8 The sacraments

472 What are sacraments?


Sacraments are fundamental acts of God’s grace. In these holy acts—which are performed by human beings upon human beings—God grants the recipient salvation.


Salvation: see Question 243→ et seq.

473 What is the purpose of the sacraments?


The sacraments allow human beings to attain salvation: through them, human beings are adopted into the fellowship of life with God and preserved in it.

Receiving the three sacraments of Holy Baptism with water, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion gives a human being the opportunity to be united with the Lord at the return of Christ.


Return of Christ: see Question 550→ et seq.

474 What comprises a sacrament?


A sacrament is comprised of four elements: sign, content, dispenser, and faith.

475 What is the “sign” in a sacrament?


The “sign” is the visible element of a sacrament. In the case of Holy Baptism with water it is the water. In Holy Communion the “sign” is comprised of the bread and wine. In Holy Sealing, the “sign” is the laying on of hands of the Apostle.

476 What is the “content” in a sacrament?


The “content” is the effect that imparts salvation. In Holy Baptism with water, the “content” is the washing away of original sin and the fact that the baptised now enters into the proximity of God. In Holy Communion, it is partaking in the body and blood of Jesus. In Holy Sealing, the content is that the believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

477 Who is the “dispenser” in a sacrament?


The “dispenser” is the person who imparts the sacrament. The Apostles dispense all three sacraments. By commission of the Apostle, the priestly ministers dispense Holy Baptism with water and Holy Communion.

478 What is the significance of “faith” in a sacrament?


Human beings can only receive the sacrament for their salvation if they believe in its effect.

479 Which sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ?


Jesus Christ instituted three sacraments: Holy Baptism with water, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion.


Holy Baptism with water: see Questions 481→ et seq. Holy Sealing: see Questions 515→ et seq. Holy Communion: see Questions 494→ et seq.

“And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”  1 John 5: 7, 8

480 To whom did Jesus entrust the administration of the sacraments?


Jesus Christ entrusted the administration of the sacraments to the Apostles.

481 What occurs in Holy Baptism with water?


Through Holy Baptism with water a fundamental change in the relationship between a human being and God comes into being. Through the washing away of original sin, the baptised is led out of his original state of remoteness from God and enters the proximity of God. He becomes a Christian.

Through his faith and profession of Christ, the baptised now belongs to the church of Christ.

482 What is the meaning of “original sin”?


“Original sin” is the condition of separation from God (remoteness from God) that came into being through the fall into sin. Since the fall into sin, sin has weighed upon all human beings (cf. Genesis 3: 20; Psalm 51: 7; Romans 5: 12, 18-19). Every human being is thus a sinner even before he is capable of acting or thinking.


The fall into sin: see Question 88→ et seq.

483 What does the water of Holy Baptism signify?


Water is a prerequisite for life and a means of purification. In baptism, water is the outward sign for the inner purification of a human being.

484 Are there any references to Holy Baptism with water in the Old Testament?


Yes, the deliverance of Noah in the ark, which was carried on the water, is a reference to Holy Baptism with water. The sevenfold immersion of Naaman in the water of the Jordan (cf. 2 Kings 5: 1-14) can also be seen as a symbol for the washing away of original sin in baptism.

“...when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism.”  1 Peter 3: 20,21

485 Did Jesus also have to be baptised?

It was not necessary for Jesus Christ to be baptised, nevertheless He submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist. In so doing He put Himself on the same level as sinners. He thereby showed the way in which righteousness before God can be attained (cf. Matthew 3: 15).
The baptism of John was only a baptism unto repentance. It is a reference to the sacrament of Holy Baptism with water, which is performed in the name of the triune God.

Righteousness before God: see explanation of Question 278→ Repentance: see Questions 136→651→

486 What did Jesus say to His disciples concerning baptism?


After His resurrection, Jesus gave His Apostles the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19). Baptism is thus one of the tasks of the Apostles.

When the New Testament speaks of “baptism”, it is often referring to a twopart baptism, namely with water and with the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 8: 14 et seq.). Holy Baptism with water and the baptism of the Spirit are thus closely linked.


Great Commission: see Questions 159→434→

“He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptised?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptised with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”  Acts 19: 2-6

487 Who can receive Holy Baptism with water?


All human beings can receive Holy Baptism with water. The prerequisite is that they believe in Jesus Christ and His gospel.

488 How is Holy Baptism with water dispensed?


Baptism is performed with water and dispensed in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The water used for baptism is consecrated in the name of the triune God. The baptising minister then uses the consecrated water to make the sign of the cross three times on the forehead of the person being baptised while speaking the words: “I baptise you in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

If the baptism is thus dispensed with water and in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (“rite”), it is valid and can unfold to its proper effect.

The designation “rite” is from the Latin and means “in the proper form”, or “conforming to the rite”.

489 Why can children be baptised?


The statement of Jesus: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10: 14) indicates that the blessings of God should also be made accessible to children. This includes the sacraments.

The New Testament attests that entire households were baptised together: “And immediately he and all his family were baptised...” (Acts 16: 33; cf. also 16: 15). Households and families include children. From this the Christian tradition of baptising children has developed.

Moreover, when children are baptised, those entitled to raise them profess belief in Jesus Christ on their behalf and take responsibility for the religious education of their children in the sense of the gospel.

“Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptised.”
Acts 18: 8

490 What are the effects of Holy Baptism with water?


Holy Baptism with water signifies the end of a life in remoteness from God and the beginning of a life in Christ. It imparts strength to wage the battle against sin.
Baptism performed in the name of the Trinity is a binding element among Christians. Those baptised in the New Apostolic Church are entitled to partake regularly in Holy Communion.


Holy Baptism with water: see Questions 481→ et seq. New covenant: see explanation of Question 175→

The term “Trinitarian” (Latin trinitas) refers to the divine Trinity. To be baptised in the name of the Trinity is to be baptised in the name of the triune God. The baptised is baptised using the so-called “Trinitarian formula”, that is, in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

491 What is the relationship between Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing?


Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing are two distinct sacraments, however they are closely linked to one another: by receiving both sacraments, the individual is reborn out of water and the Holy Spirit. In the process, Holy Baptism with water precedes Holy Sealing.


Rebirth out of water and the Spirit: see Question 528→ et seq.

492 Who is entitled to perform Holy Baptism with water?

The Risen Son of God gave His Apostles the mandate to perform baptism (cf. Matthew 28: 18-20). In the New Apostolic Church, the Apostles have also assigned the authority to baptise with water to the priestly ministers.

493 Are baptisms performed in other Christian denominations valid?


Yes, the dispensation of Holy Baptism with water is possible and effective in all parts of the one church of Christ. Baptism with water is the first step on the way to perfect redemption. Wherever believers are baptised with water and in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the baptism is valid. Baptism with water has been entrusted to the church as a whole. The reason for this lies in God’s universal will to save.


The church of Christ: see Question 365→ et seq. Redemption: see Questions 89→ 90→108→109→215→,  216→

494 From what does the term 'Lord's Supper' derive?


The term ‘supper’ refers to the circumstances in which Jesus Christ instituted this sacrament: on the evening before His crucifixion He celebrated the Passover meal with His Apostles.

On the evening before their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites celebrated the first Passover meal at the instruction of God. A lamb without blemish was slaughtered and prepared. With it, the Israelites ate unleavened bread. God commanded that the Passover be celebrated annually in order to commemorate the people’s liberation from Egypt.

495 What other designations are used in reference to Holy Communion?


Holy Communion is also known as the “Eucharist” (from a Greek word which means: “to give thanks”), the “Lord’s Supper”, or the “breaking of bread”.

496 Is there a relationship between the Passover meal and Holy Communion?


Yes, there is a relationship: according to the account of first three gospels, Jesus instituted Holy Communion with His Apostles during the Passover meal. Like the Passover, the Lord’s Supper is also a meal of commemoration. The Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from captivity in Egypt. Holy Communion refers to deliverance in a much broader sense, namely to the redemption of mankind from the bondage of sin.


Redemption: see Questions 89→, -90→108→-109→215→, -216→

497 Is Holy Communion attested anywhere else in the New Testament?


Yes, there is another reference to Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians 11: 23- 26: “...the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

These words are the basis for the text that is spoken during the consecration of Holy Communion.

‘Consecration’ is the act of lifting the bread and wine out of the domain of the earthly. It is associated with dedication and sanctification (see explanation of “Consecration” following Question 503→).

498 What do the elements of bread and wine signify?


The elements of bread and wine are both required for the celebration of Holy Communion. Bread, like wine, represents human sustenance. In Israel, wine is also a symbol of joy and future salvation.

The term ‘symbol’ comes from Greek and is often taken to mean “emblem”, or even “hallmark” or “characteristic”.

499 What does Holy Communion call to mind for the believer?


Holy Communion is a meal of remembrance: it calls to mind the death of Jesus Christ as a unique event that is valid for all times. Jesus Christ commissioned the Apostles to celebrate Holy Communion with the words: “Do this in remembrance of Me...” (Luke 22: 19).

500 What do those who partake in Holy Communion profess?


Those who partake in Holy Communion thereby profess their belief in the death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ. Those who regularly partake of Holy Communion in the New Apostolic Church thereby also profess their belief in the Apostles of Jesus active today. In this respect, Holy Communion is also a meal of profession.