The Sacrament of the Altar- December 30
The Sacrament of the Altar
This Week’s Focus
What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?
Answer: That is shown us in these words, “Given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This means that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Answer: It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words, which are given here, “Given … and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” These words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, the chief thing in the Sacrament. The person who believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?
Answer: Fasting and bodily preparation are, indeed, fine outward training. But a person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, “Given … and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit. For the words “for you” require hearts that truly believe.
Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:17-29; Revelation 19:6-9
“So we have, in a brief way, covered the first point that deals with this Sacrament’s essence. Now examine further the effectiveness and benefits that really caused the Sacrament to be instituted. This is its most necessary part, so that we may know what we should seek and gain there. This is plain and clear from the words just mentioned, “This is My body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Briefly, that is like saying, “For this reason we go to the Sacrament: there we receive such a treasure by and in which we gain forgiveness of sins.” “Why so?” “Because the words stand here and give us this. Therefore, Christ asks me to eat and drink, so that this treasure may be my own and may benefit me as a sure pledge and token. In fact, it is the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every disaster.” Martin Luther; The Large Catechism: The Sacrament of the Altar.
· We confess that God grants us forgiveness in the Sacrament.
· We confess that with forgiveness comes the blessings of life and salvation.
· We confess that we partake of these blessings solely by God’s grace.
· We confess that the power of the Sacrament to do these things is solely in God grace, not in our acts of eating or drinking.
· We confess that the blessings of the Sacrament are received by faith.
· We confess that faith in Christ, and His words, makes us worthy to receive the Sacrament.
· We confess that the Sacrament should not be given to the ungodly, unrepentant, unforgiving, those not confessing the truth concerning the Sacrament, and those unable to examine themselves.
· We deny any teaching that robs the Sacrament of its blessings.
· We deny that the Sacrament is basically or primarily an act of obedience.
· We deny that the Sacrament should be given to those whose private confession contradicts their public confession.
1. What are the blessings of the Sacrament and why do we believe in them?
2. How ought we examine ourselves before the Sacrament, and why?
3. Why, and how, should we practice closed communion?
4. What should our attitude be about the reception of the Sacrament, and why?
When my soul with guilt is rent You tell me with the grace You’ve sent within Your holy Sacrament; I remember you. Amen.