Friday, November 11, 2016

"Sacramental Living"

1st Peter 3.20-21 NASU

“…in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark,… eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you – not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
There are two sacraments in the Reformed Church tradition: Baptism and Communion. A sacrament may be defined as an outward display of an inward truth. Baptism itself saves no one. However, a person who has truly encountered the risen Christ enters the waters of baptism or partakes in the Lord’s Supper as an outward and public demonstration of their inward faith. Jesus is alive and that makes all the difference!

Because He is alive my participation in the sacraments transcends mere ritualism. I do not ‘(robotically) go through the (rote) motions (of meaningless tradition)’. I am proclaiming before ‘God and all these witnesses’ my belief in a Savior who lives!

Roman Catholic theology includes seven sacraments: Baptism, Communion (Eucharist), Reconciliation (Penance, Confession), Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders (Ordination for the Priesthood), and Anointing of the Sick (Last Rites, Extreme Unction). Is it possible to take sacramental theology even a step beyond the Catholics? Could any faith-inspired action be considered a sacrament?

Clearly, it is not the sacramental act that saves you. That “baptism now saves you” means so much more than the outward “removal of dirt”. A sacrament does not carry magical powers to create inward change. It has meaning only because of the operative power of God’s grace through the sacrament. Getting baptized, saying confession, being married in the church, becoming a celibate priest, or any good deed at all… none of that guarantees a home for me in heaven. Only the death and resurrection of Jesus makes eternal salvation and Christ-like behavior possible for me. When I walk into the waters of baptism (as I did about forty years ago) or take the communion bread and cup (as I do weekly), I receive an impartation of the grace of God to do the work of God through faith in the Son of God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, 
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” 

Ephesians 2.8-9 NASB

While I do not plan to partake of an ‘official’ sacrament today, I hope to exhibit outwardly the truth of Christ in me. When I look back on this day sixteen hours from now, I will want to know I lived it sacramentally. 


Anonymous said...

As you said in yesterdays blog "Does Your Action Please God?" I think any faith inspired "ACTION" is a sacrament to God if it pleases him. As you say the death an resurrection of Christ made eternal salvation possibl but not guaranteed. It is only guranteed when it motivates us to "ACTION" that is pleasing to God.

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thank you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Dave, awesome discussion on Friday morning as always. Great to look forward to seeing all the guys on Friday morning and always appreciate so many differing thoughts and opinions on the word. (by the way, I was shocked to find out I remembered all 7 sacraments as daydreaming was my favorite pasttime throughout parochial school)

A few thoughts I had on chapter # 3:

"But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

----------1 Peter ch 3, vs 15

Sharing my faith has never been something that has come easily to me. How many times have I not done it when I could have, or upon doing it, realized I could have done it much more effectively? Why is it that I sometimes feel so hesitant to share my faith? I hate to say it, but on some level I must buy into the contemporary thinking:
1) Don't offend anyone
2) They have a right to their
beliefs also
3) Don't want them to think
I'm a religious fanatic.

Of course we all know where those thoughts come from.

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I remember during college, I worked as a waiter for The Old Spaghetti Factory. At the same time there were at least 6 guys who were students at, or recent graduates from Multnomah Bible. And yet in the 27 months that I worked there, not once did any of those 6 guys come withinj a country mile of sharing the gospel with me. Why not? Is it for the same reason
that I am often hesitant to do the same? What these guys didn't know is at this time I would have been very open and receptive to the message.

I remember one guy named Rocky. He was my favorite. He had graduated from Multnomah and was looking for a full time position in the ministry. I remember actually thinking that I would like to hear him preach, as he occasionally did so at his home church. Yet being a young guy of 21, I wasn't ready to ask him. But I certainly would have gone if he had invited me.

Perhaps as beleivers we are all in the same boat, hesitant to share the gospel with a world that is more than willing to hear the message and accept the free gift of salvation.