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Heidelberg Catechism of 1563: The Second Part - Of the Holy Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ

28th Lord’s Day

Question 75. How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord’s Supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?

Answer: Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises:a first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.

References: (a) Mat 26:26-28; Mar 14:22-24; Luk 22:19-20; 1Co 10:16-17; 1Co 11:23-25; 1Co 12:13


Question 76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

Answer: It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal;a but also, besides that, to become more and more united to his sacred body,b by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heavenc and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone”d and that we live, and are governed forever by one spirit,e as members of the same body are by one soul.

References: (a) Jhn 6:35; Jhn 6:40; Jhn 6:47-54 (b) Jhn 6:55-56 (c) Col 3:1; Act 3:21; 1Co 11:26 (d) Eph 3:16; Eph 5:29-30; Eph 5:32; 1Co 6:15; 1Co 6:17; 1Co 6:19; 1Jo 3:24; 1Jo 4:13; Jhn 14:23 (e) Jhn 6:56-58; Jhn 15:1-6; Eph 4:15-16


Question 77. Where has Christ promised that he will as certainly feed and nourish believers with his body and bleed, as they eat of this broken bread, and drink of this cup?

Answer: In the institution of the supper, which is thus expressed:a “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and: said: eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: this cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” 1Co 11:23-26. This promise is repeated by the holy apostle Paul, where he says “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1Co 10:16, 17.

References: (a) 1Co 11:23-28; Mar 14:22-24; Luk 22:19-20; 1Co 10:16-17



29th Lord’s Day

Question 78. Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?

Answer: Not at all:a but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God;b so the bread in the Lord’s supper is not changed into the very body of Christ;c though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments,d it is called the body of Christ Jesus.

References: (a) Mat 26:29 (b) Eph 5:26; Tts 3:5 (c) Mar 14:24; 1Co 10:16-17; 1Co 11:26-28 (d) Gen 17:10-11; Gen 17:14; Gen 17:19; Exd 12:11-13; Exd 12:27; Exd 12:43; Exd 12:48; Exd 13:9; 1Pe 3:21; 1Co 10:1-4


Question 79. Why then doth Christ call the bread “his body”, and the cup “his blood”, or “the new covenant in his blood”; and Paul the “communion of body and blood of Christ”?

Answer: Christ speaks thus, not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life;a but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood by the operation of the Holy Ghost as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him;b and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.

References: (a) Jhn 6:51; Jhn 6:55 (b) 1Co 10:16-17



30th Lord’s Day

Question 80. What difference is there between the Lord’s supper and the popish mass?

Answer: The Lord’s supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross;a and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ,b who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father,c and will there be worshipped by us.d But the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry.e

References: (a) Hbr 7:27; Hbr 9:12; Hbr 9:25-28; Hbr 10:10; Hbr 10:12-14; Jhn 19:30; Mat 26:28; Luk 22:19-20 (b) 1Co 6:17; 1Co 10:16 (c) Hbr 1:3; Hbr 8:1-2; Jhn 20:17 (d) Mat 6:20-21; Jhn 4:21-24; Luk 24:52; Act 7:55-56; Col 3:1; Phl 3:20-21; 1Th 1:10; Hbr 9:6-10 (e) Hbr 9:26; Hbr 10:12; Hbr 10:14; Hbr 10:19-31


Question 81. For whom is the Lord’s supper instituted?

Answer: For those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, and yet trust that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves.a References: (a) 1Co 10:19-22; 1Co 11:28-29


Question 82. Are they also to be admitted to this supper, who, by confession and life, declare themselves unbelieving and ungodly?

Answer: No; for by this, the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole congregation;a therefore it is the duty of the christian church, according to the appointment of Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons, by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, till they show amendment of life.

References: (a) 1Co 11:20; 1Co 11:34; Isa 1:11-15; Isa 66:3; Jer 7:21-23; Psa 50:16



31st Lord’s Day

Question 83. What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

Answer: The preaching of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.


Question 84. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?

Answer: Thus: when according to the command of Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ’s merits; and on the contrary, when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent, that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal condemnation, so long as they are unconverted:a according to which testimony of the gospel, God will judge them, both in this, and in the life to come.

References: (a) Mat 16:18-19; Mat 18:15-19; Jhn 20:21-23


Question 85. How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by christian discipline?

Answer: Thus: when according to the command of Christ, those, who under the name of christians, maintain doctrines, or practices inconsistent therewith, and will not, after having been often brotherly admonished, renounce their errors and wicked course of life, are complained of to the church, or to those, who are thereunto appointed by the church; and if they despise their admonition, are by them forbidden the use of the sacraments; whereby they are excluded from the christian church, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ; and when they promise and show real amendment, are again received as members of Christ and his church.a

References: (a) Mat 18:15-18; 1Co 5:2-5; 1Co 5:11; 2Th 3:14-15; 2Co 2:6-8


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