A Laymen’s Commentary on the Augsburg Confession: The Lord’s Supper

Article X: Of the Lord’s Supper.

1] Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.

We believe that Christ is truly present in the Lord’s Supper.  This true presence has a tangible impact as it both effects the blessings we receive as well as who we are to commune with.  Those in open sin, including the sin of false doctrine, are to be excluded from the Lord’s Table.  This is one of the many reasons for Closed Communion, for in many cases those excluded from the table are excluded for the sin of belonging to a church that teaches false doctrine.  After all, the pinnacle of fellowship in the Church is the Sacrament of the Altar. Thus, we must believe the same as those at the rail with us.  Even beyond this we know that physical and spiritual harm can come from unworthily receiving the Sacrament.  Thus, as a preaching of the Law and as a protection to that person, we exclude those who are not in fellowship with us or are open sinners (1 Corinthians 10:1-22, 11:17-34).

However, for the truly penitent, the medicine of immortality is given to comfort and heal.  The very Blood of Christ is given to forgive all of your sins.  The very Body of Christ unites us to Himself and binds us together in unity as the catholic Church.  A foretaste of the marriage feast of the Lamb is given to us to tide us over until the day when the Bridegroom comes for His Bride.

We condemn all who think that Christ is not present or any who think that it is merely a memorial meal.  This Supper is given for the forgiveness of sins. Christ’s Body and Blood are truly present and are received by both the faithful and the unfaithful.  The faithful, to their blessing; the unfaithful, to their condemnation.

The Confutation agrees with this Article.  That said, Rome believes in Transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass.  They try to explain how the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood. We instead simply confess that it is what Christ declares it to be.

1 Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior,
Turned away God’s wrath forever;
By His bitter grief and woe
He saved us from the evil foe.

2 He, to pledge His love undying,
Spreads this table, grace supplying,
Gives His body with the bread,
And with the wine the blood He shed.

3 Banquet gifts God here is sharing;
Take them—after well preparing;
For if one does not believe,
Then death for life he shall receive.

4 Praise the Father, who from heaven
To His own this food has given,
Who, to mend what we have done,
Gave into death His only Son.

5 Firmly hold with faith unshaken
That this food is to be taken
By the sick who are distressed,
By hearts that long for peace and rest.

6 Agony and bitter labor
Were the cost of God’s high favor;
Do not come if you suppose
You need not Him who died and rose.

7 Christ says: “Come, all you that labor,
And received My grace and favor:
They that feel no want nor ill
Need no physician’s help nor skill.”

8 “For what purpose was My dying,
if not for your justifying?
And what use this precious food
if you yourself were pure and good?”

9 If your heart this truth professes
And your mouth your sin confesses,
You will be your Savior’s guest,
Be at His banquet truly blest.

10 Let this food your faith so nourish
That by love its fruit may flourish
And your neighbor learn from you
How much God’s wondrous love can do.

(LSB 627)

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