LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 241

Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.


Chapter 30. Of the Lord’s Supper. Paragraph 1: “The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.”

Now the confession moves on into a reflection on the second ordinance (or sacrament) given to Christians perpetually. The work of water baptism having been reflected on already. The Supper of the Christian Religion communicates grace to the believer. Like all works, it conveys blessings to the hearts of the believers who do it. And what a wonderful blessing it is! Jesus has given his people a visible reminder of his love for them displayed on the Cross. You can handle it as if it was him and it is his pledge to each of us.

It was his body that bore our sin on the Cross. Isaiah 42:3; 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24, etc. Your hands weren’t pierced, his were! Your side wasn’t stabbed, his was. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3. The Supper reminds us of what we call “Penal substitutionary Atonement.” This is a most necessary doctrinal part of redemption. Anyone who denies it is almost surely still dead in their sins. God has great wrath. It was assuaged or propitiated by the Son on the Cross once forever. Hebrews 10:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21. The Supper takes us right back to it as often as we partake of it.

If life itself is viewed as a theater metaphor, the red curtain went up on a fruitful garden to lead to the principle scene- the life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension of God the Son, who created it all and owns it all. In one of the final scenes on earth, the Son instituted a remembrance of that main scene using bread and wine. Christians ever since are shown exactly why this world was made. In all of the nastiness of the world, it’s all for the Son’s glory in forgiveness and wrath. Period. The supper reminds us of this. It infuses every moment of life with eternal meaning for the saint and of eternal warning to the sinner. “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’” Luke 22:19. We look to the eternal God in the past and in future in our every remembrance of him in the supper. If that doesn’t thrill your soul in the work, I suppose nothing will.

The confession will deal with many things here that seem unnecessary to some today. Many thoughtful men in my generation have asked if this English confession from 1689 is the best to use due to its treatments on things that seem to sort of go after Romanism. They ask if these sentences lock us into a 17th century British context too much to be practical today? These are reasonable questions. I feel that the confession is still needful since Rome still teaches its ignorant and blasphemous views on its pagan bread and wine worship. Other newer similarly blessed confessions of faith from godly men may be more contemporary, but these doctrines are still of great value in the Faith I think. We’ll deal with them in turn.

When we eat this body and blood we are duty bound to each other. As we eat of his body, we’re to remember that we are his body also. “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:5. This body was broken for us. Christ purchased us with his blood. It’s a “we” we remember and not just a “me.” Christ has purchased his bride on the Cross. His church. A collective group of saints surely in the billions. A symphony of triumphant worshippers who’ll all each reflect just one part, one note, one chord of his infinite glory one to another. The Supper tunes us like instruments in that praising choir.

It is the reminder of everything we believe, and a heart-warming work given to us like the Sabbath itself once was. It was made for us, not us for it.

Joseph Pittano

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