Saturday, 22 November 2014
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
Christ’s words of instruction to Paul have been completed and so he now states the word “for” to show that his words of explanation lie ahead. What Christ proclaimed has a purpose. As He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Paul’s “for” then is given to reiterate and fully explain this. Every time the Lord’s Supper is held it is a memorial. And so “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death.”
It is an open proclamation that we believe that Christ died for us. As He is Lord, and as He died, then this is the only possible explanation. Being the Lord implies sinless perfection. As “the wages of sin is death,” then His death must have come as a payment for sin, but not His own. In other words, He is our substitutionary atonement. Further, it implies that His righteousness (in that He has not sinned) is imputed to us. What would be the point of Him dying if this were not the case? There would be none.
Therefore, this is our proclamation. We are to participate in the Lord’s Supper, acknowledging His work on our behalf “till He comes.” Whether Christ’s return was expected in a short time after His ascension, or whether it will be ten thousand years from today, we are to continue making this solemn proclamation until that time.
Of note is the fact that the Lord’s Table doesn’t explicitly include the resurrection. It doesn’t say “you proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection till he comes.” The death of Christ implies substitution. If He is coming again, it implies that He has risen and ascended. As this is true, it therefore implies that if His righteousness is imputed to us, and that we will, in fact, rise again. In other words, the Lord’s Table is a table of faith.
We are placing our hope and trust in the promises of Scripture that they contain the truth concerning the work of the Lord and the return of the Lord. If Scripture isn’t the word of God, then we are truly to be pitied. If it is, then nothing can separate us from the surety of the promises which the Lord’s Table implies – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again, and we will be like Him at that time. We will be given eternal life and all of the promises of the Word of God will be realized in us at that time!
Finally and once again, in this verse we see the nonsensical nature of the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation (the bread and wine literally becoming Christ’s flesh). Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup…” He does not say, nor does he imply, that we are eating the Lord’s body or drinking His blood. Instead, just as was seen in the words of Jesus, the bread and wine are symbolic of His work, nothing more.
Life application: Participating in the Table of the Lord implies that the words of Scripture concerning Christ are true, accurate, and complete. If you cannot accept the words of the Bible, then how can you accept the truth which the Lord’s Supper promises? The very hope of heaven itself is tied up in the surety of God’s word. Have faith that the Bible is absolute truth.
Lord, what would be the point of believing in the hope of heaven and eternal life if the Bible isn’t true? The only place that tells me of the life and work of Jesus is that precious book. Who am I then to choose which verses don’t really apply? Rather, I believe Christ is Lord and that Your word confirms this. It is Your word, and therefore, it is truth. And so I will read it, think on it, and do my very best to rightly divide it all the days of my life. Amen!