1Co 11:27-29 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
Those who are enabled by God’s grace to recognize their sinful nature need to read this passage carefully and prayerfully. Even as a child, I understood that I was a sinner and therefore unworthy in myself of the Lord’s blessing. I heard the warning many times that to eat and drink unworthily was to condemn myself before the Lord. There was always a struggle within me because I had a deep desire to take of the bread and the cup, even though I saw my unworthiness.
The key to understanding the unworthiness that brings condemnation in the taking of the bread and the cup comes in the last five words of verse twenty-nine; “not discerning the Lord’s body.” We are accountable for seeing the sacrifice or our Lord and Savior as we partake of these tokens. It is a solemn thing to realize that in serving God we are daily partakers of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
We truly fail to realize the significance of the symbolism in the bread and wine if we leave that service and forget about it until the next appointed time to participate in the taking of these symbols of His body and blood. Our communion with Him is something we are to take with us daily as we go among His children and the world. To fail to show His redeeming love in our lives every day is to eat and drink condemnation.
By the tokens of the Communion service, we are not only called upon to remember His bodily sacrifice, but to remember the body He made that sacrifice for. While we realize that all of God’s children are not members of the church, we also must recognize that this eating and drinking of Himself was not given to all of His children. This was given to His body (Rom 12:5, 1Co 10:17, 1Co 12:12) of called out believers, of which He is the head (Eph 1:22, Eph 4:15, Col 1:18). Partaking of this blessed communion does not save or condemn anyone eternally, but it is a recognition that can only be made here in time by the church.
As we partake of the token of His body broken for us and the New Testament in His blood, we are called on to see what He sacrificed. We are also called on to see what that requires of us. We must discern His body and understand our role in His body. We are to show forth His death as Paul gave testimony when he said “I die daily (1Co 15:31).” Yet, in discerning the Lord’s body, we realize that by bearing about the death of our Lord Jesus that we also manifest His life (2Co 4:10).
Whether or not we are living like a member of His body is not something someone else needs to decide for us. We are to examine ourselves and confess in ourselves whether we prefer our brethren before ourselves. We are to confess in ourselves before the Lord whether we take His dying and His life with us as we go daily into the world. We are not looking at just the few minutes we spend before the Communion table, but at the time we spend in our lives in communion with Him.
May God give us the wisdom to be daily partakers of our Lord’s body and the New Testament in His blood!