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Packer on Communion

J. I. Packer has a wonderful essay on the Lord’s Supper titled “The Gospel and the Lord’s Supper” in Serving the People of God: Collected Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer, Vol 2 (I have the Paternoster edition, but it is published this side of the pond by Regent).

In the original article he is addressing some specific issues in Anglicanism, but it is quite applicable to all evangelicals. He expounds the gospel in contrast to some competing gospels (Barth, Hick, popular self-help) and discusses how the Supper is to be a reminder of the true gospel. It is a great, short read.

Here are some quotes to entice you.

“The Lord’s Supper is about the Gospel of the marvelous sovereign grace of God, saving sinners who are fundamentally and radically bad until grace finds them and makes them new.” (46)

“What we need more than anything else at the Lord’s Table is a fresh grasp of the glorious truth that we sinners are offered mercy through faith in the Christ who forgives and restores, out of which faith comes all the praise that we offer and all the service that we render. . . . for this everlasting gospel of salvation for sinners is what in Scripture the Lord’s Supper is all about.” (49)

“We are also to learn the divinely intended discipline of drawing assurance from the sacrament. We should be saying in our hearts, ‘As sure as I see and touch and taste this bread and this wine, so sure is it that Jesus Christ is not a fancy but a fact, that he is for real, and that he offers me himself to be my Saviour, my Bread of Life, and my Guide to glory. He has left me this rite, this gesture, this token, this ritual action as a guarantee of this grace; He instituted it, and it is a sign of life-giving union with him, and I’m taking part in it, and thus I know that I am his and he is mine forever.’ That is the assurance that we should be drawing from our sharing in the Lord’s Supper every time we come to the table.” (50)

“A strange perverse idea has got into Anglican hearts that the Lord’s Supper is a flight of the alone to the Alone; it is my communion I come to make, not our communion in which I come to share. You can’t imagine a more radical denial of the Gospel than that.” (50)

“At the Holy Table, above all, let there be praise!” (51)

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