshold of our eternal inheritance and know that there is a mansion for us in heaven since Christ our head, and the firstfruits of our salvation, has been received there; grant that we may proceed more and more in the way of your holy calling until at length we reach the goal and so enjoy the eternal glory of which you have given us a taste in this world by the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564)