Gospel sacraments

Vander Zee emphasizes that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper “are gospel sacraments. They are signs and seals of the salvation we have in Christ. If one believes, for example, that this salvation is mediated through the apostolic authority of the church, then sacraments become ways in which that grace is controlled and distributed by the church. If a human decision of faith brings about our salvation, then the sacraments become testimonies to a personal faith and devotional aids to the growth of that faith. If, however, reconciliation is accomplished for all people in Jesus Christ as a gift of grace, then sacraments are powerful declarations, alongside the preaching of the gospel, of our new humanity in Christ, which we receive, as we receive the gospel declaration itself, by faith. In the sacraments we acknowledge in faith that whatever happens to Christ also happens to us. Baptism plunges us into the waters of his vicarious human life, uniting us and identifying us with this new humanity. The Lord’s Supper feeds us with Christ, participating in his perfect human life, death, resurrection and ascension in the bread and the wine.”