In our last couple posts, we surveyed Paul’s instruction concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34. In this post, we want to come now to relate what’s been taught about the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
How They Differ
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ in two main ways:
- Baptism is a one-time only event. The Lord’s Supper is a repetitive reaffirmation of the faith that went public at baptism.
- Baptism is something the whole church does to an individual. The Lord’s Supper is something the whole church does as one. Baptism expresses an individual’s personal faith in Christ and commitment to His people gone public. The Lord’s Supper expresses a local church’s corporate reaffirmation of faith in Christ and commitment to His people. As one put it, ‘baptism binds one to many, (whereas) the Lord’s Supper binds many into one.’
How They’re Linked
They make the church visible. As we’ve learned, baptism is a church’s act of publicly affirming an individual’s faith in Christ by immersing them in water. It’s also that individual’s act (they are not passive in this event as some claim for infant baptism) of making their faith in Christ and commitment to His people public by the same means. That’s why baptism is, in essence, the entry point of church membership. It’s the front door into the house or family of God. It’s the Christian becoming a visible member of a covenanted group of Christians. Baptism marks off the believer from the world. It takes the one and binds them to the many.
The Lord’s Supper, however, takes the many and makes them one. It’s the whole church publicly reaffirming their faith in Christ. As baptism is the ‘initiating oath sign of the New Covenant,’ the Supper is the ‘renewing oath sign of the New Covenant.’ In baptism, a believer is united to a church. In the Lord’s Supper, believers, plural, are united as a church, one body. As baptism is the front door into the family of God, the Lord’s Supper is the family meal. It marks off the church from the world.
Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,