18 July 2020

Bavinck on the Value of the Sacraments

[T]he sacraments have great value. Because we are not [disembodied] spirits but sensuous earthly creatures who can only understand spiritual things when they come to us in humanly perceptible forms, God instituted the sacraments in order that by seeing those signs we might gain a better insight into his benefits, receive a stronger confirmation of his promises, and thus be supported and strengthened in our faith. The sacraments do not work faith but reinforce it, as a wedding ring reinforces love. They do not infuse physical grace but confer the whole Christ, whom believers already possess by the Word. They bestow on them that same Christ in another way and by another road and so strengthen the faith. Furthermore, they renew the believers’ covenant with God, strengthen them in the communion of Christ, join them more closely to each other, set them apart from the word, and witness to angels and their fellow human beings, [showing] that they are the people of God, the church of Christ, the communion of the saints” (Reformed Dogmatics, vol 4, 489-490).


Herman Bavinck Theology Sacraments Church


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