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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Of the Use of the Sacraments

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1 Corinthians 11:23–26

From the Confessions: The Chief Articles of Faith in the Augsburg Confession

Of the Use of the Sacraments.

Of the Use of the Sacraments they teach that the Sacraments were ordained, not only to be marks of profession among men, but rather to be signs and testimonies of the will of God toward us, instituted to awaken and confirm faith in those who use them. Wherefore we must so use the Sacraments that faith be added to believe the promises which are offered and set forth through the Sacraments.

They therefore condemn those who teach that the Sacraments justify by the outward act, and who do not teach that, in the use of the Sacraments, faith which believes that sins are forgiven, is required.

Pulling It Together

In the first two centuries of the Church, it was rumored that Christians were cannibals since when they met on their Lord's Day, they ate his flesh and drank his blood. This notion was corrected by explanations of the Gospel given by Justin Martyr and other defenders of the faith. These days, many are well aware of what Christians do when they gather, though they likely still do not understand Holy Communion.

When we “eat this bread and drink the cup,” we declare our Lord's death among ourselves. It is a way that we recall what he did for us in dying for our sins. We remember that he established this holy meal as way to remember not only what he did, but also to look forward to the day when we will eat and drink with him again at the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven (Rev 19:9). Yet, Holy Communion is more than profession of our faith.

We confess whenever we eat and drink that Christ is truly present in the bread and wine. Therefore, the gift of Christ's Body and Blood may only be received in faith. It is not mere religious observance. Instead, it is God working through his Supper to enliven and establish our faith through continued grace. For from his fullness we continue to receive grace upon grace (John 1:16).

Prayer: Holy God, increase your grace in me for the sake of your Son. Amen. 

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1 Comments

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Katherine Harms

Posted March 5, 2015 at 5:24am

These devotions are priceless, but one statement today is extremely valuable. The Lord's Supper "is not mere religious observance." We must keep that thought prominent is our daily lives. The secular world around us believes that all religions are summed up in mindless ritual and dusty old books. Our lives must testify that the Sacraments are part of a life that is the same inside or outside of the worship space. The faith that calls us to Christ's table also calls us to defend the lives of unborn babies and to adhere to God's plan for families. Our faith is not something we turn on when we enter a church and turn off when we leave. Secular activists actually believe that it is possible to say a creed during what they consider a meaningless Sunday morning ritual and then go forth and do things in direct contradiction to the teachings confessed in church. We must be such vivid living testimonies to Christ that secular thinkers cannot argue logically that it is possible and expected that we will believe whatever we like but never act on it.

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