Means of Grace-The Sacraments
The ways that God blesses the church are called the Means of Grace and we will see that each one is unique and indispensable to us. The sacraments are agreed upon by all Christian denominations as God’s variety of blessing and alongside of His Word, are another benefit to us. Some Christians have a longer list of what is included in the sacraments (Roman Catholics have 7, Lutheran have 3, other Protestants have 2) but they do agree that the sacraments remind us of His promises and publicly declare His love, forgiveness, and grace.
Let’s take a quick view of two of them: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Scripture tells us that baptism gives us an opportunity to identify with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:1-11). Among other benefits, baptism allows us to experience in an outward way the inward transformation of our hearts. It’s a moment in time when we experience personal communion with God and receive His forgiveness by allowing the water to ‘wash away our sins’. What a wonderful way or means for receiving God’s grace in the presence of other believers. Baptism strengthens our faith and allows the community of believers to witness God’s amazing grace as He transforms us. However, this one-time act of baptism isn’t the end; the church also comes together for another amazing time of communion with God: the Lord’s Supper.
Holy Communion isn’t a one-time act but a repeated experience that allows believers to celebrate God’s forgiveness and love. It’s a time when we enter into God’s presence, yet again, and remember the death and resurrection of Christ. It reaffirms His covenant to us and we confirm our commitment to Him; it’s like renewing your marriage vows. When you got married you told your spouse that you love them, right? But is your attitude that you told them once and that should do it? No, you reconfirm your love continually. Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist is another sacred act that we enjoy as a body of believers that shows us, in a supernatural way, that an inward grace is being imparted to us. We experience the outward act of eating the bread and drinking the wine (or juice) of Christ; it’s literally the visible confirming the invisible.
Sacraments are specially set-apart for us from God as special times with Him. Let’s view baptism with renewed eyes and participate in the Lord’s Supper with a refreshed perspective of joining ourselves to Christ; they are truly God’s means of showing His grace in unique and indispensable ways to His Church.
I hope you will take this Passion Week as an opportunity to attend a Maundy Thursday or a Good Friday service somewhere in your area. Let’s celebrate God corporately with all the saints as we remember His greatest gift to us: Himself.