1 Corinthians 10:21


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 1 Corinthians 10:21

Paul, having established that a believer who participates in a pagan ritual would actually be fellowshipping with demons admonishes the Corinthians that, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” His words do not indicate an impossibility of physically carrying out such an action. Rather, they indicate the moral impossibility of it. This is certain because of what he will say in the next verse. We can actually do what he is warning against, but if we do then we are severing a tie of fellowship with the Lord when we do it. As he says in his second epistle –

“…what accord has Christ with Belial?” 2 Corinthians 6:15

The answer is that there is no accord between the two. By participating in pagan rituals, we stand alone with the demon and apart from Christ. This is because “you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” It is an “either/or” situation. The severity of our actions in this matter is noted by Paul in the next chapter. There he will say the following which is a precept that certainly includes the instruction he is now giving –

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

In fact, Paul continues in this same set of verses noting the consequences of such actions. They were consequences already seen among the Corinthians –

“For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:30-32

We must take care in how we conduct ourselves. The Lord protects His name jealously and is never pleased when His saved children bring discredit upon it.

Having said this, it should be noted that Paul’s words here record the first instance of the words “the Lord’s table.” This terminology has been used by faithful followers of Christ for 2000 years as we have proclaimed “the Lord’s death till He comes.” The taking of communion in observance of this is one of the two ordinances commanded by the Lord – baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Be sure to partake of this with gratitude and humility.

Life application: The Lord’s Supper is a high honor to participate in. Some churches offer it a couple times a year, some once every month or two, but there is nothing wrong and everything right with taking it every time a congregation comes together. It is a continual reminder of the wondrous work of Christ for us.

Lord, when I come to the table and receive the elements of my faith, I am humbled and honored to know what they represent. In Your perfection, You came and fulfilled the law which stood against us and which condemned us. And then, in Your great grace and mercy, You gave Your perfect life in exchange for my sins. They are nailed to the cross along with the law. In You I am set free. I thank You and honor You, and I proclaim Your death until You come again as I receive the bread and wine. Thank You for this privilege. Amen.


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