Monday, July 16, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Sacraments by Kim Riddlebarger

From the Westminster Seminary Blog

Although any discussion of the role of the sacraments in the Christian life seems too “catholic” for many evangelical Christians, the sacraments do play a very important role throughout the New Testament. Summarizing the teaching of Scripture on this topic, the Heidelberg Catechism (Q 65) defines the two New Testament sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as “holy signs and seals for us to see. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and might put his seal on that promise.” And what is the promise of the gospel? “To forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ’s one sacrifice finished on the cross.”

The sacraments are visible signs and seals of God’s invisible grace promised to his people in the gospel (Romans 4:9-12). Because we are weak and struggling sinners, these sacraments are given to us by God to confirm that faith already given us through the preaching of the gospel (cf. Romans 6:3-4;1 Corinthians 11:23-26). This is why the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments are intimately connected.

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