~by Randy Bushey
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:27).
This verse hits like an unexpected punch in the gut.
In the prior verses, Paul has been instructing the wayward Corinthians on the proper understanding and observance of the Breaking of Bread service, when the church comes together to worship Christ for Who He is and what He’s done.
The Apostle explained the historical context of the Last Supper and how the Saviour infused new meaning into the bread and wine – no longer looking back 15 centuries to the Exodus but looking ahead to the central events of the Gospel beginning with the next day: His sacrifice for sin as the Lamb of God.
The conclusion of that section is verse 26: For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
And then Paul strikes the sobering blow: participating in eating and drinking the symbols of His body and blood, but doing so in an unworthy manner.
Doing that renders one guilty.
And not guilty of any minor peccadillo; but wickedness against the body and blood of the Lord.
Paul calls for serious, deliberate, thoughtful, objective self-examination: A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup (v.28).
And that is because in our culture – as in the Corinthian context – where the profane is the norm and holy reverence is foreign, the stakes are so very high: For anyone who eats and drinks without recognising the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself (v.29).
In the framework of 1 Corinthians Paul is identifying sinning against the unity of Christ’s Body by promoting division, disunity, and self-serving independence.
The Body of Christ – His physical representation on earth today through the corporate assembling of His people – is to be a picture of diversity and interdependence, much like our human bodies.
Takeaway: In our COVID-shaped world we all have strong opinions on lock-downs, the agendas of governments and the media, masks and vaccines, and the continued fall-out as the dust settles.
But may we be those who value highly what the Lord Jesus values: His Body, His church.
Each member of His Body is a person of immeasurable value because the Saviour redeemed that one at the cost of His blood.
May we make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).
As an expression of obedience to the Master.
- graphic by Spiz, freeimages.com