Lord's Supper - Keys of the Kingdom

The Heidelberg Catechism
Question 82:
Are those to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they say and do that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
Answer: No, that would dishonour God’s covenant and bring down God’s anger upon the entire congregation. Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and His apostles, the Christian church is duty bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom, until they reform their lives.

Lord's Supper - Keys of the Kingdom
Observations: The Reformed Church was known for teaching grace, but at the same time God’s grace isn’t cheap. God only offers his grace to those who believe in Jesus Christ and repent from their sins. There is no salvation apart from repentance and faith. And that affects who may partake in the Lord’s Supper. Those ‘who show by what they say and do that they are unbelieving and ungodly… dishonour God’s covenant,’ and ought to be excluded from the Lord’s Supper. This is done ‘by the official use of the keys of the kingdom.’ According to Q&A 83 the keys of the kingdom are ‘the holy gospel and Christian discipline.’ The gospel is that through faith in Christ’s death God forgives all our sins. Heaven is open to those who believe in Christ, but it is closed to those who reject the gospel. This is true for those who profess to be non-Christians as well as those who profess to be Christians. For those professing to be Christians who live unchristian lives and who reject the admonition of the church are excluded from the Lord’s Supper and from God’s kingdom. The goal of both the gospel and church discipline is to bring people to repentance and faith, the key that opens the kingdom.

Application: In the time of the Reformation excluding people from the Lord’s Supper was seen as a big deal, it meant being excluded from the church community. But today people have a tendency to just go to another church. However, the church is called by God to preach the gospel and to encourage people towards faith and repentance. Where there is no faith or repentance there is no communion with Christ. That means that the church is called to confront sin in people’s lives and when if there is repentance there is celebration, but where there is hardness of heart there is discipline and prayer that God would be merciful and lead them to repentance. That is why we encourage people to search their heart before they partake of the Lord’s Supper, and if we are aware of unrepentant sin we exclude them from partaking.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it’s not easy to see into the hearts of others, and sometimes it’s not easy to see into my own heart. But Lord I do love Jesus and I believe that it is only through His sacrifice on the cross that my sins are forgiven. Lord, if there are any sins in my life that I haven’t repented of, I ask that You will convict me that I will confess and receive Your forgiveness. I know that I am not righteous in myself, and so I put my faith in the righteousness of Jesus. May Your grace lead me to repentance and a life that brings You honour and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.



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