Tuesday, 25 November 2014
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians 11:29
“For” builds upon the previous thought concerning the taking of the Lord’s Supper. Paul has just noted that partaking in an unworthy manner makes one guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. Therefore, a self-examination should occur before one partakes. And the reason for this is given in what follows the opening word “for.” It is because “he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself.”
In this, a connection is being made between the judgment symbolized in the elements: that of the death of the Lord, and that of the judgment which one drinks to himself when partaking of those same elements in an unworthy manner. If what Jesus did is treated in an impious or flippant manner, then judgment is to be necessarily expected for that attitude.
The type of judgment is explained in the coming verses, 30-32. It is explicitly noted as temporal, or earthly judgment. And this is what should be expected. If a non-believer partakes of the elements, then there is no true meaning to that non-believer in what they are doing, therefore, no true judgment would work to correct their unbelief. However, if a believer (which is whom Paul is implying in his words) partakes in an unworthy manner, then a temporal judgment, resulting in temporal punishment should be the logically expected outcome. They are already saved by Christ. Therefore, what they need is correction in this life, not in the next.
And all of this is expected because of “not discerning the Lord’s body.” There was no distinction made between what is holy and what is profane. It implies eating and drinking as if the elements are common and it fails to make the necessary connection to the work of Christ on our behalf.
The King James Version has the most unfortunate and confused rendering of “eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.” Some speculate that the term “damnation” which they use may have had less force at the time of the translation, but this is improbable. A review of the other uses of the word “damnation” in the KJV point particularly to the punishments of hell. But the word translated here is krima. It is more properly rendered “judgment.” As Vincent’s Word Studies notes, krima “is a temporary judgment, and so is distinguished from katakrima – condemnation, from which this temporary judgment is intended to save the participant.”
This mistranslation has caused many to fall into neuroses over the taking of the elements and it has led many to not take them at all. This then is exactly the opposite of what is actually commanded in that we are, as the Lord says, to participate as “often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Life application: If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, you will never become “unsaved.” However, your actions may have consequences in this life and they may lead to a loss of rewards in the eternal state. The way to avoid these pitfalls is to know your Bible and apply it to your life.
Heavenly Father, it is so sad to see churches that once held fast to Your word but which now allow the most vile and despicable practices within their walls. What is sacred and holy is treated with contempt. Pagans are allowed to enter the sanctuary and pray to false gods and to trample over the exalted name of Jesus Christ. As long as You give me breath, I will proclaim Jesus and Jesus alone, holding fast to His words that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that there is no other way to be reconciled to You but through Him. I stand on Christ my Lord. Amen.