Given for you. Shed for you. For the remission of sins. — Luke 22:19, 20 and Matthew 26:28.
If in true faith we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. This is most certainly true. But how can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Thus, with scorn and disdain, those who reject the Scriptural doctrine of the Means of Grace ask us. And now we join Dr. Luther in asking this question, in order to arrive at a clear understanding in this matter. Mere eating and drinking in itself surely has not the power to do these great things. There is no doubt about that. But through the words of Christ: “Given and shed for you for the remission of sins,” yes, indeed, by the virtue of these words, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are not only contained in the Lord’s Supper, but offered to everyone that eats and drinks.
Hence, beside the bodily eating and drinking, these words are the chief thing in the Sacrament. But only such actually receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation as eat and drink not only in a natural manner, but also spiritually, that is to say, such as believe the words of promise. Every one (including hypocrites) to whom the Lord’s Supper is distributed in accordance with His institution receives the body and blood of Christ under the bread and wine. But the benefit, the blessed benefit of it, namely, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, is received only by him who believes the words of promise: “Given and shed for you for the remission of sins.”
Whoever eats and drinks unworthily, that is to say, without believing the words of promise, him God will visit in wrath and judgment, for he is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord!
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, I thank Thee that in the words of institution Thou hast clearly and unmistakably stated what Thou dost give me in the Holy Supper, namely, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. O my dear Savior, grant me Thy Holy Spirit, that I may fasten my eyes on Thy words, gathering comfort therefrom in true faith, and thus obtaining blessing lasting through all eternity by partaking of Thy Holy Supper. Amen.
For His true body, as He said,
And His true blood, for sinners shed,
In this communion we receive,
His sacred Word we do believe.
A precious food this is indeed,
It never faileth, such we need,
A heavenly manna for our soul,
That we may safely reach our goal
Hymn 434, 4. 5. (ELHB)