We believe that God has given the church 2 sacraments as signs to remember and seals to confirm His promises to us and our children. They should be used to strengthen our faith in Him. These sacraments are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called communion)
What the Lord has revealed to us in His Word about holy baptism can be summarised in this way:
First: Baptism teaches that we and our children are sinful from the time of conception and birth. This means that we are all under the judgement of God and for that reason cannot be members of His kingdom unless we are born again. Baptism teaches that sin has made us so impure that we must undergo a cleansing which only God can accomplish. Therefore, we ought to be displeased with ourselves, humble ourselves and turn to God for our salvation.
Second: Baptism is a sign and seal that our sins are washed away through Jesus Christ. For this reason we are baptised into the name of God, the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our baptism into the name of God the Father is His assurance to us that He makes an everlasting covenant of grace with us and adopts us as His children and heirs. Therefore, He surrounds us with His goodness and protects us from evil or turns it to our benefit. When we are baptised into the name of the Son, we are assured by Christ Himself that He washes us in His blood from all our sins. Christ joins us to Himself so that we share in His death and resurrection. Through this union with Christ we are liberated from our sins and regarded as righteous before God. Baptism into the name of the Holy Spirit is the assurance that the Spirit of God makes His home within us. While living within us, the Spirit continually works to strengthen and deepen our union with Christ. He makes Christâ€™s work of washing away our sins a reality in our lives. He also helps us each day to live the new life we have in Christ till we shall one Day be presented without the stain of sin among the assembly of the elect in life eternal.
Third: Because all covenants have two sides, baptism also places us under obligation to live in obedience to God. We must cling to this one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must trust Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We must abandon our sinful way of life, put to death our old nature, and show by our lives that we belong to God. If we through weakness should fall into sin, we must not despair of Godâ€™s grace, nor use our weakness as an excuse to keep on sinning.
Baptism is a seal and totally reliable witness that God is always faithful to His covenant. Our children should not be denied the sacrament of baptism because of their inability to understand its meaning. Without their knowledge, our children not only share in Adamâ€™s condemnation, but are also received into Godâ€™s favour in Christ. Godâ€™s gracious attitude toward us and our children is revealed in what He said to Abraham, the father of all believers: â€œI will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after youâ€. The apostle Peter also confirms this with these words, â€œThe promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off â€“ for all whom the Lord our God will callâ€. Therefore God formerly commanded that children be circumcised as a seal of the covenant and as a declaration that righteousness comes by faith. Christ also recognised that children are members of the covenant people when He took them in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. Since baptism has replaced circumcision, our children should be baptised as heirs of Godâ€™s kingdom and of His covenant. It is the sacred duty of believing parents, aided by these great promises, to bring up their children instructing them in the fear of the Lord, by prayer and example of Christian living, and so by the Spirit of God leads them to conversion and faith.
In the night before He went to the cross, â€œâ€¦ Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, â€˜Take and eat, this is My body.â€™ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, â€˜Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Fatherâ€™s kingdomâ€™â€.
Godâ€™s Word commands all believers to proclaim Christâ€™s death at this communion. Until He comes again, we are to remember Him under the signs of bread and wine, which represent His body crucified, and His blood poured out, for our sins. Thus this Supper first of all tells us that Jesus as the good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep. â€œâ€¦ He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Himâ€¦â€ At this table, we, with the hand and mouth of faith, through the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit, truly receive Christ who gave Himself on earth in the sacrifice of the cross, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. This Supper also speaks to us of the fellowship we have with one another. It is one table around which we meet, one bread that we eat, and one wine which we drink. The Holy Spirit, who unites us with our exalted Saviour, also binds us together in brotherly love. Thus, around the Lordâ€™s Table we give visible expression to that Body of which He is the Head and we are the members.
And so, living from forgiving grace, we extend forgiveness to one another. As He served us, we are each otherâ€™s servants. As He loved us first, we love one another. As He intercedes for us, we pray for one another. Finally, the celebration of the Lordâ€™s Supper makes us look ahead with deep longing towards the Day of the Lordâ€™s coming again. In the night before His death He said that He would not eat the Passover again with His followers â€œuntil it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of Godâ€ joyfully we confess that the promised kingdom has begun to come with power: in the glory of Christâ€™s resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is in that kingdom that our exalted Lord already has His supper with His Church on earth.
Yet, as we struggle to make His royal claims known to a rebelling world, we eagerly await that final fulfilment when He will appear before all eyes and hand over the kingdom â€“ completed! â€“ to God the Father, so that God may be all in all. Thus, we celebrate the wedding feast of the Lamb here on earth as a foretaste and assurance of the perfect joy to come. â€œBlessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!â€