Bad Doctrine: The Law as a Rule of Life

 
[box] Dear Reader, Before you read on please understand it is not the authors intent to sound mean spirited or unloving to our brothers and sisters in Christ who may not fully agree with what is posited in this article. We know very well that some of the most learned and courageous saints have differed on this subject and continue to do so. It is not for us to question their love for God and His Christ.[/box]

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We deny the employment of Old Covenant Law
as the saint’s “Rule of Life”

 
end of the lawGiven the clear teaching of Scripture itself we contend that if a person advocates for the continuing use of all, or even just some elements of the Old Covenant Law beyond that of prophetic witness, his or her worship according to spirit and truth could be seriously flawed.
Please consider carefully the following:
Fact: The former commandment (the Law covenant) was woven together with the Levitical system of worship.
There’s no getting around this fact. The Law of Moses, the Old Covenant and its system of worship, is woven together as one unit. You cannot divorce that Law from the Levitical priesthood and the worship it ministered.
Some of the Reformed greatly erred when they assumed they could divide the Law of Moses into three parts. There is no biblical warrant to do so. In fact, to attempt to do so demonstrates a failure to hear all Scripture. Wrongly dividing the Word of God can have tragic consequences with regards to a right understanding of worship in the New Covenant era.
 

Serious implications to consider:

Implication 1: That former commandment with its Levitical priesthood was forever replaced with the giving of a better hope. Jesus Christ, an immeasurably superior priest, is that better hope.

Hebrews 7:18. “For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect) ; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.”

Implication 2: The Old Covenant Law and its Levitical priests were woven together as one unit. You cannot divide them.

Hebrews 7:11-14. “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.” 

Implication 3: If you subscribe to the Law of Moses as your rule of life then you must subscribe to all of Moses’ Law including its regulations for worship. You cannot extract for convenience sake the Levitical priesthood. Picking and choosing what aspects of Moses’ of Law you wish to conform to is not an option.

James 2:10. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

Implication 4: To embrace the previous law covenant as a rule of life (all or in part) is to embrace its curses if it is not kept 100%.

James 2:10. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

Deuteronomy 28:15ff. “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”

Fact: The Old Covenant with its Levitical priests cannot be divorced from the Law that was engraved upon the tablets of stone, even the Ten Commandments. Messiah Jesus is not a priest of the Law covenant.

Exodus 34:27-28. “And Jehovah said unto Moses, ‘Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.’ 28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

Hebrews 7:28. “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

Fact: True worship in this age is worship in spirit and truth. It was instituted by Messiah Jesus with the giving of the Holy Spirit. It is radically different from the Law’s defined worship. The indwelling Spirit of God has made possible this new era of worship. With the giving of the Spirit, the day of which Jesus foretold in John 4 did arrive. Thus, worship, true worship, is no longer bound to the Old Covenant with its Levitical priests and law.
Proofs:

John 4:23-24. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Mark 1:7-8. “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John 7:37-39. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

John 20:19-23. “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'”

Fact: This radical new era of worship in the Spirit was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:31-34. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Fact: God saint’s were released from the law so they now serve in the new way.

Romans 7:1-6. “Or do you not know, brothers —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Implication 5: The Spirit of God through Paul clearly warns, that to embrace the previous law covenant as a rule of life (all or in part), is to sever oneself from Christ and make Him of no benefit.

Galatians 5:3-5. “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The apostle says, in effect, submission to part of the Law obligates submission to the whole. Furthermore, he makes it abundantly clear that, in the time between justification and the consummation of “the hope of righteousness,” the same remains true. In sanctification, submission to part of Law obligates subjection to the whole. Therefore, we see the so-called ‘third use of the law’ to be diametrically opposed to Pauline thought.
Last implication: To subscribe to the former covenant, in whole or in part, is treason.

Galatians 3:1-6. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”

Let’s reason together.

If you subscribe to the Law of Moses as a rule of life, then by necessity you must keep the whole law with its Levitical priesthood and its worship. It’s illogical to attempt to do otherwise. Could you imagine becoming a member of the church of Rome without agreeing to their mediating priesthood? The one goes hand in hand with the other. Without their priests the church of Rome would cease to exist. When you hear someone say the Law of Moses is their “rule of life” consider the following words of the writer to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.

It is clear. Sinai’s law is the wrong law mediated by the wrong priests! My friend, how can one who subscribes to any aspect of Moses’ Law (other than as prophetic witness) along with its Levitical priests and system of worship profess to be worshipping according to truth? It’s impossible!
Thankfully, the Old Covenant law as a whole has been done away with along with its Levitical priesthood. Why then continue to subscribe to a rule of life that no longer exists?
Paul described such as “the old way of the written code.” He also clearly defined how God’s saints presently “serve in the new way of the Spirit.” To subscribe to the Letter is to be wedded to a corpse. My dear friend repent of such folly (it is gross sin!) and call upon the Lord Jesus to liberate you from the law (letter) so that you may worship in the new way of the Spirit, just as Jesus foretold in John 4 and fulfilled in John 20.

Hebrews 7:18-22

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever. ’”

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

Peace.
   Your editors.
Please Note: The views of the editors are their own and not necessarily the views of our contributors.

2 Corinthians 8:9

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The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

2 Corinthians 8:8-11 ESV

8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

 
Introduction 
In this second part of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he is encouraging them to renew their giving for the good of others. To spur them on, Paul first set before them the example of the Macedonian churches. Last week we considered two of the ideas that ought to help the Corinthians become a body of believers characterized by overflowing giving. Paul taught that overflowing giving occurs through a way of life that is complete (8:7) and that such giving occurs through a way of life that is tested (8:8). Today, we want to look at the third idea—that overflowing giving comes from lives that are Christ-structured (8:9).
This is an important idea in the Scriptures and here at FBC. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the theme of the Bible and that our view of how the Scriptures are put together must be structured according to Christ. The same is true about our lives. We must be following Christ and seeing Christ and the gospel form our way of life. This idea shows up in our mission statement: “Our mission is to make fully committed followers of Christ.”
For this reason, when we think of giving, whether giving ourselves, our time, our talents, or our money, we ought to realize that our giving must be flowing from Christ and the gospel.
 
Exposition
I.          The link – what all believers know
A.        This knowledge is common to all who know the saving mercy of Jesus. It is “the knowledge that Christ himself gave voluntarily and sacrificially for the benefit of others and so is the supreme model to be followed in giving” (Harris).

1.         We know it in the knowledge of his word and in the experience of his grace. It comes by written revelation and the by the work of God in us that makes us experience the power of that word. For example, God’s word tells me that Christ loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20); God’s Spirit pours out that love into our hearts (Rm 5:5).

2.         We are expected to act on the basis of what we know about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the apostle’s point in referencing the truth about Jesus. It is to be forming something new in us—an overflowing kindness. In other words, this knowledge is not static but dynamic, not merely informational but also transformational. There is a lot of talk about “spiritual formation” these days, but how much of it flows from the living Christ and his powerful gospel? It is one thing to be involved in “spiritual disciplines”; it is another to be transformed by the Spirit of the Lord.

B.        This is especially knowledge of the grace of Christ.

1.         This grace is “the utterly undeserved, royally free, effective, unwearying, inexhaustible goodwill of God, active in and through Jesus Christ, God’s effective overflowing mercy” (Cranfield quoted by Garland).We deserved wrath, but in Christ God saved us, giving us surpassing glory.

2.         Since we did not deserve grace, it is intended to undo any and all of our calculations about deciding who is “worthy” to receive “our” grace. When Jesus was asked about forgiving others, he made this point very clear to his learners (Mt 18:21-35).

Apply: We are to give ourselves to reach “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” found along the “streets and alleys of the town” and even to “go out  to the roads and country lanes” (Lk 14:21-23). Those who suppose themselves worthy do not want grace.
 
II.        The core – what Christ did for our benefit
A.        He was rich yet he became poor for us

1.         Christ existed before he took on true humanity. As other texts tell us, he was Son of God, the Word, equal with the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and lived in God’s glory (Jn 1:1-2; 17:5; Ph 2:5-6; Heb 1:3). As Creator God he made all things and all things exist for him; therefore, he was very rich.

2.         Christ chose, in the Father’s plan, to become poor. This refers to the whole complex of ideas associated with his saving work. God the Son took on true humanity—the very nature of a servant. He lived as the adopted son of a poor Jewish carpenter and worked as a carpenter himself. He lived in the wilderness for forty days with nothing to eat. He taught about God, his kingdom, and eternal life while he lived in poverty, having nowhere to lay his head at night. He was arrested, forsaken by his friends, was beaten, mocked, scourged, and crucified. He bore the penalty for our sins in his death. And he was buried in a borrowed grave. He became poor for us.

Apply: It would do us all well to think about his poverty while we sit in our easy chairs, being entertained to death, while we gulp down a full bowl of fattening ice cream. When you lie down tonight on your very comfortable bed, remember that his bed was the hard ground. And his thoughts were not on a luxurious vacation but on the cross where he would die for his people. How much do our thoughts turn to the cross we are to carry as we follow him (Mk 8:34)?
B.        We through his poverty become rich

1.         Think about “through his poverty”. We are saved because of what Jesus Christ did for us. We are not saved because of our ethnicity, not because our intellect and education, not because our career and net worth, not because of our popularity on social media, not because of our personal appearance, and not because of our involvement in a church, religious rituals, and caring for the poor. Our salvation is through his poverty. If we ever stand in glory, it will be because one day he hung on a cross, disgraced, becoming a curse, and satisfying God’s wrath for our sins.

2.         Think about the riches he has given us. So far in this letter, the apostle has mentioned at least ten: the guaranteeing deposit of the Spirit (1:22; 5:1), daily renewal (4:16), an eternal glory (4:17), an eternal house in heaven (5:1), a certain destiny with the Lord (5:8), new creation (5:17), reconciliation with God (5:18), Christ’s righteousness (5:21), God’s presence with us (6:16), and a place in God’s family as his sons and daughters (6:18). My friends, Jesus Christ has made us very rich with enduring, eternal riches.

Apply: Perhaps you have entered this room this morning broken, battered, bruised, and bankrupt. You need not stay in you hopelessness! My God takes the broken and makes them whole. You can be spiritually rich with such riches that will change your life and your destiny. This can be yours because Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose the third day that all those who trust in him may be right with God and receive the gift of eternal life.
 
III.       The outcome – what this ought to produce in our lives
A.        The riches of salvation are intended to influence our lives now—to make us givers now.
B.        Our giving as Christians is related to the grace of God we have experienced in Christ. As we comprehend in our experience more and more of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we start to overflow with the grace of giving. From the day God saves you, you are richly blessed with grace. Even from your first days, there can be remarkable expressions of generous, gracious giving. But the Corinthians, like most of us, are years past those first fresh days of grace. And so there must be an ongoing development of the grace of giving.
C.        The true Christian life is not triumphalist, wrongly assuming that we are to live like kings and queens now. Instead, it imitates Christ in slave-like service and giving for the benefit of others. We are not to be fascinated with heaping up treasures here on earth, but with giving our treasures now in order to store up better treasures in heaven (Mt 6:19-21). This requires faith in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ Dave
 
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.
 

Krummacher: The Institution of the Lord's Supper

Series: The Suffering Savior: Meditations on the Last Days of Christ by F. W. Krummacher (1796-1868)

[learn_more caption=”Introduction and Preface”] CMC Editor’s Note: In the following preface are the words of F.W. Krummacher introducing his readers to his work. It is our intention to post all fifty three of his meditations. Krummacher is regarded as one of Germany’s greatest preachers and was often compared to Great Britain’s C.H. Spurgeon. The reader will learn much of Christ through this series of devotional meditations on the final scenes in the life of Christ on earth. The printed work (first published 1854) has been described as the greatest single volume of the entire nineteenth century on the last days of Christ’s earthly ministry. The meditations are structured around the Old Testament tabernacle. It’s our prayer that you will be richly blessed his writings.

Author’s Preface

In the following meditations I trust I have succeeded in displaying to my readers at least a portion of those riches which are contained in the inexhaustible treasury of our Savior’s sufferings. Unmutilated scriptural truth, such as I believe I promulgate, still finds a favorable reception in the world, which I have been permitted to experience in the most gratifying manner. I mention it, solely to the praise of God, and for the satisfaction of those who are like-minded, that my writings, or at least a part of them, are, as I hear, already translated into English, French, Dutch, Swedish, and as I am assured, though I cannot vouch for the fact, into the Danish language also. My “Elijah the Tishbite” has even appeared in a Chinese attire. But that which is of greater importance, is the news I am constantly receiving of the manifold blessing which the Lord of his great and unmerited favor has bestowed upon my labors. That in his condescension and loving-kindness, He would also deign to bless this my most recent work is so much the more my heartfelt wish and ardent prayer, since it has for its subject the chief supporting pillar of the whole church—the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The division of the work into the “Outer Court,” the “Holy Place,” and the “Most Holy Place,” is intended merely to point out the different stages of the Redeemer’s sufferings, from their commencement to their close, but by no means to attach a less or greater importance to them. Had the latter been the case, I would naturally have assigned the institution of the Lord’s Supper its appropriate place in the “Most Holy Place,” instead of the “Outer Court.” But in the plan of this volume, it falls among the class of events, which immediately precede the propitiatory work of the Mediator.

~ F. W. Krummacher [/learn_more]

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THE OUTER COURT

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Meditation – V

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

 

“Broken for you.”

The Passover has been kept, according to Israelitish usage, the paschal lamb has been consumed by the guests with feelings of deep emotion, and the festive cup has been several times sent round as was customary. The moment had now arrived when after singing the great of “Hallel,” or psalm of praise, the meal should be concluded, and the signal given to the guests to rise up and depart. Instead of this, what occurs? The Master, to whom all eyes were directed, rises from his seat—not, as is soon perceived, to leave the room, but—to commence a new and still more solemn act than that of eating the passover. In the capacity of the head of the family, he again takes the bread, breaks it, and after giving thanks, distributes it to his disciples; and you know the words with which he accompanied this act. He then likewise reaches them the cup, commands them all to drink of it, and what he said at the time you also know. Heaven alone can satisfactorily explain to us why the Evangelists have not transmitted to us the words of institution used by the Savior, in perfect coincidence with each other as to their form and manner.

“But,” you say, “have they not done so?” No, my friends. In Matthew and Mark, the Lord, in breaking the bread, says, “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” According to Paul (1 Cor. 11:24), He used the expression, “broken for you,” instead of “given for you.” In Matthew, he says, on presenting the cup, “Drink you all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” In Mark, both the words, “Drink you all of it,” as well as “for the remission of sins,” are wanting. In Luke, we find the Lord saying, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Paul expresses it in like manner, but describes the Lord as adding, “This do you, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Here are, therefore, manifest differences, although anything but opposition and contradiction. Now how are these variations in the four narratives to be explained? A variety of suppositions, as you may imagine, have been suggested during eighteen centuries. But I must protest, on the outset, against the idea, unaccountably entertained by many pious people, that one or other of the Evangelists had made a mistake, and was unable minutely to remember the precise words used by the Lord Jesus. The apostles, in compiling their sacred records, were preserved from every error. For their Lord and Master had expressly promised them that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, should lead them into all truth, and bring all things to their remembrance that he had spoken to them. And can we, for a moment, suppose that this Spirit should have been deficient in his office in such an important matter as the institution of this sacrament, and not rather have attended to it with the greatest exactness? Let whoever will believe it, I never can.

But perhaps you say, “How will you be able to make the deviations which really exist agree?” My readers, I do not for a moment doubt that the Lord uttered all the words which are recorded, and that the four witnesses only enlarge each other’s description of what occurred; and it is my conviction, that on distributing the bread and presenting the cup he several times uttered the words of institution, and repeated them, first in one form and then in another.

Certainly, it is not a matter of indifference to be able to place our foot on firm ground in this matter, and with perfect confidence to say, “These are the original words of institution used by our Lord, in their authentic and proper connection. This is their essential and real meaning; this the sacred formula which is to continue in use forever, according to the will of our Lord himself, and to be always uttered at the celebration of his supper.” But in order to provide for the real requirements of his Church on earth, the Lord was subsequently pleased to give his apostle Paul, by express revelation, an unambiguous disclosure respecting the formula of the institution of his sacred ordinance. Hear what the Apostle says,—1 Cor 11:23-25: “For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, on the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,” etc. The substance of the words of the institution is consequently expressed as to the bread, in the formula, “This is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me;” as to the cup, in the words, “This cup is the new testament in my blood; this do you, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

So much with regard to the formula of the institution. Let us now cast a look at the actions with which our Lord accompanied the words:—We read, first, that “the Lord took bread.” Observe, he took bread, and not the flesh of the paschal lamb. This he did that he might not countenance, in any way, such crude and gross ideas of the sacrament as those expressed by the Jews at Capernaum (John 6.), and that he might, beforehand meet the error, as if there were still room in the New Testament for the sacrifices of the Old. The bread which he took was the unleavened passover cake, which, however, was not subsequently used; for the first Christians, with the apostles at their head, at their communion, which they were accustomed almost daily to celebrate at the close of their love-feasts, made use of the customary bread; that is, of such as was used at table, and therefore leavened.

“The Lord took bread”—this most indispensable of all the means of nourishment and sustenance, the product of the most valuable of earth’s fruits, which presents, at the same time, such an extremely striking image of him without whom we have no spiritual life. But you ask, “Is the bread only an emblem, a figure?” I inquire, in reply, whether you wish to dispute the position, that we must regard the elements of the sacred ordinance, in the first instance, as signs, symbols, and figures? If so, you must overlook the Lord’s words in John, 6:51, “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven, and give life unto the world;” as well as many other of his expressions of a similar kind. The divine “corn of wheat,” which, that it might not remain alone, but bring forth much fruit, fell into the ground, and, by the heat of Gethsemane, and the fire of the cross, was prepared to become the spiritual food of poor sinners, is reflected, like the sun in the dew-drop, in the sacramental bread, and by the latter is exhibited to our view.

After the Lord had taken the bread, he lifted up his eyes toward heaven, and “gave thanks”—that is, he poured out his heart in praise and thanksgiving to his heavenly Father. For what did he render thanks? O my friends, for what else than for the decision of divine mercy, to save such poor sinners as we, which he saw in spirit, as already accomplished in his blood, and for the deliverance of the children of Adam from the curse of the law, the power of Satan, and the gulf of perdition. It was they who lay continually upon his heart; to whose restoration all his cares and anxieties were directed, and whose exaltation and beatification was the object of his highest interest and sweetest hope. He gave thanks. O, with what adoring delight will the holy angels have caught this costly incense in their golden censers, and, have borne it up to God! He gave thanks. We ought also to give thanks. But it is well for us, that in this, as in everything else, he intercedes for us, and covers our guilt with his obedience, and our deficiencies with his fullness.

However he did not merely give thanks, but, according to Matthew’s expression, he also blessed. It is true the word used by this Evangelist signifies both thanking and praising, like the word used by Luke and Paul, nor would any greater stress require to be laid upon it, as including the idea of blessing, if Paul, in employing the same word in 1 Cor. 11:16, had not called the cup, “the blessed,” or “the cup of blessing.” The Savior, however, pronounced his benediction, not only upon the cup, but also upon the bread. And wherefore! Was it in order to separate the elements from a common and profane use to one that was higher, spiritual, and holy? Doubtless, he had this also in view. But where Jesus, the High Priest, blesses, we ought to think of something more substantial than a mere designation and setting apart of the kind above-mentioned. We ought to expect that influence is then exerted, and reality produced. And O, what superabundant richness and fullness of blessing have rested on the bread and wine of the communion from the benediction, which our Lord pronounced upon them!

Since that festal evening, how many thousands have received heavenly refreshment, invigoration, and encouragement by their means! How many a wounded heart, in the course of eighteen centuries, has been healed, how many fainting spirits revived, and the passage through the dark and mortal valley illumined, alleviated, and sweetened! and how innumerable are those who, until the end of time, will joyfully experience all this! Such is the blessing of the Prince of Peace, which extends even to the bliss of the eternal hills.

After our Lord had given thanks and blessed, he “broke” the bread. Nor is this without a deeper meaning, as he himself declares immediately afterward, in the words, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Hence the whole of the apostolic statements of the institution of this sacred ordinance do not fail to record this breaking of the bread. Jesus broke it as symbolic of that which should soon occur to his own body, by which he should become our atoning sacrifice and the bread of life. In the breaking of the bread he depicted his own death to the eyes of the disciples; and the sublime and admirable tranquillity with which he did so, again testifies of the infinite love to sinners which pervaded his heart.

Our Lord presented the bread, thus broken, to his disciples, and it is here that we see him in his proper office and favorite vocation. Giving, presenting, and communicating, is his delight. As then, so now, his hand is stretched out in his feast of love, although at present concealed in the hand of his human messenger and minister. We, his servants, retire, as regards ourselves, entirely into the background, while administering the communion. We are then nothing but his instruments. He himself is always the dispenser and giver. Hence his words alone are heard at the sacred feast; and none else, however beautiful and believing they may sound, are permitted to be used.

At the consecration of the cup, the same formula was repeated as at the consecration of the bread. After renewed thanksgiving and blessing, our Lord presented it to his disciples, and invited them all to drink of it. He calls the wine his blood, even as he designated the bread his body; and, both elements united, indicate and represent the whole Christ, inasmuch as he gave his life, which is “in the blood,” unto death, as an atoning sacrifice for us.

That the Lord did not select water but wine, for the symbol of his shed blood, was done from the wisest motive; and only enlarges and diversifies the meaning of the selected symbol. Christ is the real vine, and we possess divine life, only in so far as we, like the branches, grow through him, and are pervaded by his influence. Besides, the wine reminds us of the wine-press of torture and agony, in which the Son of God was capacitated to become our Savior and Mediator, and signifies the fullness of heavenly encouragement, joy, and delight, which Christ imparts, as an addition and superabundance to his believing people; while the bread represents more what is necessary and indispensable for the deliverance and blessedness, which they possess in his redemption and mediation.

What an incomparable legacy, therefore, has the Lord left us in his sacred Supper! What a fullness of heavenly blessings and mercies has he showered down upon us in this unpretending institution! Let us therefore highly estimate this precious bestowment. Let us often avail ourselves of it by repeated and devout approaches to the sacred table for the sanctification and glorification of our inner man. Only, let us be careful to appear in true communion attire—in child-like simplicity and godly poverty of spirit; and on our return from the holy place, we shall feel ourselves constrained to render heartfelt and joyful thanks unto him, who has bought us with his blood, and be more than ever resolved to live and die to his praise.

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