Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper
What is the Lord’s Supper? Are we obliged to observe it? What does it signify? What is the Roman Catholic view? What is the Reformed view? Why should the Roman Catholic view of Transubstantiation be rejected? Doesn’t Christ saying ‘this is my body’ mean that the bread and wine are Christ’s literal body and blood? How is the Lord’s Supper a means of grace? Who may partake of the Lord’s Supper?
This is, I believe, the most anti-Roman Catholic chapter in the Confession. This chapter provides a positive presentation of the Reformed view on the Lord’s Supper and rejects the repugnant doctrine of Transubstantiation. It is important for us to understand the different views on the Lord’s Supper. The most important of those different views is the Roman Catholic view of Transubstantiation. In this case, I will try to let Roman Catholics themselves explain to us their doctrine and then provide a biblical case of what the Lord’s Supper is and what it is not.
§1 The Supper Of The Lord Jesus
- The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, 1 to be observed in his churches, 2 unto the end of the world, 3 for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, 4 confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, 5 their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, 6 their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; 7 and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. 8
- 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23
- Acts 2:41-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34
- Mark 14:24-25; Luke 22:17-22; 1 Cor. 11:24-26
- 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Matt. 26:27-28; Luke 22:19-20
- Rom. 4:11
- John 6:29, 35, 47-58
- 1 Cor. 11:25
- 1 Cor. 10:16-17
The supper of the Lord is a “positive and sovereign institution” (chapter 28:1) by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He commanded it to be observed in His churches, unto the end of the world (1 Cor. 11:26). Why did He command it to be observed? ...for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death (1 Cor. 11:24-26). The Lord Supper signifies and shows forth the Lord’s suffering on our behalf, His body being broken for us and His blood being shed for our forgiveness. It is also given for the confirmation of the faith of believers to remind them of the sacrifice of Christ which is their only ground of hope and peace with God. It is for their spiritual nourishment, and growth in Him because the Lord comes very close to us as we partake of His supper and sit at His table. It reminds us also of all the duties which we owe to Him thanks to His sacrifice on our behalf. But it is also a bond and pledge of our communion with Him, and with each other. Since we are all in union with Christ and as we partake of His blood and body, we also partake and are united with each other as believers. Christ unites all believers together and this is also signified by the Lord’s Supper and it is a pledge of it (i.e., a solemn promise or undertaking to keep this communion).
Institution And Command Of Observation
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance that is directly commanded by Christ. It’s not a deduction from multiple passages, but a direct and positive command of the Sovereign Christ. It is meant to cause us to look back to the perfect sacrifice of Christ of Himself by Himself for the perfection of all...