1Co 10:14-17 “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
In the verses immediately preceding these, Paul has described how Israel transgressed and many fell due to following after idols and murmuring against God. He furthered cautioned those that were sure they were well established to consider the example of Israel lest they should fall in a similar fashion. Paul’s admonition in verse fourteen is given as the result of serious consideration to the examples God has left for us all.
Seeing the example of natural Israel laid before us, Paul tells us to flee from idolatry. He uses his deep love (“my dearly beloved”) to call for their attention. When we call for our brothers and sisters to heed any warning in the scripture, we need to be sure our basis is one of love and not of vengeance. His sincere desire was to see them flee idolatry; not to see God’s wrath fall on them for their failure to do so.
The admonition to flee from idolatry should convey to us a sense of urgency. If we find ourselves in the proximity of great danger, we are not normally nonchalant about putting some distance between us and that danger: we run away. When we are warned of the location of that danger in advance, if we are smart we simply avoid going near (shun) the location to begin with. The definition of the Greek word “pheugō” (translated here as flee) means to run away from or shun.
Earlier in his letter, Paul spoke to the brethren concerning the comfort they took in their knowledge. He now tells them that he will speak to them as men who are thoughtful. He challenges them to use their knowledge to consider what he is about to tell them (and us). We need to deeply consider the purpose and implication of communion with our Lord and Savior.
When we take the cup of consecrated adoration (blessing) which we give thanks and praise for (bless), it is the communion of Christ’s blood. I emphasize the word communion because it denotes our fellowship in Christ’s blood and in no way indicates that the cup we take literally becomes His blood. In the same fashion, the bread which we break (as a token of His body and not literally His flesh) denotes our fellowship in Christ’s body. The physical cup and bread that we partake of in the communion service is a symbol of a deeper communion that we should be partaking of with Him on a daily basis from a spiritual perspective.
Jesus said we were to drink of the cup which “is the new testament in my blood” and to partake of His body in remembrance of Him (Luk 19:20). We should be partakers of the new testament in His blood every day, not as an action of drinking a little wine, but by our daily walk of devotion to His cause. In the same fashion, we are to be daily partakers of His body, showing the world by our walk that Jesus is worthy of our praise and honor every day.
The ultimate outcome of being partakers of His body is that we are one body. We cannot judge as men judge, relying on the outward appearance. We should seek and obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives, so that our union with each other is complete in Him. The flour in a loaf of bread may have started as wheat in several different fields, but once it is milled and baked into a loaf you cannot point to a particular portion and say which field it came from. When we are one bread, we are one body. We are one body because we are all partakers of “that one bread” which is the body of Christ.
May God give us the grace to live as one body and in so doing shun every idol that would call us away from our love of Him!