Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
God appointed two ordinances to the church: believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called the Lord’s Table and Communion). Baptism consists of the declaration of one’s salvation, of being “in Christ Jesus” by faith.
Baptism symbolizes our commitment of faith; the Lord’s Supper symbolizes our obligation to brotherly love and to the “one anothers.”
Baptism is our Godward obedience; the Lord’s Supper is our brotherward obedience.
The Lord’s Supper provides a picture of the full program of redemption:
It requires Christ’s incarnation: “My body . . . My blood” (Matthew 26:26–29).
It demands Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice: “for you” (Luke 22:19).
We’ve all known someone with a solid Christian history but currently seems to be waning, apathetic, or getting lazy. You know, the person whose history was so grand you would happily read the biography. She was knowledgable, loving, gracious, obedient, endured trials, and encouraged others. But something has happened. A life once marked as mature seems to be waning. We wrestle with concerning thoughts, doubt, and “Is he really saved?” It’s like maturity has stopped and the Lord isn’t there anymore. We wonder, “Will he persevere?” If you’re like me, you wonder, “How do I minister to this person?”
The good news for us, there is a biblical blue print for us in Hebrews.… Continue reading