Sacraments and Grace
HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 25
It is by faith alone that we share in Christ and all his blessings: where then does that faith come from?
The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts by the preaching of the holy gospel, and confirms it through our use of the holy sacraments.
What are sacraments?
Sacraments are 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 this is God’s gospel promise: to forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ’s sacrifice finished on the cross.
Are both the word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?
Right! In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us and through the holy sacraments he assures us that our entire salvation rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us on the cross.
How many sacraments did Christ institute in the New Testament?
Two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Sacraments and Grace
Saturday, June 17: Psalm 103
The Sacraments are about God’s generous grace. They seek to point us toward that great gospel message, to open our eyes to the love Christ has lavished upon us, to remind us who we are and whose we are. This is why our Reformed liturgy ends the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with a beautiful prayer. As we continue to study and celebrate the Sacraments, I hope you will make this prayer your own.
O merciful God and Father, we thank you with all our hearts that in your boundless grace you have given us your only begotten Son as a mediator and a sacrifice for our sins and as our food and drink unto eternal life. We thank you too for giving us the true faith through which we can partake of your benefits. And since your Son Jesus Christ ordained the holy supper to strengthen our faith, we pray that through your Holy Spirit, this supper may increase our faith and enrich our fellowship with Christ. May you also use this proclamation of our Lord’s death and resurrection to bring others into this blessed fellowship, so that all your children may be gathered in to share with us the joy of your salvation. Hear us, Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Chaplain Sarah Hoogendoorn