Baptism And The Lord’s Supper—Commandments, Not Suggestions
There are two ordinances—baptism and communion—in the Christian Church that many outsiders (and some insiders) erroneously consider sacraments or mere rituals. I’m telling you they are not; this is why. A ritual is a ceremony or a practice, which may or may not have a reason for being. An ordinance, on the other hand, is a command to be obeyed; there is a reason for its being.
There are two things that we know about God: 1) He is never capricious; He ordained baptism and communion for a reason and 2) everything He does is for the benefit of His people. So what was God’s reason for establishing these ordinances? Baptism and communion are God’s way of keeping us aware of the core of our faith—the Gospel—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. These ordinances are for our benefit.
Paul explains the significance of His ordinances in Romans 5:8-9. He explains that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…we have now been justified by His blood”; i.e., we are saved by the blood of Jesus.
He tells us in Romans 6:3-4, “…don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from the dead so we too might walk in newness of life”. In short, we contact the saving blood of Jesus at baptism—and our own hope of eternal life.
So, what is the connection of baptism with communion? Recall that Jesus instituted the communion at the last supper he had with His apostles before he was killed. Then, in response to the trouble that the Corinthian church was having with the Lord’s Supper, Jesus revealed to Paul: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Corinthians 11:26).
God’s plan is that we first contact Jesus’ saving blood at baptism; then we stay in touch with His blood when we meet around the Lord’s Table. Why do I bring this up? Because I have seen that some SCC folk seem to be treating the Lord’s Supper as a ritual to be performed, rather than a command from God. This is not good. Jesus told Paul to tell us why:
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord… For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
This is serious. God has never rescinded any of His commandments just for 2016 Christians, so it applies to the church today. As my mom used to say, a word to the wise is sufficient.
At least that’s the way I see it;