True and Entire

In theological discussions of the sacrament, the distinction between sign and thing signified goes back to the great Augustine. This is a distinction that is essential for us to maintain if we are to keep ourselves out of superstition and idolatry. At the same time, we must make this distinction without dividing or separating the sign and thing signified. If we break the sign and thing signified in two, the only thing we will find ourselves holding is the mangled sign, with the reality long gone. They cannot be there together, except as God has appointed.

The appointed instrument that God has given that enables us to hold sign and thing signified together is faith—the kind of faith given by Him, which means that it necessarily is vibrant, alive, receptive, eager or, to use the word that sums it all up, evangelical.

Simple faith can see at a glance things which unconverted philosophers and theologians with bulging foreheads cannot figure out. Faith does not create mysteries on a table, trying to figure out what is going on inside the bread or inside the wine. Faith receives the mystery into the body of Christ—you are that body—and there sees what God intends when He speaks of greater things under the form of the lesser.

What is offered here, in words and actions, is the body of Jesus, the blood of Jesus. But what is actually being offered is totus Christus, all of Christ, the entire Jesus. This is all about union with Christ, and remember that union with Christ is only effectual when received by faith, and it is not possible for a true faith to receive a partial Christ.

In a similar way, these emblems, these elements, are received by you with your hands and your mouth. But your hands and your mouth also represent something. They are also a lesser thing that represents, necessarily, much more. They represent all of you—body, soul, and spirit—and they represent you resting in Christ forever and ever, world without end.

So true faith receives the true and entire Christ into the true and new humanity, being grown up into the perfect man. So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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Mike Bulljohn kValerie (Kyriosity)Douglas Wilson Recent comment authors

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john k
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john k

Just as no sermon can say everything, neither can a communion exhortation. Still, I find the death of Christ so essential to the Supper that I wish it had a mention in this posting. (It was, I hope, otherwise mentioned in the actual observance.) It is not enough if the elements signify even the “true and entire Christ” unless that includes his work,especially his sacrifice. In the Supper, Christ holds out to us union with himself through his death on the cross: through his body asgiven, and his blood asshed. It is by communion pointedly by faith in his death… Read more »

mikebull1
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It’s probably just me, but the continued need by my FV friends to explain “the table” feels more like a shell game than the Lord’s Supper. It’s a nebulous cloud of “meaning” where it is impossible to put one’s finger on the actual meaning. What is the meaning of the table? We voluntarily, willingly, identify with the death and resurrection of Christ. We eat His flesh and drink His blood so that when we suffer as martyrs, it is His flesh being torn and His blood being spilled. The idea that this table is for infants and children as “lambs”… Read more »

john k
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john k

Let’s be consistent, then. Since infants can, and are being killed for the name of Christ, it is Christ’s flesh that is torn in them. It is an error to say that we cannot be identified with Christ except voluntarily and willingly. That is to make redemption inadequate for all that God created. It is to make the family entirely left behind by Christ.

Christ gives families a place in his kingdom. They are not a holdover from the “old man,” Adam, that we unfortunately participate in.

valerieab
Member

Mike, did you just say that in order to honor recent martyrdoms, including the murder of 21 members of the infant-communing Coptic Church, you would not commune with a church that communes infants? Bro, that is messed way up.

mikebull1
Member

The power of this so-called “Covenant” paradigm blows me away. Is the table about coming to Christ, or about being sent out by Christ? Does the term disciple include those who are merely under the sound of the Gospel, or those who have believed and obeyed the Gospel, the “second born”? If the former, Pentecost and the apostolic witness means nothing, and “hearing the law” is enough to be considered a Christian. The New Covenant is not “hear O Israel” but “Go tell.” A Christian is a witness. Ladies and gents, there is no “Covenant” any longer. There is only… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

To lighten things up, I do have one friend in UK who said he is still sitting on the fence between credo- and paedo- baptism, but now he’s sitting on the credo- side. I told him I guess his foreskin is on the paedo- side, just to be safe. I know that sounds gross, but it’s very apt.

john k
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john k

If a theological/typological grid rules out paedobaptism, maybe the grid is the problem. Maybe there are more possibilities than the stated dichotomies would suggest–dichotomies like “coming to Christ, or… being sent out by Christ”; “under the sound of the Gospel, or… hav[ing] believed and obeyed the Gospel”; ” ‘hear O Israel’ [or] ‘Go tell’ “; “earthly sons” vs. “sons of God”; “womb” vs. “tomb”; “resurrection” vs. “salvation”; “flesh” vs. “hearts”; “baptismal regeneration” vs. “personal conversion.” The grid can lead a person to characterize paedobaptism as being about “parenting,” “carnal offspring,” and “the first birth.” Paedobaptists deny this characterization, but the… Read more »

mikebull1
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“If a theological/typological grid rules out paedobaptism, maybe the grid is the problem.” John, like most of my friends on here, you are starting with the assumption that paedobaptism is correct, and everything has to be contorted to accommodate it. And it really is everything. I have seen salvation, church, justification, faith (paedofaith?) and much more totally redefined to allow for an “efficacious” baptism of infants. If one has to redefine so much to accommodate this practice (and these redefinitions are exactly the reason FVs get right up the nose not only of TRs, but also each other it seems),… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

I know this is getting old, but just a couple more thoughts on the other comments. John wrote: “Let’s be consistent, then. Since infants can, and are being killed for the name of Christ, it is Christ’s flesh that is torn in them. It is an error to say that we cannot be identified with Christ except voluntarily and willingly. That is to make redemption inadequate for all that God created. It is to make the family entirely left behind by Christ.” The murder of infants is certainly tragic, but there is a reason Adam was created an adult and… Read more »