Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.
Lord’s Day 30
*The original version omits Question 80 on the differences between the Lord’s Supper and the Roman Catholic mass.
Question 81: Who should come
to the Lord’s table?
Answer: Those who are displeased with themselves
because of their sins,
but who nevertheless trust
that their sins are pardoned
and that their remaining weakness is covered
by the suffering and death of Christ,
and who also desire more and more
to strengthen their faith
and to lead a better life.
Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however,
eat and drink judgment on themselves.1
1. 1 Cor. 10:19-22; 11:26-32
Question 82: Should those be admitted
to the Lord’s Supper
who show by what they profess and how they live
that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
Answer: No, that would dishonor God’s covenant
and bring down God’s wrath upon the entire congregation.1
Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ
and his apostles,
the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people,
by the official use of the keys of the kingdom,
until they reform their lives.
1. 1 Cor. 11:17-32; Ps. 50:14-16; Isa. 1:11-17
After God created man and saw that all that He had created was good, He saw that man was alone…and said that was not good. In all eternity past, this was the first recorded incident of God saying something was not good. We were made for community and communion was made to be experienced in community. We are to come together to welcome those displeased by their sin but trusting in Christ for salvation. Eat and drink, brothers! Be encouraged and strengthened! But to the unrepentant and unbelieving, it is the Church’s responsibility to discourage their partaking of the Lord’s supper until repentance has occurred. This is done for the purpose of protecting the church, restoring the sinner to a right walk with God, and renewing fellowship among the church members. While this is difficult to enforce (you can read more about “open” and “closed” communion here), everyone is encouraged to personally examine themselves before taking the Lord’s supper (1 Corinthians 11:28).
“Our sins should humble us, but they must not discourage us from coming to Christ.” Thomas Watson