Monday, 24 November 2014
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28
In the preceding verse, and in the verse which follows as well, the notion of partaking of the bread and the cup in an “unworthy manner” is noted. This then is an insert into the discussion on that concept. Only after determining his motivations as he comes before the table should a person then partake.
The verb for “examine” is dokimazo, and it indicates that one should prove themselves concerning sincerity. If one is coming before the table with a feeling of meriting the elements, then they have a misunderstanding of their own state before the Lord. There is nothing in a person which merits what they symbolize. Rather, we are wholly dependent on the grace of Jesus Christ for His work which was accomplished on our behalf.
This concept of personal unworthiness, however, isn’t what Paul is referring to (as was seen in the preceding verse). Rather, he is referring to the manner in which one approaches the table. Being unworthy in no way prohibits participation in the Lord’s Supper. Rather, acting in an unworthy manner does. An unworthy manner then could actually be demonstrated in someone’s belief that they were, in fact, worthy of what they were receiving! In this, true humility is set against feelings of self-righteousness or of “inherently deserving” what the elements signify.
Once one has evaluated himself and tested his motivations, he should then ensure that his actions as he partakes are in line with his proper motivations. If so, then “let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” It is a process of internal evaluation combined with an external demonstration which Paul speaks of.
Life application: In receiving the elements of the Lord’s Supper, be pleased that the Lord has accepted you by His grace despite your inherent unworthiness to come before Him. In gratitude to this, be sure to conduct yourself in a manner which is worthy of that.
Glorious God! When I’m at the end of my rope and only the abyss lies beneath me, I still have the confidence that Your hand is there holding me. I know for sure that my true happiness isn’t dependent on my actions, but rather it is secure in Your care of me. I have to live in these trials, and they are painful, but because of what lies ahead, they are merely temporary steps which I was ordained to take in order to strengthen my faith in You. And so, even though they aren’t pleasing, I will praise You through the trials. Amen.