Q: Why is it so important, especially for covenant children, to desire to partake of the Lord’s Supper?
This is quite a good question, which is, at the same time, somewhat misconceived. It is like asking why it is important for an undergrad to desire to have a graduate income. The right question, one might imagine, should be why the undergrad needs to graduate and enter the workforce.
Nevertheless, I suspect this question may be related to the call to covenant children to believe in Christ and confess their faith. Perhaps your question is not why it is vital for covenant children to make confession of faith because confessing your faith appears to you as merely a means to an end; the end being communion at the Lord’s Table. Or it could be that this question arose out of a situation where a covenant child has not been coming to the Lord’s Table, though he is a communicant member of the church. Either way, you are not sure why it matters whether anyone partakes of the Lord’s Supper or not. So, we must still address the question. But before I do that, I should briefly answer why (1) confessing your faith is essential, and (2) regular attendance at the means of grace is crucial.
In the first place, you need to make public confession of your faith because the apostle Paul says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:9-10). Make no mistake: Paul is not saying that you are saved by faith in Christ, plus the act of confessing with your mouth. Instead, he is saying that if you genuinely believe in Christ, then you will want to confess your faith; “For,” he adds, “the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom 10:11). One who is genuinely saved will be moved by gratitude and love for Christ to confess faith in Him.
In the second place, regular attendance in public worship and the public means of grace is crucial, for as our Confession teaches us, “[Outside] the visible church, … there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (WCF 25.2). A corollary of this verity is that it is a great sin to contemn or neglect the public ordinances appointed by Christ for His people (cf. WCF 26.5). Confessing covenant children, who for various reasons—including submission to their parent—choose not to come for public worship or partake of the Lord’s Supper, sin against the Lord and endamage their spiritual standing and assurance.
But now, why is it important for covenant children, or for that matter, any Christian, to desire to partake of the Lord’s Supper? Our Confession of Faith, chapter 29, paragraph 1, gives us three reasons. They are the reasons why the Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper; but true believers should surely desire to come to the Lord’s Table for the same reasons:
Firstly, it is “for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of [Christ] in His death.” That is, it serves as a sign pointing to the Lord’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf. The words of the institution, “broken for you” (1 Cor 11:24) and “shed for many” (Mt 26:28), direct our thoughts to the fact that Christ died for, and in place of His people. All who are grateful to the Lord will want to remember His death for them.
Secondly, it is for “the sealing of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto Him.” A seal is a means to attest, confirm or certify the authenticity of something received. As a seal, the Lord’s Supper authenticates the benefits of redemption received by faithful partakers. All true believers will surely appreciate this means by which our Lord assures us that all the benefits of His sacrificial death are available to us.
Thirdly, it is “a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body.” A bond is a friendship shared by two or more parties. In sharing a meal at the Lord’s Table, believers signify their union with Christ and with one another (cf. 1Cor 10:16-17). A pledge is a token which points to a promise. As such, the Supper serves as a badge of profession on the part of the communicants that they are united to Christ and desire to participate in each other’s life in what we may call the communion of saints (WCF 26).
The Lord’s Supper is like the King’s banquet. He has issued a royal invitation to you to come enjoy His blessings. When you come, you will experience His love for you. Will you despise His invitation and refuse to come like those who refused the King’s invitation in the Lord’s Parable (Mt 22:5-6)? Would you not rather see that you put on your best suit or dress and come gratefully to enjoy Him and His blessing? Your best suit, of course, is the garment of righteousness of Christ imputed to you by faith. Come acknowledge Christ! Come believe in Him! Come to His Table!