Reformed Catechism Week 47 Resources

Week 47 Question:

Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Week 47 Answer:

No, Christ died once for all.The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Week 47 Verse:

1 Peter 3:18

Commentary

Let us settle it firmly in our minds that the Lord's Supper was not given to be a means either of justification or of conversion. It was never meant to give grace where there is no grace already, or to provide pardon when pardon is not already enjoyed. It cannot possibly provide what is lacking with the absence of repentance to God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ordinance for the penitent, not for the impenitent,—for the believing, not for the unbelieving,—for the converted, not for the unconverted. The unconverted man, who fancies that be can find a shortcut road to heaven by taking the Sacrament, without treading the well-worn steps of repentance and faith, will find to his cost one day that he is totally deceived. The Lord's Supper was meant to increase and help the grace that a man has, but not to impart the grace that he has not. It was certainly never intended to make our peace with God, to justify, or to convert. The simplest statement of the benefit which a truehearted communicant may expect to receive from the Lord's Supper…is the strengthening and refreshing of our souls. Clearer views of Christ and His atonement, clearer views of all the offices which Christ fills as our Mediator and Advocate, clearer views of the complete redemption Christ has obtained for us by His vicarious death on the cross, clearer views of our full and perfect acceptance in Christ before God, fresh reasons for deep repentance for sin, fresh reasons for lively faith, fresh reasons for living a holy, consecrated, Christ-like life,—these are among the leading returns which a believer may confidently expect to get from his attendance at the Lord’s Table. He that eats the bread and drinks the wine in a right spirit will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better…. In eating that bread and drinking that cup, such a man will have his repentance deepened, his faith increased, his knowledge enlarged, his habit of holy living strengthened. He will realise more of the "real presence" of Christ in his heart. Eating that bread by faith, he will feel closer communion with the body of Christ. Drinking that wine by faith, he will feel closer communion with the blood of Christ. He will see more clearly what Christ is to him, and what he is to Christ. He will understand more thoroughly what it is to be "one with Christ, and Christ one with him." He will feel the roots of his soul's spiritual life watered, and the work of grace in his heart established, built up, and carried forward. All these things may seem and sound like foolishness to a natural man, but to a true Christian these things are light, and health, and life, and peace.

John Charles Ryle (1816–1900). The first Anglican bishop of Liverpool, Ryle’s appointment was at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. As well as being a writer and pastor, Ryle was an athlete who rowed and played cricket for Oxford University. He also was responsible for the building of over forty churches.

From “Thoughts on the Supper of the Lord” in Principles for Churchmen(London: William Hunt, 1884), 267 – 270.

Video Commentary

NCC Q47: Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

 

Prayer

O thou gracious and ever-blessed God, "who hast formed us for thyself," and hast moreover redeemed us by the blood of thine only dear Son, thine we are by every tie. We are conscious that "we are not our own; and that, having been bought with a price, we are bound to glorify thee with our bodies and our spirits, which are thine." We desire then now to consecrate ourselves to thee; and engage, as in thine immediate presence, "no longer to live unto ourselves, but unto Him that died for us and rose again." May we never forget this vow, or act for a moment inconsistent with it! We avouch thee this day to be our God; and we give up ourselves to thee as thy people: and we desire, that "thou wouldest sanctify us wholly; and that our whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Charles Simeon (1759–1836). Rector of Trinity Church, Cambridge for 49 years, Simeon was offered the leadership of the church as he was preparing to graduate from the University. At first, the congregants showed their displeasure at his preaching by frequent interruptions and by locking the small doors of their pews so that no one could sit down. Simeon is best known for his 21 volume Horae Homilecticae—a collection of expanded sermon outlines from all 66 books of the Bible (from which this prayer is taken).

From “Asa’s Covenant with God” in Horae Homilecticae: or Discourses (Principally in the Form of Skeletons) and Forming a Commentary upon Every Book of the Old and New Testament, Volume IV (London: Holdsworth & Ball, 1832), 111.