1. All the sacraments of the new covenant have been instituted by Christ and are seven in number: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and marriage.2. These are all true sacraments, essentially different from those of the old covenant, but differing among themselves in value.3. Though not all of them are necessary for the salvation of every individual, they are necessary for salvation, so that without them or without the desire for them, by faith alone, that is, the grace of justification cannot be obtained.4. They not only signify grace but also contain it and communicate it 'through the act performed' (ex opere operato).5. For the sacrament to be authentic, it is at least required of the administrators of the sacraments that they have the intention of doing what the church does, but for the rest it is immaterial whether or not they exist in a state of mortal sin.6. The lawful administrators of the sacraments are only the ordained priests, but confirmation and holy orders are only performed by the bishop, and in case of emergency baptism may be administered also by laypersons.7. Recipients are only required to have the intention to receive what the church bestows and not to put any obstacle in the way of grace.8. Every sacrament supplies a special grace; and baptism, confirmation, and holy orders supply an 'indelible character' (character indelebilis).
1. Baptism. According to Rome, baptism "not only takes away all the guilt and punishment of sin but also frees believers from the pollution of sin, [and] implants the principle of grace and holiness… in the soul by regeneration… Just as Adam entered into a higher world… by means of the superadded gift, so the baptized are elevated to the status of supernatural sanctity. But just as Adam had to preserve the grace conferred by his free will, so also Christians must appropriate baptismal grace by their free will.2. Confirmation. "Aside from the laying on of hands, confirmation further consists in anointing with oil and in the pronouncement of a formula by the bishop… According to Rome, this sacrament imparts to baptized children, when they have reached the age at which they can use their reason, the power of the Holy Spirit so as to preserve the life of grace received in baptism" (pp. 491-492).3. The Eucharist (Mass). "In this sacrament Christ himself is present with both his divine and human natures, sacrifices himself bloodlessly for sins, and gives his true body and blood to communicants for the nourishment of their souls" (p. 492). 4. Penance. Since "the life of grace can be harmed by a wide variety of sins and even be lost… Christ has instituted a fourth sacrament, that of penance, in order to restore or renew his saving grace… In the Roman view, accordingly, the sacrament of penance became a court of law in which the priest judges… the sins confessed, and though absolving penitents from guilt and eternal punishment, he nevertheless imposes a wide range of penalties on earth or in purgatory. These penalties, however, can then again be remitted by means of indulgences" (pp. 492-493). 5. Extreme unction. This sacrament serves "to prepare the dying person for death. The anointing with holy olive oil denotes the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the communication of grace, which frees the soul from its defects and confers the strength needed for the final struggle" (p. 493).6. Holy orders. This sacrament "distinguishes the priest from the layperson by an office-enhancing gift of the Holy Spirit and confers on him the power to change the bread and wine of the Mass into the body and blood of Christ and to forgive, in Christ’s name, the sins of the penitent sinner" (p. 493).7. Matrimony. The sacrament of marriage "not only unites the spouses by natural ties but also by supernatural grace and gives them the strength to persevere in mutual love until death and to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord" (p. 493).
1. "Noteworthy in this connection is first of all that God is mentioned as the one who instituted the sacraments… He alone is the possessor and distributor of all grace. He alone can determine to what means he will bind himself in the distribution of his grace" (pp. 473-474). 2. In opposition to Rome, the Reformed pointed out that "Christ did not institute any sacraments other than baptism and the Lord’s Supper" (p. 474). These are the only two sacraments of the New Covenant. 3. In contrast to Rome, the Reformed defined grace differently, and more biblically. "Grace, certainly, is not a material something, but the favor and fellowship of God, something that is inseparable from God and therefore cannot be imparted by a creature, either a human or an angel. For that reason God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is the only 'institutor' but also the only 'distributor' of the sacrament. Only that sacrament is true that is administered by God himself. It is Christ himself who baptizes and celebrates the Lord’s Supper in his church… even though it is true that in this connection he also employs humans as his instruments" (p. 474).4. Sacraments are signs. "Now sacraments are among the instituted extraordinary signs that God has taken—not arbitrarily but according to an analogy preformed by him—from among visible things and uses for the designation and clarification of invisible and eternal goods" (p. 476). 5. Sacraments are seals. "Aside from being signs, the sacraments are also seals that serve to confirm and strengthen. Seals, after all, are distinguished from signs by the fact that they do not just bring the invisible matter to mind but also validate and confirm it. Inasmuch as there is so much deception and falsehood in the world, all sorts of means are used to distinguish the true from the false, the genuine from the spurious" (p. 476). "Aside from being signs, therefore, sacraments are also seals that God attaches to his word in order to highlight its trustworthiness, not of course to the Word as such, for as the word of God it is reliable enough, but for our benefit and to our mind" (p. 477).6. Sacraments unite God's action with our confession. "In the sacrament God first comes to believers to signify and seal his benefits. He assures them with visible pledges that he is their God and the God of their children. He attaches seals to his Word to strengthen their faith in that Word (Gen. 9:11–15; 17:11; Exod. 12:13; Mark 1:4; 16:16; Luke 22:19; Rom. 4:11; and so forth). On the other hand, the sacraments are also acts of confession. In them believers confess their conversion, their faith, their obedience, their communion with Christ and with each other. While God assures them that he is their God, they solemnly testify that they are his children. Every observance of the sacrament is an act of covenant renewal, a vow of faithfulness, an oath that obligates those who take it to engage in the service of Christ (Mark 1:5; 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:37; Rom. 6:3ff.; 1 Cor. 10:16ff.)" (pp. 475-476).
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