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We’re posting one question and answer per week, for 52 weeks in 2019, based on the New City Catechism. Our hope is that you will take the time each week to memorize these questions and answers in an effort to strengthen your biblical knowledge and to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

For background information on why we chose this Catechism resource and for a list of the entire Catechism, CLICK HERE.

We hope that you will find this resource to be useful in your study time, and especially as you discuss what you are learning in small groups or with family.

Q47 – Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Question 47

Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Answer

No, Christ died once and for all. The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves (Crossway 2017).

Scripture Reference

I Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.. (ESV).


The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?

The Lord’s Supper is a kinesthetic reminder that should do several things. First, it should remind us that there is only one answer to everlasting life, and that is the sacrifice of Jesus. There is nothing, other than trusting in Him, we can do to escape the wages of sin, which is death spiritually, physically, and eternally. Secondly, there is no place for pride as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. It is a reminder to align ourselves to Christ with a repentant heart and a humble spirit which honors His sacrifice for us.

It is clear to see that this ordinance is to point us to Christ, the only answer for eternal life. The Scripture is clear that the atoning work of Jesus was done on the cross. As we contemplate the Lord’s Supper, we should also humbly and thankfully consider the brutal crushing of Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the victorious triumph over death. Believers in Christ should regularly partake in the Lord’s Supper to remember, not add to, Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

  • Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?

Again, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper should be a reminder that our own abilities are not enough to atone for our sins. Just as Christ humbled Himself to the cross, and as I Peter 3:18 states, “…the righteous for the unrighteous,” our lives should be conceptually similar. As Jesus lived and died in obedience to His father so that we would have a way to eternal life, our lives should be focused on how those who do not know the Gospel should come to confess Christ as savior. This reminder should strike our hearts to be grateful to Jesus for His saving sacrifice and to live so that others would know as well.

  • Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (ESV).”

Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?

It is important to note that only believers should partake in the Lord’s Supper. It is a sign of the new covenant of the atoning blood of Jesus. Furthermore, as believers to partake, serious meditation and contemplation on the brokenness of Jesus as a sacrifice, should be exercised. Aligning our hearts in this way syncs our heart and mind so that we fully consider the real obedient sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the everlasting blood covenant with Christ, the triumph over death, and the gift of salvation through Christ. As believers in Christ, an unrepentant and prideful heart is incompatible with taking the Lord’s Supper.

  • I Corinthians 11:27-29 “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves (ESV).”

Note to readers

New City Catechism is a tool intended to spark family discussions and to inspire pursuits of greater understanding and spiritual growth. Gain greater insights by reading referenced scriptures in context and/or full chapters in your Bible. As a part of your prayers, ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding. The Bible reads, in James 1:5, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

More Questions & Answers:

Q46 – What is the Lord’s Supper?

Q46: What is the Lord’s Supper? A: Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with...