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New City Catechism - Question 47
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Posted by Ed Fedor, Associate Pastor


New City Catechism - Question 47


Q47: Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

A: No, Christ died once for all. The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves.


Kids’ Answer:

No, Christ died once for all.



Romans 3:28

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.


1 Cor. 11:17-34



God, in his infinite, perfect, and exhaustive foreknowledge knew before he created anything that his crowning creation, human beings, would fall into sin. And God had a plan from the beginning to make a way for sinners to be reconciled with him. His plan was to send his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the one perfect atoning sacrifice that would purchase the salvation of all who would believe. And “while we were still weak [in our sin], at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). All that was necessary for the salvation of sinners was accomplished when Jesus, the divine Son of God, took on flesh, lived a life without sin, took our sin on himself on the cross, died, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. Nothing else was needed and nothing else could add anything, not the least thing, to the completed atoning work of Christ. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).


The Lord’s Supper was ordained by Jesus so that disciples of Christ would not add anything to Christ’s finished work, but to remember the once-for-all death and resurrection of Christ. We eat the bread and drink the cup to reverently remember the body and blood of Christ that was laid down for us for our salvation. It’s a meal that encourages us and blesses us whenever we share in it with the brethren. However, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are to also pay attention to the condition of our hearts and lives before we share in it. He writes,


Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
(1 Corinthians 11:27–30, ESV)


Paul’s warns us not to participate in it with significant unconfessed sin in our life, bitterness or hatred toward another believer, or simply as a rote ritual, going through the motions, and so on. If we do, we’re guilty of dishonoring the body and blood of Christ. So before you partake of the Lord’s Supper next time, prepare your heart. Confess and repent of any known sin and treat this sacred meal with the highest reverence and gratitude.



"We believe that the Lord's Supper and Water Baptism by immersion are ordinances to be observed by the church during this present age.  They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation."  (Mt. 28:191 Cor. 11:23-26)


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