Monday, November 19, 2007

to declare and seal

or... What is the purpose of the Lord's supper?

Answer (from my paraphrased Heidelberg Catechism): The Lord's Supper is a "...holy visible sign and seal, appointed by God for this purpose: so that he may more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz., that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross.

Question 67. Does it direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the only ground of our salvation?

Answer: You bet!: for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the whole of our salvation depends upon that one sacrifice of Christ which he offered for us on the cross.

Question 75. How are you admonished and assured in the Lord's Supper, that you are a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?

Answer: Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.

So, based on this, the next time you receive the Lord's Supper, receive it with a thankful and reverent heart. A heart that is receiving an "edible gospel sermon". The promise of the new covenant is signified and sealed to me! The cross was for me, and I, because I am united with Christ's body, consume him, by faith. He is my "manna" in the wilderness between my redemption (Exodus), and my glorification (the promised land).

Friday, November 16, 2007

rick warren's denial of faith alone?

Here's an interesting video montage. I understand these kinds of things can be misleading, especially if the quotes are taken out of context. The first part - where Rick is talking about faith and love - might be OK, if Rick is talking about a "said" faith vs. a "real" faith. The sort of explanation you'd get if you contrasted what James and Paul say about faith alone. Absolutely, a true believer will exhibit faith AND love; he can't help it!

Having said that, the phrase Rick uses that bothers me is " takes more than belief; it takes more than faith to really please God". God says without faith it is impossible to please him - not faith AND love.

Now, for the rest of the video... what Rick proceeds to do is lay his congregation under the heavy, demanding weight of the law. I used to sit under this type of preacing. The gospel was rarely if ever, explained as simply the good news that I'm forgiven in Christ solely on the grounds of Christ's sacrifice, and that I receive this solely by faith alone. I endured (as do Warren's flock) alot of what Rod Rosenbladt calls "golawspel" - gospel mixed with law. Pastors have to be VERY careful they don't confuse these two. The result is a congregation which feels they must DO DO DO to please God, and that his sacrifice wasn't quite enough. The other unfortunate result, is that the sheep get burned out. If it's always about me and what I do, then the savior, who cried out "It is finished" gets forgotten. "You have lost your first love" says Christ to one of the churches in Revelation.

good theology = peace of mind

Good theology gives us something we can't get from everyday life - peace of mind. Jesus said:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

It's a peace in knowing that God is all-satisfying. He fulfills my greatest desires. He fulfills my greatest need, namely, reconciliation with the Father. My sin doesn't keep me at a distance from him. Think about it. There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

The 3 most comforting words my guilt-ridden soul can hear are:

"It is finished."

Those 3 words are full of meaning. But basically, God, in Christ Jesus has fulfilled all the righteous requirements for me, and absorbed the Father's wrath for me. Wow. Let that sink in - and be at peace.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007