1999-06-22 - S1: Sacraments
The Holy Alphabet Series
Genesis 17:7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
"A Sacrament is a holy Ordinance instituted by Christ wherein by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new Covenant are represented, sealed, and applied to believers, Genesis 17:7,10, Exodus 12:1, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26." --Robert Port
As a Protestant I recognize two Sacraments, the Lord's Supper and Baptism. But Port does not number the Sacraments here and neither will I. Whether you hold to two Sacraments or two hundred and two, Ports words are just as true.
However, Port gives some conditions for what we would call a Sacrament and they should help inform our understanding.
If nothing else we have a standard for measuring what is and what is not a Sacrament. The issue is not whether we agree with Port or not, but what the Scripture teaches. But, regardless, His outline is simple and helpful and can be used as a starting point in our understanding of this important area of our faith.
I say this is an important area of our faith because it is one of the few corporate visible and sensible signs of our union with Christ. The Sacraments are administered corporately and they are represented in elements that can be tasted, felt, and seen. They, in effect, bring us back through these senses to what those who first experienced perceived when they tasted, felt, and saw the institution of each Sacrament by Christ.
Both the Sacraments mentioned above, the Lord's Supper and Baptism, represent in tangible ways the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Lord's Supper we remember the death of His physical Body and the shedding of His blood, and in Baptism, we remember His physical death and resurrection and the washing away of sin that is through Him.
These events are deeply personal to us and they make the experience of the Sacraments precious and blessed times of renewal and remembrance. While the Sacraments are helpful in remembering, we can always remember and reflect upon how great a salvation we have found in Christ. We all know from where we have come and from what we have been saved, even in this life.
The grace of God to us is unfathomable. Why would He show His love to us? Us, who have rebelled and profaned His name and the faith we follow all too often. But just so wonderful is His grace and mercy. He loves us, and showers us with His grace because of that love and not because of who we are or how we do or don't behave. May we understand and appreciate that love all the more today!
Soli Deo Gratia,
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