What dispenses grace? The Roman Catholic church believes that God’s grace is given and received through a number of rites and ceremonies called “sacraments.” We as Christians believe that there is only one way to receive God’s grace…through faith in Jesus and His redemptive work in His death and resurrection.
There are two ceremonies, however, that were instituted and commanded by Jesus that we continue. A common word for these observances is “ordinances.” I am referring to baptism and the Lord’s Supper, or communion as it is sometimes called.
Both ordinances give visual and physical reminders to Christ’s special redemptive work. Baptism reminds the believer that he has died to his old life, being resurrected to a new reality. He is baptized into Christ’s death, and participates in Christ’s new life. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of Jesus’ body, broken for us, and the blood that was shed for our forgiveness.
Last Sunday we celebrated both ordinances, seeing 11 people (4 women and 7 men) obey the Lord’s command in believer’s baptism, and then immediately afterward celebrating the Lord’s Supper, with several of us doing so while still in the water. Our formal time ended with singing a song entitled “Free!”
What a blessed time!