May 15 – God’s grace in the sacraments

“…for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” – Matthew 26:28 

Scripture reading: Matthew 26:17-29

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures reinforce truths that words convey. Between the words and the pictures, we have a clearer understanding of what is conveyed to us.

In the church, the Lord has also given us “pictures” to convey the spiritual truths of His Word. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper portray the reality of what the Word teaches. In Baptism we see that just as water cleanses, so the blood of Christ cleanses His people. The Lord’s Supper portrays the same truth as we “take, eat, remember and believe” that the precious blood of Jesus Christ was shed for us.

The picture in the sacraments is not photo-chopped. It is a mirrored copy of the Word of God, and it is signed and sealed by the Holy Spirit to deeply ingrain in our hearts the blessed assurance of salvation. For instance, when the Lord’s Supper is taken with true saving faith, then Christ is truly in those elements. He is in the elements not in a literal sense, but spiritually, causing us to be drawn closer to Him and closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Whenever a sacrament is celebrated, it is a blessed opportunity to relish the depth of the Lord’s love. His love is so deep that He not only tells us about it in His Word, but He also portrays it, signing and sealing it in the sacraments for all who partake with saving faith.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God that He has structured the church so that we are nurtured by both the Word and the sacraments. Pray for those who have seen and participated in one or both sacraments, yet failed to understand their true meaning and the proper response. Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw them to Christ and back into His church. 

Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.