The Truth About Holy Communion
“Do this in remembrance of me.” ~Jesus
See Luke 22:19
Emotional music is playing softly, the lights are dimmed and Pastor speaks, “If you have sin in your life let this cup pass from you and do not partake in the bread. If you are a child, and know not what salvation is, do not partake in this holy communion. But, if you find yourself worthy of no judgment, please, join us in consuming the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Communion. Oh my goodness how it’s been slaughtered by today’s church. What was meant to be a celebration and reminder of Jesus bringing in the New Covenant, has been massacred. By who? By those who find themselves worthy–by their own standards. To them, unless you’ve performed properly and repented well enough, you can’t take communion. Some are even claiming we’re ingesting Jesus’ literal blood and body into ours. I’m not joking.
Even more diabolical, some groups claim if communion is consumed a person will receive physical healing. And I gotta say, yes, sometimes miracles happen after communion is taken, but Christ is not involved. These are miracles from the devil to make us think communion caused the miracle. Jesus mentioned the same type of miracles in Matthew 7:21-23 to the unbelievers who were focused on their works. God does not perform miracles because we eat and drink, but because He loves us, and because He wants those who witness the miracles to believe in Jesus (see John 3:16, 10:38, 14:11).
I try to keep an even keel and be sensitive about the subjects I write about, but it’s sickening when I think about what’s happened to communion. The twisting of 1 Corinthians 11, the contorting of Luke 22, Matthew 26, and Mark 14–it’s all wrong.
Like water baptism–an event which achieves nothing but reminds us of something wonderful–drinking grape juice and eating a piece of a saltine cracker has shipwrecked the faith of many. Some denominations use wafers, some dip the bread in the juice, some stand in line and some pass trays. But these can all be turned into demonic details when the reason is wrong.
“God! I’m so sorry! I know I’m not on the level I should be so I won’t eat or drink!”
I’ve been there. Tears and snot coming from my face as my head hung low. Heavy remorse for the entire church to see. Communion reminded me of my sin–and as a believer, this was never its intent. For those who actually claimed to have no sin in their lives, it was always a great day. They got to shine bright in front of us terrible Christians. Communion made everyone aware of their “spotless” lives. No awareness of Jesus, not His body, not His blood–but them.
Communion was specifically reserved for those who didn’t need Jesus.
Now that I understand communion has always been meant to be done in remembrance of Him–not my sin or ability to not sin–I fear for their salvation. Are these people not saved because of this immature behavior and thinking? I doubt it. Just like me, I have wrong thoughts and choices too, and I’m still saved. If they’ve ever believed Jesus has forgiven them, they’re secure, just confused due to their church’s tradition.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Him, not in remembrance of ourselves (see Luke 22:19). This is enough for me to buck tradition and stand up to those who push a quasi, sin-focused communionism on me and others–respectfully of course. As my friend Andrew Farley says, “We must be anchored, not angered.”
Let’s take a step back and establish why there even is a Lord’s Supper, what many call holy communion. The Jews used the blood of animals to remind them of their sins once a year at the Day of Atonement (see Hebrews 10:1-4). Each time they broke one of 613 commandments given by God through Moses, they remembered how poorly they performed as they handed off the animal to the Levitical priest. At the temple, that priest would take the sacrifice behind the curtain, kill it on the altar, and present the blood to God for that individual’s transgressions of the Law (see Hebrews 9:7).
That animal cost the Jewish person money and time–and REMEMBERING OF THEIR SINS–as they made this trip once a year.
This was their sacrifice given to God for their sins. This didn’t make them holy, but forgiven. Only God was holy up until Pentecost. Now believers are holy too, just like God, because of the bloody death and resurrection of perfect Jesus (see Hebrews 6:19-20, 7:25, 10:10,14,20-21, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The blood of animals was the only way a Jewish person could receive forgiveness (see Hebrews 9:22). Not confessing to a priest, not repenting of sins, not saying sorry, not by forgiving others, but blood offered up, annually. This is why the Sermon on the Mount upset so many Law-following legalists. Jesus upped the ante against their self-made perfection. Further, blood did not take away sins, but atoned for, or covered sins, until they walked down the stairs from the temple and broke another Mosaic command. Immediately their sin tally began to add up, then they’d have to make another trip, year after year after year (see Hebrews 10:1-4).
Side note: These sins were left unpunished until Christ came because all sins require a death by the person committing them–every sin, from gossip to murder. They were forgiven by the animal blood but not paid for by death. It was only by the individual’s faith were they justified with God. This should answer the questions of, “How were non-Jews saved before the Cross, and even the Jews before Jesus?” Jesus’ blood payment–His death–goes forward and backwards because He isn’t bound by our notion of time (see Romans 1:29-31, 3:25, 4:3, 6:23, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, James 2:23, Hebrews 11:13, 2 Peter 3:8, John 8:58, Revelation 13:8).
The Jews knew that only animal blood given annually could forgive them with God, yet Christ the Messiah came along and eliminated this! He made it to where they didn’t have to make this annual trek any longer! His blood wouldn’t cover sins, as the animals’ did, but banish them once and for all time by one sacrifice–Himself! The blood of the Son of God would replace the blood of animals forever! (See Hebrews 10:5-14).
The Last Supper signifies this event.
These Jews sitting around Jesus knew how important this final meal was but only after Jesus came back to life! As they passed around the bread and wine, they had no clue this would be a celebration, a remembrance! They were still in the dark because Christ had not yet offered Himself up!
But they would, oh…they would. I could just see their faces when the epiphany hit them long after the Last Supper. Remembering Him, as they ate and drank together, understanding the effect which would happen for all who would ever believe:
COMPLETE FORGIVENESS FOREVER, BY GRACE, THROUGH FAITH.
NO MORE BLOOD SACRIFICES.
ACCESS TO THE NEW COVENANT.
The question I had for so long was, “How can a person be completely forgiven forever if they still sin?”
The answer changed my view of people, myself, and life, and it came from the truth of the New Covenant:
Only blood forgives and Jesus will never offer up His blood again. He finished the world’s sin problem once and for all time and now it’s our job to believe in His achievement, once.
For the Jews, animal blood reminded them of their sins. For us Christians, Jesus’ blood reminds us of our righteousness. This is the true meaning of communion. Communion is meant to bring us to remembrance of our complete forgiveness, the New Covenant (see Luke 22:19-20).
So where have we fallen off course? As with most instances the blame lies on poor interpretation of Scripture and, “How my parents did it.” Tradition. Tradition does not equal truth, it simply means it’s old. Islam is old too, and it’s a cancerous, demonic plague, sweeping our planet founded by a murderous pedophile who saw demons and therefore created a cult. I’m not saying all Muslims are bad people, of course not. And we should love and respect them. There are countless, caring individuals who are confused because of their traditions, Christians included. What I am saying is this particular religion is from hell–as is all religions not based on Christ. When you get to the deepest roots of Islam it’s easy to see Satan is the author. Research it back to the beginning for proof. Research all religions back to their beginning for proof of fallibility. Only the God of the Bible has no beginning.
In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, what many churches are using as instruction to take communion, we should not be doing so. Why? Because such is not the context. Paul is correcting the church, not giving doctrine. The Corinthians, who were prone to gluttony and debauchery, their immature behavior had spilled over into the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Paul called it “an unworthy manner” (see 1 Corinthians 11:27).
How was it unworthy? Was it because they had sin in their lives? No. If that were the case they’d never have the Supper–no Christian ever would. It was two primary reasons:
- They were eating all the bread and drinking all the wine while not waiting for others to get there. This caused many to become sick and drunk. Some even died due to their alcoholism and overeating.
- They were judging each other harshly and creating factions because of this poor behavior.
Back then, communion wasn’t like it is today. It was a full meal. While we get a thimble of juice and corner of a cracker, for some, this was the best meal they’d get all week. They looked forward to it, even depending on it, but rude people were showing up early and binging while not waiting on others. This is why Paul said, “If you’re that hungry eat at home so you don’t get judged by others for eating all the food” (see 1 Corinthians 11:34).
In the middle of this rebuke, Paul reminds them of the whole reason they have communion:
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (See 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
In remembrance of me, in remembrance of me. Do you see it, friend?
Paul, a formerly devout Jew, he understood how God forgives. He knew that what goes into a person’s body has nothing to do with God’s judgment. The judgment he was talking about in this section of Scripture was the church judging each other for abusing the Lord’s Supper.
“You jerk! You didn’t leave me anything to eat or drink!”
In fact, Paul educated the church in Colossae on this very thing:
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” (Colossians 2:16)
When we rightly divide the Word, he’s clearly not saying God will judge us harshly if we partake in the Lord’s Supper because of sin. We all sin as Christians, a lot, and the blood of Jesus has already taken those sins away (see John 1:29, 1 John 3:5).
So eat. Drink. Remember the New Covenant, like Jesus said.
If I could shout this from the rooftops I would:
1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-34 IS ABOUT MANNERS!
“Have some scruples, would you? Stop with the gluttony and eat at home. Stop passing out during communion because you drank all the wine and your stomachs hurt. Stop judging each other and love as Christ has loved you. Come together, remember Jesus, and celebrate in a worthy manner. Have some order.”
Now this was Paul’s emphasis.
There’s also a single passage in the previous chapter, 1 Corinthians 10, which states:
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:21).
Many legalists will use this as a weapon against their congregations’ mishaps. But in context, Paul is advising the church to not participate in offerings which are made to demons. Read from verse 14 down and you’ll see this has nothing to do with our sins, as Christians, nor the Lord’s Supper.
So today, my friends, know this: Communion isn’t about remembering our sins, it’s about remembering Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. It’s a celebration! Communion is meant to remind us of our righteousness and the New Covenant! Partake! Enjoy! Remember what Jesus has done for you and to you through His body and blood!
A prayer for you: Dad, thank you for teaching me the truth about communion. By understanding how powerful Jesus’ blood is, and how He finished my sin issue on the Cross, I’m free to remember this at any time–even in church. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of these dear people have felt the pressure of communion guilt on Sundays. Ease their minds in knowing that communion is all about remembering Jesus, not their sins. Give them a clear conscience and refocus their thoughts. Children and unbelievers should be able to join us in communion too, as this celebration might cause them to believe. Teach us more about your grace, about Jesus, about ourselves, and the freedom we have. In His name, amen.
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 2. Get your copy here!