5 Questions about the Sacraments

1. What is a sacrament?

A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. God gives us the sign as a means by which we receive that grace and as a tangible assurance that we do in fact receive it. (Gen. 17:1–21; John 6:53–58; Rom. 2:25–29; 1 Cor. 10:16; 1662 Catechism)

2. How should you receive the sacraments?

I should receive the sacraments by faith in Christ, with repentance and thanksgiving. Faith in Christ is necessary to receive the grace of the sacraments, and obedience to Christ is necessary for the benefits of the sacraments to bear fruit in my life. (Mark 16:16; John 6:52–58; Acts 2:38–47; 1 Cor. 11:27–32; 1662 Catechism; Articles of Religion, 28)

To Be a Christian

J. I. Packer, Joel Scandrett, Anglican Church in North America

With 360+ pairs of questions and answers, as well as Scripture references to support each teaching, this catechism instructs new believers and church members in the core beliefs of Christianity from an Anglican perspective.

3. What sacraments were ordained by Christ?

The two sacraments ordained by Christ that are “generally necessary to salvation” (1662 Catechism) are Baptism and Holy Communion (also called the Lord’s Supper or the Holy Eucharist). These are sometimes called “sacraments of the Gospel.” (Articles of Religion, 25; see also Matt. 28:19–20; Luke 22:14–20; John 6:52–58; 1 Cor. 11:23–26; 2 Cor. 1:21–22)

I should receive the sacraments by faith in Christ, with repentance and thanksgiving.

4. Are there other sacraments?

Other rites and institutions commonly called sacraments include confirmation (2 Tim. 1:6–7; Heb. 6:1–2), ordination (Num. 8:9–14; 27:18–23; 1 Tim. 4:14), marriage (Gen. 2:18–24; Matt. 19:4–6; John 2:1–11), absolution ( John 20:21–23; Acts 2:37– 41), and the anointing of the sick ( James 5:14). These are sometimes called “sacraments of the Church.”

5. How do these differ from the sacraments of the Gospel?

They were not ordained by Christ as necessary to salvation, but arose from the practices of the apostles and the Early Church, or were blessed by God in Scripture. God clearly uses them as means of grace. (Articles of Religion, 25)

This article is adapted from How to Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism.

Related Articles

Related Resources

Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.org/about.