Not a Better Christ, but the Same Christ, Better

Robert Bruce on the Receiving Christ in the Supper
Dec. 27, 2017 | Joshua Hinson
Sinclair Ferguson’s quotation of the Scottish Reformer Robert Bruce was the basis for our meditation at the Lord’s Table on December 17th. Ferguson writes:

“Of course we do not get a different or better Christ in the sacraments than we do in the Word, as Robert Bruce well said. But we may get the same Christ better, with a firmer grasp of his grace through seeing, touching, feeling, and tasting as well as hearing:”

Therefore I say, we get no other thing in the Sacrament than we get in the Word. Content yourself with this. But if this is so, the Sacrament is not superfluous.


Would you understand then, what new thing you get, what other things you get? I will tell you. Even if you get the same thing which you get in the Word, yet you get that same thing better. What is this “better”? You get a better grip of the same thing in the Sacrament than you got by the hearing of the Word. That same thing which you possess by the hearing of the Word, you now possess more fully. God has more room in your soul, through your receiving of the Sacrament, than he could otherwise have by your hearing of the Word only. What then, you ask, is the new thing we get? We get Christ better than we did before. We get the thing which we had more fully, that is, with a surer apprehension than we had before. We get a better grip of Christ now, for by the Sacrament my faith is nourished, the bounds of my soul are enlarged, and so where I had but a little grip of Christ before, as it were, between my finger and my thumb, now I get him in my whole hand, and indeed the more my faith grows, the better grip I get of Christ Jesus. Thus the Sacrament is very necessary, if only for the reason that we get Christ better, and get a firmer grasp of him by the Sacrament than we could have before.

Robert Bruce, The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper. Quoted in Sinclair Ferguson, The Whole Christ, pp. 223-224.

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