A celebration of grace

By Not Known

At both services today we share in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Our Confession of Faith defines a sacrament as follows: Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately institued by God, to represent Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him… (Westminister Confession 29:1).

As our Confession goes on to say, the grace is not in the sacrament but is shown in it. That is, the sacrament acts as a signpost or symbol pointing to something beyond itself and greater than it. This means that eating the bread and drinking the wine only help us when we follow the sign and are connected to the reality behind it.

Jesus is the reality behind the Lord’s Supper (and also baptism). He is also the bearer of God’s grace to us. As John puts it: … grace and truth comes through Jesus Christ (Jn. 1: 17). Or again, the last words of our Bible are these: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen (Rev. 22:21). These texts could be multiplied many times over, for Jesus is both full of grace and the means by which God’s grace comes to us. In him, God blesses us … with every spiritual blessing … (Eph. 1: 3).

This grace is richly symbolised in the Lord’s Supper. Here we remember that God took the initiative to make peace with his enemies, for … Christ died for the ungodly … (Rom. 5:6- 8). We also remember the high price that was paid, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son … (Jn. 3: 16).

The effect of this grace is no less remarkable than its means: because of what Christ did we are … set free (Gal. 5: 1). This is freedom from the penalty and power of sin – or, put positively, it is freedom to live life God’s way rather than be trapped in sin. It is a freedom that forgives and restores, for if we are in Christ, we all have the full rights of sons of God (Gal. 3:26; 4:5 – 7).

So, let us celebrate this remarkable grace today, remembering that we owe our very lives to it. But let us also live this grace towards one another – including treating each other as equals, irrespective of differences created by gender, race and social position (Gal. 3: 28). And, let us offer one another the same forgiveness and fresh start that God shows us in Christ (Col. 3: 13). As we do these things we will truely be a community created by grace and a community defined by grace.