What is a sacrament? 
A. sacrament is a sacred act  
B. instituted by God, 
C. in which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to a visible element, 
D. and by which He offers, gives, and seals the forgiveness of sins earned by Christ. 
Note: The word sacrament come to us from the Latin Bible, where it translates the Greek word mystery. 
At first this word described all the saving truths of the faith, such as the Trinity, the incarnation, the redemption, the church 
(see for instance 1 Cor. 4:1; Eph. 5:32 and 1 Tim. 3:16). Later it was narrowed down to our present sense. 
  
How many such sacraments are there? 
By this definition there are two sacraments: Holy Baptism and the Lords Supper.  
Why are we to treasure the sacraments, when water, bread, and wine are such common elements? 
"The sacraments and all the external things ordained and instituted by God should be regarded not according to the gross, 
external mask (as we see the shell of a nut) 
but as that in which God's Word is enclosed"  
(Large Catechism IV 19) 


  
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY BAPTISM 
  
Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water 
included in God's command and combined with God's  
word. 
  
Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: 
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, bap- 
tizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son  
and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 28:19) 
  
Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: 
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but 
whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16) 
  
Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and  
with the water does these things, along with the faith  
which trusts this word of God in the water. For without 
 God's word the water is plain water and no Baptism. 
But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is , a life- 
giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the  
new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter 
three: 
"He saved us through the washing of rebirth and  
renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us 
generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, 
having been justified by His grace, we might become 
heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trust- 
worthy saying." (Titus 3:5-8)  
  
It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily  
contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all 
sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily  
emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness 
and purity forever. 
  
St. Paul writes in Romans chapter six: "We were  
therefore buried with Him through baptism into death 
 in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead 
through the glory of the Father, we to may live a new life." (Rom. 6:4) 
  


What is the Sacrament of the altar? 
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink. 
  
  
Where is this written? 
The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul write: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” 
In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 
  
  
What is the benefit of this eating and drinking? 
These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. 
  
  
How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things? 
Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sins.” 
  
  
Who receives this sacrament worthily? 
Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.