Of the Lord’s Supper.
Chapter 30, Paragraph 8.
“All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ; so are they unworthy of the Lord’s Table; and cannot without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto: yea whosoever shall receive unworthily are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.”
2 Corinthians 6:14,15
1 Corinthians 11:29
Jesus invites everyone to come to Him: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). This invitation, however, does not extend to the Lord’s Supper. There is a pre-existing condition necessary for participation in this ordinance: union with Christ. Believers benefit from the Supper precisely because they are in Him. Richard Barcellos writes: “Since believers already have communion with Christ via faith (1 Cor. 1:9), the Lord’s Supper must be viewed as a means to nurture what is already possessed.”
If believers benefit from the Lord’s Supper, what about those who are not in Christ? We know not to treat the Lord’s Supper superstitiously; the bread and wine in themselves do not impart blessing or curse to those who eat and drink. However, the spiritual reality that nourishes the believer in the ordinance has an adverse effect on the unbeliever. They do not recognize and honor Jesus as their mediator. Inclined to the opposite of all good, the unbeliever condemns himself when he partakes of the Supper because of his unbelief. Churches do a kindness to those in their midst when they refuse to serve communion to the ignorant and ungodly. The exclusion of such in the Lord’s Supper is a call to repentance.
As believers, we ought to take care that we ourselves do not disrespect our Lord by treating His ordinance unworthily. The Lord’s Supper is a time of spiritual nourishment, where we feed upon Christ and reflect upon His mediatorial work on our behalf. More than just a mid-service snack, the Supper points our gaze to Christ, reminds us of the blessings we have because of our union with Him, and reveals the union we have with our fellow saints. May we treasure the times we participate in it.
Questions to Consider
- What has been your attitude towards the Lord’s Supper? Does anything need changing in how you view the ordinance?