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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Holy Supper part 3

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John 6:47-57

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Holy Supper 

There is a long exposition of Cyril on John 15, in which he teaches that Christ is bodily offered to us in the Supper. He says, “Nevertheless, we do not deny that we are spiritually joined to Christ by true faith and sincere love. But we entirely deny that we have no mode of connection with him according to the flesh. This would be altogether foreign to the sacred Scriptures. For who has doubted that Christ is in this manner a vine, and we the branches, deriving life for ourselves from him? Hear Paul saying that we are all one body in Christ. Although we are many, we are nevertheless, one in him, for we all partake of that one bread (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 10:17; Gal 3:28). Does he think perhaps that the virtue of the mystical benediction is unknown to us? Since this is in us, does it not also cause Christ to dwell in us bodily by the communication of Christ’s flesh?” A little later Cyril writes, “Therefore we must consider that Christ is in us not only according to the habit, which we call love, but also by natural participation,” etc.

Pulling It Together

Faith is the theme of our discussion. We have been talking about Holy Communion, Baptism, the Church, justification, and other matters but in all of these topics, we are actually considering faith. We believe that God justifies us for Christ’s sake, that the Church is the body of Christ, that our original nature is buried in Christ’s death through the water and word of Holy Baptism, and that Christ gives us more grace (James 4:6) through the true food of his flesh and the true drink of his blood. These are all matters of faith. For who would confess such things could be, unless God himself had revealed them? Specific to our present topic of Holy Communion, whoever believes that Christ Jesus is the bread of life, has eternal life. We confess with the Scripture, with Christ’s very words, that when we receive the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, we truly partake of the substance and life of Christ’s flesh and blood. “For,” Jesus said, “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” We believe with faith, and confess this to be true.

Prayer: I believe, Lord Jesus; I believe in the bread of life; I believe in you. Amen.

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