The second wrong reason why church members sometimes abstain from the communion supper, is that, because of some recently committed sin which besets their conscience, they think themselves unworthy.

This wrongheadedness is yet another manifestation of the devilish cultural influences of Roman Catholicism, poisoning unlearned Christians and unschooled churches with the incorrect notion that the elements of bread and wine are sacraments imputing grace, thus in a wholly unscriptural and therefore misguided display of false humility, they choose to openly ‘punish themselves’ by denying themselves the supper. Those who commit this error have entirely missed the point both of the communion supper and indeed of Christ’s death, and as, significantly, this foible can sometimes arise in senior church members who profess to have known the Lord for a great many years, pastors should take note that such a demonstration might credibly be taken as a telltale symptom that the member concerned is in fact unregenerate.

Certainly, it is good for church members to be led into a few moments or minutes of silent prayer just before taking the communion supper, during which they examine themselves, but in fact a Christian’s period of self examination should be constant. We should especially spend the week leading up to the communion service in grave self examination, and even anxiety, pondering within ourselves the question “Am I worthy to eat and drink of the bread and cup, the body and blood of the Lord?” The answer to that is of course, no, on every occasion. In every case, we are unworthy to share in the propitiary body and blood of Christ. So it is both false theology, and false humility to opine that this month we are suddenly unworthy of God’s salvation, and so abstain from the supper, while last month and all months before, we were worthy of it and so did eat the supper! The truth is, we are never worthy of it! Never were and never will be.

Nevertheless, if we conclude that we are indeed less worthy, our conscience will soon prick us to make amends, for we very well know our faults and transgressions without need of giving voice to them, as does God, therefore we must make amends before the day of the communion service, so that, on the day, we can obey the command to eat and drink… yet without damnation. (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) And just as in Matthew 5:24, in 1 Corinthians 11, there is no missing extra verse between verses 28 and 29, or between verses 29 and 30, no ‘get-out clause’ that says we should not partake of the communion supper. Such an exemption just isn’t there: “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”.

Thus, as this verse clearly instructs, the injunction to church members is always to partake, even if we are in a state of sin, anger and disobedience. The guiltiness of such a state comes not from eating the supper in that state, it comes from being in that state and not resolving to correct it before we take the supper. In the parable of the wedding garment in Matthew 22:1-14, hundreds, indeed as many as could be found in the streets, were invited to the wedding, but he who was expelled from it was not expelled because he was there unworthily. He certainly was unworthy, being a mere common man from the streets and wholly unrelated to the royal family. Yet he was present for the wedding with official sanction, having been invited by the king himself, regardless of his low estate. But the reason he was expelled was because, having been invited, he disrespected his host by not dressing in the required, correct clothing for the occasion. He should have first dressed in the right clothes, and then come to the wedding. So it is with the communion supper. We should first make our peace with God and fellow church members, or at least resolve to attempt to do so, and then come to the supper and partake. The command and the whole point of the communion supper is to come and partake at all costs, having first, and without fail, resolved to correct and improve our performance as Christians. It is a self-regulating system of church discipline which also constantly reminds us that the cross and blood of Christ is always there to propitiate our sins and failings, and give us a fresh start, on at least a monthly basis. He who feels he must drag a burden of addictive and unforgiven sin around with him month after month has clearly misunderstood the gospel and is probably living in open heresy and self-damaging depravity outside of church hours. Pastors and fellow members should therefore be on watch for this type of behaviour evidenced during the communion supper, take such a one aside, and teach him the first things again, that such a sufferer of misconception may make his calling and election sure and learn the logic and joy of genuine salvation.

However, most modern churches have discarded this scriptural teaching altogether, therefore, the mistaken view of the Lord’s Supper by so-called evangelical protestants today is that everyone should be allowed to partake, but that individuals can choose not to partake. But that is incorrect. The scripturally correct Strict Baptist view is the exact opposite of the common error: Only local church members can partake, and all of their members ought to.

It is not the right of an individual church member to refuse the supper, but it is the duty of the church to exclude such a one if necessary, however, neither does any individual have the right to demand the Lord’s Supper, no, not even in his own church, because that is tantamount to demanding the grace of God, which neither you nor I deserve, and these two paradoxical sides of the same coin constitute the conflict between love and the law which was reconciled evermore for us in the death of Christ.



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