Blessing and Judgment


Blessing and
1 Corinthians 11:17–34 “Let a person
examine himself…. For anyone who eats and
drinks without discerning the body
eats and drinks judgment on himself” (vv.

The mode of Christ’s
presence in the Lord’s Supper is only one aspect of the
sacrament that has
generated disagreement. Among the other issues related to
the Lord’s Supper
that have been controversial is Roman Catholicism’s
understanding of the
Eucharist as a kind of reenactment of the sacrifice

According to the twenty-second session of the Council of
Trent (1545–1563),
the Roman Catholic church teaches that the death of Jesus
for the salvation of
His church is repeated in the Mass each time it is
celebrated. To be sure,
Rome says, this sacrifice is one that is not bloody;
nevertheless, it is real.
As with their view of transubstantiation, this
understanding of the Lord’s
Supper has significant theological problems.
Hebrews 10:1–18, the Reformers
pointed out, emphasizes the once-for-all
nature of Jesus’ death. Christ
“offered for all time a single sacrifice for
sins” that “has perfected for all
time those who are being sanctified” (vv.
12, 14). Any view that portrays the
Lord’s Supper as a reenactment of the
sacrifice of Jesus denigrates and denies
the sufficiency of His

Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34 are the final text we
will examine in
our brief overview of the Lord’s Supper. The wealthy
Corinthian believers were
celebrating the Lord’s Supper in a gluttonous
manner, profaning the sacredness
of the occasion and not leaving enough bread
and wine for the entire
congregation to partake (vv. 20–21). This prevented
the Christians from
communing with each other and the Lord, thereby violating
the purpose of the
meal. Paul warned the Corinthian Christians to examine
themselves lest they
eat of the supper unworthily and die (vv. 27–32). They
were to make sure they
were not wronging anyone in the sacrament and that
they were practicing
repentance and faith. Otherwise they could be judged for
treating the things
of God lightly.

Paul’s point is not that only
perfect Christians are worthy to take the
sacrament, for perfect people would
not need it. His point is only that we
must come to the Lord’s table with
humility, confessing our sin, and looking
for the forgiveness we have
obtained in the death and resurrection of our

Coram deo: Living
before the face of God
sinners need the grace of Christ; therefore, only sinners can participate
the Lord’s Supper. But the only sinners who can freely commune with Jesus
His table are those who have acknowledged that they are sinners and
turned to Him as their only hope in life and in death. Do not let
feelings of
unworthiness prevent you from coming to His table. Jesus invites
you to come
and sit with Him if you are following Him in a life of repentance
and faith.

For further study:

Song 2:4

The Bible in a

Ezekiel 25–26

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