A child is born into a family once in his life, but he is fed and nourished there continually. How does this statement relate to the sacraments administered in God's church family?
The Westminster Confession of Faith states it in these terms, "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His church until the end of the world."
The New Testament Lord's Supper pictured the confirming and strengthening of a living relationship with God, as the Old Testament Passover did. Due to circumcision and baptism picturing a person's entrance into relationship with God, they were and are administered only once in a person's life. The Passover and the Lord's Supper picture the continued strengthening of this relationship; therefore they were and are repeatedly used.
The sign used in baptism is clean water. It pictures being washed from sin, being made holy, being dedicated to God, through the blood of Jesus Christ.
The signs used in the Lord's Supper are broken bread and poured wine. They signify the continual spiritual strengthening received from Jesus' sacrifice -His broken body and shed blood.
The sealing strength from both sacraments is not found in the sign -not in the water, bread, or wine -but in the sealing application of the signs by the Holy Spirit.
Alice enjoyed studying the symbolism of signs. She liked to identify how they pictured the message they wished to convey. Can you identify how those pictured here symbolize their message?
How do the signs used in both the Old and New Testament forms of the sacrament picture the message they wish to convey? Why are the sacraments often called "the visible gospel"?