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Page 459

must request God's grace, but the participant in the Lord's Supper must possess God's grace.

In conclusion, therefore, when persons desire to make public confession of faith, the church needs to stress that they should make confession of saving faith, for without it, membership in the Church Invisible (the number of the saved) is impossible. However, the church may not refuse the benefits of Church Visible membership (see Chapter 24 for an explanation of these benefits) to those seriously desiring it. These are all persons who outwardly live a life according to God's commandments and desire to personally accept the responsibilities of their baptism and church membership vows, confess the truth of God's Word, live with the church, and obey its discipline. All such must be warmly received as members of the Church Visible, but lovingly instructed, directed, and urged toward the necessity of saving membership in the Church Invisible.

The privilege of making outward confession of faith and receiving confessing membership status in the Church Visible is a wonderful and undeserved privilege; yet it is a non-saving and temporal one. The saving and eternal privileges of membership in the Church Invisible far surpass the temporal ones in beauty, greatness, and importance.

The observance of the Lord's Supper and the personal examination it requires lay repeated stress upon the necessity of personal, experiential conversion to God. This leads us into our study of the Lord's Supper.

THE LORD'S SUPPER

The Lord Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper and baptism as the two non-bloody forms of sacraments to be observed by the New Testament church. Both circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New picture spiritual birth being possible only through the cleansing power of shed blood -the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Each is administered only once in a person's life, picturing thereby one's spiritual birth. Both the Passover and the

Membership in the Church Visible is a great privilege, but not necessarily a saving one? Why?




Infant baptism reflects a walking by faith, but only adult believers' baptism is a walking by faith. Why?


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