Sacramental Faith, Not Rationalism

Weintrauben Fläsch, by Martin Fisch.

It’s not about merely reflecting ourselves on the significance of the Cross: it’s about believing in the Holy Spirit working in the sacraments to connect us to Christ and produce the image of this Second Adam in us, because faith makes the sacraments our blessing and not our curse. For the power of God’s work must be applied to us objectively, not by our thought but by the truth of God’s faithful word.

As John Williamson Nevin claimed, Calvin and the Reformed had always taught Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist,

not simply as an object of thought or intelligence on the part of men, but in the way of actual communication on the part of Christ – a presence not conditioned by the relations of space, but transcending these altogether in a higher sphere of life; a presence, not material, but dynamic, like that of the root in its branches, and only the more intimate and deep by its distance from all that belongs to the experiment of sense.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. The Supper, then, renews and strengthens the mystical union of Christ with his Church. By this union will we share in the Resurrection of him who was crucified, dead and buried, then raised on the third day, by this union have a High Priest who can represent our very essence, by this union be reconciled to the Father despite the failure of our flesh, by this union live in the Second Adam as by the first Adam we died.

Spirit descends; people are raised up with Christ to the heavenlies. Behold the work of Christ, and receive the work of the Holy Spirit: Emmanuel.


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