I just read the eleventh chapter of Chemnitz “The Lord’s Supper.” He gets into some meat here. No longer is he talking only about what the Lord’s Supper is, but what it does. What it is, effects what it does. Water doesn’t fuel an internal combustion engine, gas does. Bread and wine alone don’t comfort the conscience, the body and blood of Christ do. Chemnitz here shows that the gospel is truly at stake in this controversy.
I am reminded or a certain “post evangelical,” who won’t hear Lutherans out on the sacraments, but yet will say that Lutherans are stronger on the gospel than evangelicals typically are. My thought is these two go hand in hand, the proclaimed gospel, and the sacraments. An improper understanding of the sacraments leads to, or betrays an already deficient understanding of the gospel. Yet where the sacraments are properly kept the gospel abides.
Here Chemnitz shows the connections. I plan on taking them one by one in a multi part series.
First Chemnitz brings to mind that “our faith ought to lay hold on Christ as God and man in that nature by which He has been made our neighbor, kinsman, and brother. For the life which belongs to the deity resides in and has in a sense been placed in the assumed humanity.” That is that we can no longer separate the divine and human natures of Christ. If he is present with us, then it is not only according to his divine nature, but also according to his human nature, the two are not separated. He is the God/man. Fully God fully man. God of God etc. So when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, Christ himself is present with us with both his diety and flesh. He comes to us both with his deity and flesh to lay hold of us, and joins us to himself as intimately as possible.
He comes to us in this manner, because we are not able to go to Him in heaven as of yet, still being burdened and weighed down by our sin and infirmities (Col. 2:8). So he comes to us and lays hold of us with that nature he shares with us, namely the human, as we are not divine.