Sacraments in Christianity are rites and ceremonies believed to impart spiritual benefits, graces and blessing to those receiving them. They are believed to have been specifically established by Jesus and mandated to be practiced by the church and all Christians. The number and definition of sacraments and the particular blessing they convey to recipients vary greatly among various denominations and church groups and mark a significant reason for all the divisions in Christendom.
On the other hand, there are large numbers of Christians who believe that all blessings and promises of Christ are gifts of God and received not only by sacraments, but by personal faith in the promises of the Lord Jesus.
This view has abundant support in the New Testament such as these verses in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works."
Futhermore, in the consideration and views of sacraments the most important one is quite often overlooked. Many passages in the New Testament make the point that the totality of human life should be a sacrament to God. For example, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 tells us, "there, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." and in Romans 12:1 we read, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."
These verses teach that the human body and ordinary and common activities of human life are sacred and therefore, should not be debased and perverted by immoral life styles beneath the human dignity God intended. God has created them for His glory and honor. In other words, it pleased God to put us in a human body and give us a wide variety of wonderful gifts such as creativity, procreation, secular productivity, appetites and other human instincts which were intended to draw us into thankfulness and worship.
The unique life of Jesus is the great example. Jesus ate, slept, worked as a carpenter, attended weddings and funerals and participated in almost every form of ordinary human activity and yet spoke these words in John 8:29, "Everything that I do pleases the Father."
We need not wait until we are in a great cathedral or a church building to participate in the greatest sacrament of all.
Redemption in Christ means that each day we have a new opportunity to honor and please God, elevating and celebrating the whole of life by the conscious presentation of our thoughts, our minds and our activities to His praise, honor and glory.
-- Pastor Gene Holman of
Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers'