Q43: What Are the Ordinances?

New City Catechism: Question 43


Christians practice catechesis to instruct believers on the foundational truths of the Christian faith. In a question and answer format, this form of discipleship teaches the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, along with the basics of the Bible. The New City Catechism, created by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, asks 52 questions, one for each week of the year, on topics such as God, creation, and salvation. Each video provides an extended answer to the question from either a pastor at Redeemer or council members of the Gospel Coalition. This video with Tim Keller, Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, answers the question, “What are the sacraments or ordinances?”


Romans 6:4 (ESV)

4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Luke 22:19-20 (ESV)

19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”20And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



We can respond to question forty-three with the following answer: the sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by His death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.


Tim said the ordinances or sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Jesus commanded both of these practices, so the church practices them today. What stands out to you the most about this answer? Why?
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We only have to be baptized once and he Lord’s Supper continues throughout life. These practices remind us of God’s grace and grow our faith in Him.


Does the answer to this question impact your Christian walk? If so, how and why?
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Read through Romans 6:4 and Luke 22:19–20. Take a moment to reflect on the ordinances. Use the space below to respond. You can write out a prayer, list the implications of the ordinances, or brainstorm ways you can apply the principle to your life.
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The Catechism can help you remember the core beliefs of Christianity. Take time this week to learn the answer to this question and memorize Romans 6:4 and Luke 22:19–20. Allow God to transform your heart, mind, and actions as you practice the ordinances.



 To learn more about New City Catechism or to download the app, click here