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Savoy on the Sacraments. Part 11

11/10/2011

Savoy 30, Section 6 and 7.

The doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.
Worthy receivers outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread or wine; yet as really, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

So we observe from the above …

* The presence of Christ is spiritual only.

The Lutherans also have a doctrine of ‘The Real Presence of Christ’ (Consubstantiation) but they base that upon what they refer to as THE UBIQUITY of Christ. They argue that as Christ is everywhere present, he must logically be present also in, with and under, the elements. But is Christ everywhere in that sense? Only in the sense that the Holy Spirit is everywhere, manifesting the presence of God, who is thus omnipresent. But is that a proper understanding of the functions of the persons within the Trinitarian Godhead? In Matthew 26:6, Christ was present only at Bethany. In Acts 1, Jesus was received into heaven.
Hebrews 2:14,17, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil… 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
David Dickson (P.236) argues:
* Christ was sitting at the table with his disciples.
* Christ himself ate and drank the bread and wine.

* That spiritual presence is as real as the physical presence of the bread and wine.

Now, what do Reformed Christians believe?
Just as the bread and wine are really present on the table, the body and blood of Christ are really present at the Lord’s Supper, but only in a SPIRITUAL SENSE, and only through FAITH in the heart of the believer.

Our communion is a SPIRITUAL EATING and a SPIRITUAL DRINKING. Thus those who eat and drink unworthily are said by Paul to ‘not discern the Lord’s Body and Blood.’ If this is possible, the Lord’s body and blood must be spiritually present, but without faith, cannot be availed of by that unbeliever.

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