Blessings & Warnings Concerning
the Lord's Table (Pt. 1)
By William Handschumacher
A Special Rock of Offence Commentary
This is Part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
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(Saint Paul is speaking)
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, Ye do show the Lord's death till He comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
One of the most sacred observances in the Christian Church is Holy Communion or; “The Lord’s Table”. It’s a practice Jesus initiated, when He took the bread and the wine and proclaimed the beginning of the “The New Covenant in His blood” (Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25). As we repeat throughout this study; Christ’s New Covenant did not and could not operate under Old Testament Law before the cross. It was an entirely new program, established on radically different spiritual principles of faith concerning human sin, repentance and salvation ... which made the previous Old Testament program obsolete (See Hebrews 8:6-13).
"This cup is the New Covenant
in My blood which is shed
for you." (Luke 22:20)
The Lord's Table Represents
a New Covenant that Makes
Christ and the Believer "One"
Jesus Used this "Oneness
with God" to Describe His
Jesus stated that His primary mission is to make Himself, His Father and the believer ... ONE. We see this truth in the famous prayer of Christ to His Father shortly before His crucifixion:
"...I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as we are. (John 17:9-11)
"I do not pray for these alone (speaking of His disciples), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (Christians living today); that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are One: I in them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in One, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me." (John 17: 20-23)
This prayer outlines one of the
most sacred benefits of
the the cross. Yet, most
churches contradict Christ's
prayer by teaching their
members to view themselves...
not as "one with God", as
Jesus stated--but as separate
from God and needing to earn
their salvation through righteous
and sinless living. Contrary to
tradition, this kind of religious
thinking actually creates a state
of unworthiness that violates
the principles of the Lord's
Table, bringing judgment upon the
participants instead of blessing.
Christ's prayer in John chapter 17 is a powerful revelation of the yet future salvation purchased at the cross. We should meditate on His words until we fully understand the revolutionary truths they contain. It provides a preview of New Covenant salvation and the "new and living way" that started after the cross. A vast majority of the traditional teaching and evangelism in the institutional church does not agree with Christ's words found in this prayer.
Many are taught to view salvation as a benefit that must be earned through personal merit and righteous living - rather than a freely imputed (assigned) benefit that comes from being "In Christ" (or "One with Christ"). Yet, God designed His Son's salvation to operate in a way that defies natural human thinking. The Gospel and Christ's salvation is designed exclusively by God. It came from the mind of God, not from the mind of man. (Romans 11:33-35).
Saint Paul says it this way ...
"...No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man (or those who
live according to the dictates of
human reasonings) does not receive
the things of the Spirit of God,
for they are foolishness to him;
nor can he know them, because they
are Spiritually discerned.
But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we (speaking of Christians) have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
That's why God's ways are different
than ours ... and why the Bible
refers to Christ's salvation
as "a mystery".
Saint Paul calls it ...
"God's Hidden Wisdom"
(1 Corinthians 2:7-8)
The New Testament truth concerning "the believer's position in Christ" ... also understood as their "oneness with Christ" (from His prayer in John chapter 17), is an example of the different way God thinks, as stated through the prophet Isaiah;
(God is speaking) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The spiritual benefits of Christ's
New Covenant are "imputed" to His
Church (the body of Christ) apart
from works and personal merit,
because God considers the believer
"dead in Christ" (See Colossians 3:3).
A dead person has no merit to offer.
This is a unique Divine mechanism that
Bible scholars often refer to as
"imputation" which occurs when
Christ's pre-paid blood bought
benefits and character attributes
(such as His perfect righteousness)
are freely assigned - through 'a faith
apart from works' - to those who are
undeserving. (See Romans 3:24-26,
Romans 8:4-8 and 2 Cor. 5:21)
More information is available
The New Testament reveals that salvation belongs exclusively to the Lord (Revelation 7:10). Therefore, the only way to possess salvation is to be "in Christ". After the cross, there is no other way to be saved - from God's perspective. If you are not “in Christ”, who is the sole possessor of salvation (or "one with Christ" according to John chapter 17) ... you will be disqualified regardless of how godly you try to live. Unfortunately, this will be the outcome for many good church-going people who seek to obtain salvation in a way that God does not honor. When anyone is "in Christ" God considers them to be "dead through His crucifixion", but also "alive through His resurrection".
How can we enter this position
of being "In Christ"? You can
find the answer to this
5 Biblical Truths that Lead
to Eternal Life
As a result of this Divinely initiated
blessing, we possess everything Christ
possesses because we are "in Him" ...
and we remain "in Him (or one with Him)"
regardless of our lack of good behavior
or failing to live as righteous as we
Romans 8:17 provides more details about
the believer's blessed position 'in
Christ (or being one with Christ)' by
referring to them as:
"Joint-heirs with Christ"
Legally speaking, all 'joint-heirs' have
common ownership of the resources. In
this unique situation, Christ also enters
into this 'common ownership' with His
believing Saints. This means that every
believer shares the ownership of Christ's
resources and attributes. From God's
perspective, this means that it's
impossible to be "in Christ" and fail to
have everything that Christ possesses,
which includes His salvation and perfect
righteousness. As a result, Jesus makes us
everything we are - which is why the New
Testament refers to all earth-dwelling
"The body of Christ" - who, upon
arriving in heaven, will become...
"The Bride of Christ".
Contrary to a popular yet false church
teaching, the Bride of Christ is not some
special group, chosen from among the Body
of Christ (the Church) for their high-
level of devotion, sinless living and
righteous works...a group who is often
referred to as 'overcomers'. According to
this erroneous teaching, the group's
exceptional spiritual service and
performance is what qualifies them to
participate in the the rapture...while
the rest of the Body of Christ who are
deficient in these qualities must remain
behind on earth for additional
purification during the Tribulation.
However, Jesus stated that He has "overcome
the world", which makes all believers
overcomers because they are "In Him and
one with Him".
This is why the New Testament declares that
the rapture is for all those who are 'In
Christ (or one with Christ)'; from the
least to the greatest! No true believer
will be left behind.
(1 Cor. 12:27, Col. 1:18 and Eph. 1:22-23).
"For He made Him who knew no
sin to be sin for us, that we
might become the righteousness
of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
[ Important Note: The subject of the believer's "Oneness with Christ" is not connected to and should not be confused with "Oneness Pentecostalism" - which is a false teaching ]
Jesus Initiated the First
Stage of His "Oneness
Program" on the Day of
Pentecost in Acts
chapter 2 - Following His
sacrificial death, burial,
resurrection and ascension
...which made it possible.
Shortly before His prayer in
John 17, Jesus made the
following statement to His
disciples (and to Christians
today) that provides insight
into how this "oneness"
will occur under the future
New Covenant that begins to
govern after the cross.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him;
for He dwelleth with you,
and shall be in you."
(John 14:16-17 - Also read
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
and 1 John 4:4)
We should notice two important
changes and provisions in
Christ's statement that reveal
the new way the Holy Spirit will
operate under the New Covenant
in Christ's blood:
FIRST: When the Holy Spirit is received, He now abides (stays) forever
SECOND: When the Holy Spirit is received, He no longer dwells "with you" as He did under the Old Testament program - But now dwells "In You".
The words of Jesus became reality
when the Holy Spirit arrived,
like a mighty rushing wind on
the day of Pentecost.
When Jesus prayed the Oneness prayer in John chapter 17, it required a radical transformation so that those He redeemed through the blood of His cross would be just like Him; or "one" with Him. This requires our Heavenly Father to make a radical supernatural change. Jesus is the Son of God - and had the Holy Spirit living inside Him - or "indwelling Him". During his earthly ministry, before the cross, Jesus was the only one who was fully 'Spirit indwelled and empowered'. This is what qualified Him to be "God's Son". Yet, following the cross - if those who are redeemed by Christ are to be truly "One with Him" - they must also be 'indwelled by the Holy Spirit' in the same way He was 'indwelled'.
This represents the supernatural miracle that took place at Pentecost, when our resurrected Lord sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all those who receive His salvation.
According to Scripture, we receive eternal life as a free and unmerited gift by simply placing our faith in Christ. Jesus referred to it as being 'born again' - or the new birth. According to the New Testament and contrary to popular church teachings, no special works or behavior is required in this initial stage of salvation. As outlined in the following Scriptures; it involves simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ, in faith, to save us by believing in His resurrection and confessing Him as Lord.
"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
"...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)
At the exact same moment salvation is received, God’s Holy Spirit (also known as The Spirit of Christ) takes up residence (indwells) the believer's physical body and, from that moment on, remains forever (See the words of Jesus in John 14:16-17, John 16:4-16, Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 13:5-6). The New Testament refers to this indwelling of the Holy Spirit as ‘sealing’ - which is a one-time event. Contrary to popular church teachings, a Christian is not ‘sealed’ when they are saved, then unsealed when they sin – then sealed again when they repent.
The ‘sealing’ happens only once
and remains in force until
Jesus Christ returns at the end
of the age.
The following Scripture testifies
of this truth:
"In Him (Jesus Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14 - Also Read About “God’s Guarantee” In 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 2 Corinthians 5:5)
Notice that the sealing of the Holy Spirit is also called ‘God’s guarantee’, which ensures that our salvation (or ‘our inheritance’) will remain in force until Jesus returns to receive His purchased possession ... known as "The Church" and consisting of all true believers in Christ.
According to Scripture,
the Sealing of the Holy
Spirit is real - not
'symbolic' as some
Oneness with Christ Creates
a Revolutionary New Temple
In the days of the Old Covenant (under the Old Testament program), the temple of God was a physical building that held the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was the center for Jewish religion and worship in Israel. However, all of this changed under Christ's New Covenant that started after the cross and the day of Pentecost. God's temple is now the body of the believer that contains the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Once again, notice the major change in the Holy Spirit's ministry. These are incredible truths that tend to lose their significance under modern-day Bible teaching.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (Words of Saint Paul after the Holy Spirit arrived on Pentecost from 1 Cor. 3:16-17)
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
This is why the Apostle Paul refers to true Christians as being "in the Spirit" ... and refers to New Testament Salvation as "the ministry of the Spirit" (See 2 Corinthians 3:4-11) - which is now governed by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1-2). According to Scripture - and contrary to popular church teaching, authentic Christianity cannot exist without the Spirit of Christ indwelling believers. Christ's salvation is now based on "Oneness", as revealed in John chapter 17. It did not (and could not) operate before the cross. Yet, there are many in the church that believe God continues to operate the same way after the cross ... as he did before the cross under the Old Testament program.
Later in this study, we will learn why this popular system of theology carries unthinkable spiritual consequences.
The Apostle John provides
concerning the believer's
"Oneness with Christ" when
he said ...
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2)
John's proclamation is so important
that we address it in a separate
study - available below:
Sons vs Servants
This is Part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
Click on the link below to access
the next section.
Return To Home Page
Return To Basics of Salvation Page