The Good News in the Bible

The Lord's Supper and "Damnation"
William Diehl

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 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. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." 1 Cor. 11:26

The apostle Paul is not saying that there is either saving or damning significance to the Lord's supper. The problem Paul is addressing is that many were living in sin and willful disregard for godly living then they were coming unrepentantly to the church meeting and hypocritically partaking of the Lord's Supper while living in willful sin. Their hypocrisy was what was causing SPIRITUAL weakness, SPIRITUAL sickness and SPIRITUAL sleep or death. He is not saying that sinners were actually becoming physically sick and actually dying because they did not discern that the Supper ceremony was so holy that their ignorance of the real meaning and significance of the Lord's Supper was making them sick and causing death.

This kind of thinking is bordering on Roman sacramentalism. Damnation comes only to those who sin willfully in an unrepentant highhanded disregard for the commandments of God and then pretend to be godly people honoring the symbols of Christ's atoning death by observing this symbolic ritual. Each of us should examine our lives for open willful sin and ought to repent of all of our sins before partaking of any Christian ordinance or ritual like the ceremony of the Supper. I would not wish to attribute "special spiritual properties" to the ceremony itself as if this memorial service were mystically holy in and of itself and could cause the death of someone who did not fully appreciate these mystical "properties" somehow supposedly inherent in the bread and the wine.

For children to take the symbols of the Gospel is not going to bring God's condemnation upon them or their parents because they may not fully understand the meaning of Christ's death. Only unrepented of sin and hypocrisy can condemn anyone.

Present Truth Magazine Home Page   Article List   Next Article