The Sign and the Reality of the Lord’s Supper

Posted By on September 19, 2019


When we speak of the sign and the thing signified
in the Lord’s Supper, we’re talking about the sacramental action as a whole. But more specifically we are talking about
the bread and the wine. The bread signifies the body of Christ, and
the wine signifies the blood of Christ. We are also talking about the relationship
between the symbolic actions as a whole in the liturgy of the supper and the reality
that signifies—what is going on behind that. When you conflate the sign and the reality
by identifying the bread as the body, you end up conflating something that needs to
be distinguished. There’s been much confusion on that. On the other hand, you have people who separate
the two. The bread is merely bread, and the wine is
merely wine, and all we are doing in the Lord’s Supper is remembering something. It’s a mental act, a subjective mental act,
and it’s not something that the Lord is doing as Reformed theologians like Calvin
taught.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 6 comments

  1. The Lord's supper which is supposed to be a source of great Christian unity sadly has become a cause of great division.

    Reply
  2. I don’t think it is just a mental act though. The Lord is never absent in our life so does he in his Supper. He presents himself with the Spirit.

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  3. Why is this so hard to understand?
    Jesus said; and as often as you meet, do this in remembrance of Me.
    He never said, this bread is really My body and this drink is really My blood.
    But people will argue the fact. Plain silly.

    Reply
  4. Thomas Aquinas, the official philosopher of the Roman Catholic church, taught that creation is inherently corrupt, inherently imperfect. Aquinas taught grace ( gratia medicinal) is a substance because it is gratia elevans…added to and elevating above nature. This substance was IN Adam before the Fall. This is why the Roman Catholic church teaches baptismal regeneration and transubstantiation in communion. Grace is elevation above nature and you are participating in the divine being.

    The Reformed say creation was created awaiting glorification. The Reformation also reasserted the distinction between the Creator and the creature. Salvation was no longer to be considered deification, participating in the divine being, or "elevation," but deliverance from wrath, free acceptance by God on the basis of Christ's righteousness imputed and received through faith ( trusting in Christ). Sanctification , conformity to Christ, became the consequence of justification.

    According to Augustine and the Reformed, after the Fall, creation ( human nature) was corrupted. It had the potential to be glorified, but it first had to be redeemed, justified, saved, and glorified by grace. Grace is God's unmerited favor……not the medicinal substance of Thomas Aquinas. Gracious salvation begins the process of restoring the image that was damaged in the Fall and that will be fully restored in the resurrection, glorification, and consummation.

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  5. In the Bible itself Roman pagans accused Christians of being cannibals because they ate the flesh of Jesus and drank his blood. Which would be the case if he wasn't speaking symbolically. The false church of Rome commits cannibalism when it claims the bread is actually his body and the wine actually his blood. And the Lutheran church is doing essentially the same thing.

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