Each of these errors will be examined in greater detail in the following chapters on baptism and the Lord's Supper.
The Calvinistic/Reformed/Presbyterian view of the sacraments teaches that the sacraments do not give grace nor does grace come with, in, or under the signs used. Yet it maintains the sealing power of the sacraments through a special presence of the Spirit at their administration. The fruits of spiritual strengthening and assurance are only experienced when received in true faith. While personal examination is required for sacrament participation (either personally or parentally) the church may only judge the outward appearance of its members, for God alone can judge the heart.
When the sacraments are being administered, God is testifying of His promise of salvation in Jesus Christ for repenting and believing sinners. Are you, by God's grace, a repenting and believing sinner? Is Jesus Christ, as He is proclaimed in the gospel and sealed in the sacraments, your deepest need and hope? Is He your only foundation for salvation?
Why must the focus of the sacraments be centered upon Christ and His Word, and not upon the Christian and his experience?
Questions from Rev. A. Hellenbroek's Divine Truths - Chapter XX
1. What means has God instituted to promote the work of sanctification?
The Word and sacraments.
2. What are sacraments?
Signs and seals of God's grace. "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith"(Romans 4:11).
3. What were the principal sacraments of the Old Testament?
Circumcision and the Passover.
4. On what day were children circumcised?
On the eighth day after their birth.
5. When was circumcision instituted?
In Abraham's time (Genesis 17).
6. When was the Passover instituted?
During the time of Moses, when Israel left Egypt (Exodus 12).
7. What did the children of Israel eat in the Passover?
8. Of whom was the lamb a type?
Of Christ. "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7).
9. How long did these sacraments continue?
Until the time of the New Testament dispensation.
10. How many sacraments are there under the New Testament?