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May - 2016 Your Need For Grace

Your Need For Grace

Dr. Luther writes in his Large Catechism about the Lord’s Supper:

Here in the Sacrament you are to receive from the lips of Christ forgiveness of sin. It contains and brings with it God’s grace and the Spirit with all His gifts, protection, shelter, and power against death and the devil and all misfortune.

71 So you have, from God, both the command and the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides this, from yourself, you have your own distress, which is around your neck. Because of your distress this command, invitation, and promise are given. This ought to move you. For Christ Himself says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” [Matthew 9:12]. In other words, He means those who are weary and heavy-laden with their sins, with the fear of death, temptations of the flesh, and of the devil. 72 If, therefore, you are heavy laden and feel your weakness, then go joyfully to this Sacrament and receive refreshment, comfort, and strength [Matthew 11:28]. 73 If you wait until you are rid of such burdens, so that you might come to the Sacrament pure and worthy, you must stay away forever. 74 In that case Christ pronounces sentence and says, “If you are pure and godly, you have no need of Me, and I, in turn, no need of you.” Therefore, the only people who are called unworthy are those who neither feel their weaknesses nor wish to be considered sinners.

75 But if you say, “What, then, shall I do if I cannot feel such distress or experience hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?” Answer, “For those who are of such a mind that they do not realize their condition I know no better counsel than that they put their hand into their shirt to check whether they have flesh and blood. And if you find that you do, then go, for your good…

79 In the second place, look around you. See whether you are also in the world, or if you do not know it, ask your neighbors about it. If you are in the world, do not think that there will be lack of sins and misery. Just begin to act as though you would be godly and cling to the Gospel. See whether no one will become your enemy, and, furthermore, do you harm, wrong, and violence, and likewise give you cause for sin and vice. If you have not experienced this, then let the Scriptures tell you about it, which everywhere give this praise and testimony about the world.

80 Besides this, you will also have the devil about you. You will not entirely tread him under foot [Luke 10:19], because our Lord Christ Himself could not entirely avoid him. 81 Now, what is the devil? Nothing other than what the Scriptures call him, a liar and a murderer [John 8:44]. He is a liar, to lead the heart astray from God’s Word and to blind it, so that you cannot feel your distress or come to Christ. He is a murderer, who cannot bear to see you live one single hour. 82 If you could see how many knives, darts, and arrows are every moment aimed at you [Ephesians 6:16], you would be glad to come to the Sacrament as often as possible. But there is no reason why we walk about so securely and carelessly, except that we neither think nor believe that we are in the flesh and in this wicked world or in the devil’s kingdom.

            So – are you flesh and blood?  Do you live in the world?  Is the devil your most bitter enemy always prowling around and seeking to destroy you?  Then you need to come to the Supper.  In fact, simply put, whether you feel it or not, you need to be regularly fed with the Means of Grace.  You need to regularly be in the Word of God.  You need to daily rely upon the grace God gave you in your baptism to drown and kill the Old Adam, extinguish the fiery darts of accusation the devil hurls at you and raise up the new person in Christ to live daily in His love and reflect that love to others.  You need to regularly feast upon the very Body and Blood of your Lord given to you under the elements and Word of His Supper for the assurance of your forgiveness, and strengthening your faith against the enemies around you.

            Is your heart still beating and your lungs still drawing breath dear child of God?  Then you need to be fed in God’s grace and be comforted and strengthened as you travel in this fallen and cursed world.  Come, be fed and comforted in your Lord’s Presence.



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