LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 247

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 7: “Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.”

I want to ask who the “worthy receivers” are? I want to be one. Being a worthy receiver of the ordinance is key to being able to properly perform any works without wrongly ascribing to them any salvific or contributive power. I am a Protestant. An essential to Protestant theology is in the Grand Canyon-sized distinction between grace and works. They never overlap! Ever. The sanctifying valley between them never confuses the distance between them. We may not understand this during our first ten or twenty miles of walking with Christ, but by mile five hundred we show ourselves children of God or of Satan by being made keenly aware of the Cross. Jesus did not die to “make salvation possible;” he died to save. On one side of the Grand Canyon of truth there is the triune God and the Cross. On the other side there is Satan and everything outside of his Cross. A worthy ordinance partaker partakes with complete knowledge of the grace that’s been brought to him or her through Jesus. He or she eats (or is baptized) with maturing joy in the awareness of a perfect salvation. The Christian knows that when one jumps from the plane at twenty-thousand feet that it’d not only be foolish to trust in the parachute and the flapping of his arms, but that trusting in the flap would be sinfully foolish. They know this because their God, their Creator, their Lord, their Master has washed their feet. He laid aside all awesome for a time and was humiliated on a Cross for them. That’s the parachute to them. They hate technique to improve upon it and recognize Satan’s wiles in systems that teach it’s the parachute…and anything else besides it. They know grace. They taste and see it. To be a “worthy partaker” is to be one who trusts in Christ alone for the forgiveness of all their sin. One who doesn’t is surely not worthy to partake. One who trusts in sacramental cleansing is, at best, one who is, “Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” 2 Timothy 3:5.

Paul writes some dire words in 1 Corinthians 11:27 saying, “…whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.” It seems to me that being a worthy partaker of this ordinance is one who does it in remembrance of that solitary three-day period in history- whether 1 or 103,921 weeks ago as in my case this year*- when the salvation of all of God’s people was accomplished between a Friday and a Sunday. That they heard their salvation (their Savior) say to his own to, “…do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19b) and they’re doing it just like them…again and again.

There is no (zero) change to the bread and wine (or juice) at any time by anyone. I pity those who actually think they turn their Savior to feces and urine. I would not condemn those who believe there is such a transubstantiation if they didn’t condemn me for denying it, but it’s wrong I’d say, nonetheless. It is a remembrance we have to do, not a re-sacrifice. Jesus never initiated such a thing. He sat at a highly symbolic meal he called Passover and delivered it to its higher meaning in his own passover sacrifice that was very soon to follow. Partaking of the meal rightly means partaking of Christ rightly by faith.

There may also be in any of our lives a needed repentance prior to the Table. A time of reflection where we allow God to remind us of rest and peace with him. A daily repentance observed in a special way before that special ceremony. Being in a frame of submission and re-assured graces may be a good way also to partake “in a worthy manner.” This would still be a rightful spiritual appropriation we’re seeking, but it’d be just that day’s reminder of one’s whole life reminder.

God bless!

(*I ascribe the death and Resurrection of Jesus to the year AD 30. I get the above stated 103,921 weeks then by subtracting 30 from 2023, giving 1,993, multiplying 1,993 by 365 (Gregorian calendar days in a year) giving me 727,445. I then just divide that by 7 to give me a number of weeks. So, it’s been approximately 103,921 weeks since Jesus saved the world.)

Joseph Pittano

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