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The Heidelberg Catechism (29) (Explained for Children)

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The Heidelberg Catechism (29) (Explained for Children)

6 minuten leestijd

Question 78: Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?

Answer: Not at all; but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; so the bread in the Lord’s Supper is not changed into the very body of Christ, though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ Jesus.

The question is asked whether, when the Holy Supper is administered, each piece of bread really changes into the body of Christ. And does the wine in the cup change into the blood of Christ? The answer tells us, no, that does not happen. Each piece of bread remains ordinary bread, and the wine in the cup remains ordinary wine.

At baptism the water does not change into the blood of Christ, for the water remains ordinary water. The water does not wash away sins, but it is the sign from God that sins are washed away by the blood of Christ. We will recall that this was said in Lord’s Day 27.

Likewise the bread in the Holy Supper is not changed into the body of Christ, and the wine is not changed into His blood. Roman Catholics say that this does happen; that is, they say that the bread and the wine are really the body and blood of Christ. However, that is not true. In the following Lord’s Day we will hear more about this subject.

Question 79: Why then doth Christ call the bread His body, and the cup His blood, or the new covenant in His blood; and Paul, the “communion of the body and blood of Christ”?

Answer: Christ speaks thus not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so His crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us that we are as really partakers of His true body and blood (by the operation of the Holy Ghost) as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of Him; and that all His sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.

When the Lord Jesus Himself calls the bread His body and the cup His blood, why does He do this? It is true that the Lord said this. When He instituted the Holy Supper, He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.” When He took the cup, He said, “Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

The Lord did not mean that the bread was His body. He had also once said, “I am the door.” Of course, Jesus is not really a door, but He meant something by it. Just as you can enter a house only through the door, likewise it is only through the Lord Jesus that one can be with the Lord in heaven. That is what the Lord meant when He said, “I am the door.”

What then did the Lord mean when He said, “This is My body”? He wants to teach us something by this. You know that all of us need bread in order to live. We call the food which nourishes us “bread.” We also cannot live without water, for then we would die of thirst. But how are the souls of God’s children fed? There is new life in their souls. That life is nourished by the crucified body of Christ, which is therefore food for the soul. What is their drink? It is the blood of Christ. Just as we need food and drink in order to live, likewise the souls of God’s children can live only because Christ sacrificed His body on the cross and poured out His blood. By doing so Christ has merited that His children may have eternal life by believing in Him.

However, when the Lord said, “This is My body,” He meant something more. He wanted to assure His people by the bread and wine that, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, they are partakers of His body and blood. This is as certain as that they receive the bread and wine to eat and to drink. They may then be assured that Jesus has suffered for them. It is as if they themselves have suffered and as if they have made satisfaction for their sins to God.

The Lord Jesus was obedient to His Father. This obedience of Christ is applied to the account of God’s children, as if they themselves have always been obedient. Do you then understand that the Lord Jesus is truly a surety for His people? Everything necessary for them to be reconciled with God and to be saved has been done by Him.

We eat and drink every day, for our bodies need this. We must not think only about our bodies, however. We must not forget our souls. You now know what our souls need in order to be partakers of what the Lord Jesus has merited by His suffering and death. All of us need this Surety and Savior.

When the Holy Supper is administered, the Lord says to us, “Everything you need to be saved is to be found in Me!” He is showing this to us.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 maart 2006

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

The Heidelberg Catechism (29) (Explained for Children)

Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 maart 2006

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

PDF Bekijken