Eucharist as Absolution

Commenting on Mark 14:24, Calvin writes:

Which is shed for many. By the word many he means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race; for he contrasts many with one; as if he had said, that he will not be the Redeemer of one man only, but will die in order to deliver many from the condemnation of the curse. It must at the same time be observed, however, that by the words for you, as related by Luke–Christ directly addresses the disciples, and exhorts every believer to apply to his own advantage the shedding of blood. Therefore, when we approach to the holy table, let us not only remember in general that the world has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, but let every one consider for himself that his own sins have been expiated.

Now that’s a pastoral application! The sacraments are gospel. Each of us, in particular, are called to believe that our sins have been expiated, and the Eucharist is a promise that this is true.

This all works because of Calvin’s definition of faith. For him, it includes assurance. You are sure that Christ paid for your sins. The gospel is objective. It is what you place your faith in.

In other words, it isn’t that your faith is sure in itself, that you yourself have already been regenerated or that you have “true faith”, but rather you are sure that the message is true, and that being sure just is faith.

Now Pastors, go preach this. Go show this.

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