06 October, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: The Body and Blood of Christ

When seeing these signs, the communicant must not end in them mentally, but must proceed to the matter signified, that is, to the body and blood of Christ--broken and shed to satisfy God's justice for the sins of believers. Thus, he must unite the sign to the matter signified. One must not do so on the basis of his own imagination, for then he would be able to ascend to the suffering and death of Christ by way of the physical; rather, one ought to do so upon the basis of Christ's institution. It is thus not a union established by way of human imagination, but it is a union in the true sense of the word. However, it is not a local or physical union, but a spiritual union which has its foundation and derives its veracity from Christ's institution. This union therefore does not relate to the substances of bread and wine as they are in the dish and in the cup at that moment, that is, apart from being used in the sacrament. Instead, this union comes about when the communicant, by virtue of Christ's institution, exercises faith, taking note of the instituted relationship between the sign and the matter signified. This is similar to a stone which, taken from a pile and placed as a boundary marker upon the land, is not changed as far as its nature is concerned, but as to how it is viewed (II: 532-533).

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