Friday, November 30, 2007

Calvin - Sacraments

God did not establish the sacraments so that if men strove to keep them they would obtain some virtue which would count for righteousness. Rather, he did it so to teach them that they need to find righteousness in him.

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What do I mean? Well, baptism teaches us that we are full of filth and corruption within. Why else do we wash hands, face and body, but because we desire to wash off the dirt? We are told that baptism is our washing; therefore it follows that when we come to be baptised, and when we bring our children, we are declaring that from the mother's womb our children are already lost and condemned....

Secondly, when we receive the Lord's Supper, what is it we are doing? Are we there to acquire some merit in God's eyes? No, we are there to confess that we are like dead men who have come to seek for life outside of ourselves. The flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ must be our meat, and his blood our drink, for in him we find all that we need. Thus, the sacraments should not make us swollen with vain pride, but they should make us walk in humility, so that, empty of pride, we only seek the provision that God has made out of his infinite bounty, and that he would bestow upon us the treasures of his grace according to our need.

John Calvin, Sermon on Galatians 2:14-16

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