The Sacramental Nature of the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is often considered to be merely a symbolic act by which we remember Christ’s sacrifice. However, it carries a deeper, sacramental aspect that goes beyond mere symbolism. In this blog post, we will explore the sacramental nature of the Lord’s Supper and consider how Christ’s presence through the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual benefits to believers.

The Sacrament of Communion

To understand the sacramental nature of the Lord’s Supper, we must first grasp the concept of a sacrament. According to Millard Erickson, a sacrament is

Accordingly, God’s presence is mediated, and spiritual benefits are conferred to those who participate in the Supper.

This sacramental view differs from the common understanding of the Lord’s Supper as merely a symbolic act of remembrance. Especially, regarding Christ’s true presence. Not a physical presence, but true presence none the less.

In the Supper Christ’s presence is mediated through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And he imparts his blessings to those who partake.

Christ’s Real Presence

1 Corinthians 10:16 affirms this reality: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?”

In other words, when we partake in the bread and wine (or grape juice), we are not consuming mere symbols; we are spiritually participating in the body and blood of Christ.

Spiritual Nourishment and Unity

The sacramental aspect of the Lord’s Supper provides spiritual nourishment to the believer. Just as physical food sustains our bodies, the Supper sustains our spiritual lives. Through this observance, believers are strengthened in their faith and experience a deepening of their relationship with Christ.
Moreover, the Supper reinforces the unity of the body of Christ. For example, as we partake together, we are reminded that we are one body, and that we share in the same grace and blessings. It is a powerful symbol of our oneness as believers.

Calvin’s Perspective

John Calvin, a prominent figure of the Protestant Reformation, emphasized the spiritual reality of the Lord’s Supper. He believed in the real presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, he saw the Supper as a means by which believers could commune with Christ spiritually and receive His grace.

A Profound Spiritual Experience

In conclusion, the Lord’s Supper is more than a mere ritual or a symbolic act. It is a supernatural spiritual experience whereby believers encounter the real presence of Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a sacrament that imparts true spiritual benefits, nourishes our faith, and reinforces our unity as the body of Christ.

As we continue to explore the significance of the Lord’s Supper, we will consider into its role in helping believers remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and anticipate His return.