Now, while we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so we won't be condemned along with the world.1 Corinthians 11:32(ISV)
It is in the serious context of the Lord's Supper that we informed that "when we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined by Him so that we will not be condemned along with the world."
We are instructed that as often as we partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection, we are to do so soberly and in the reverential fear of the Lord. We are to take the Lord's Supper with a clean conscience, or it may be necessary for us to receive some corrective chastening from our Heavenly Father.
Participating in Holy Communion is a sombre, yet joyful celebration of Christ's gracious sacrifice on the Cross where the New Covenant, which God promised to the nation of Israel, was cut - a covenant that was cut through the precious blood of God's only begotten Son such that all who believe on His name are made children of God, forgiven of our sins, and positioned in Christ. It is a covenant that makes us a member of His Body and gives us a promised an inheritance which is kept for us in heaven.
In this passage, Paul was addressing an issue in the Corinthian Church where different members of the congregation were behaving discourteously towards one another. They used this time to meet and participate in a 'bring-and-share' fellowship meal, as well as partaking of the Lord's Supper. However, instead of it being a God-honouring occasion, many ended up being drunk, disorderly, and disrespectful.
The principle teaching of this passage, is equally relevant for believers today as it was during these early days of the Church. The drunken and disorderly behaviour exhibited by the Christians in Corinth, when celebrating in the Lord's Supper, can easily be replicated by Christians today if they come together to break bread nursing a grievance within their heart.
The Lord's Supper should never be approached frivolously or carelessly. It should rather be undertaken with a clear conscience and a sincere heart of grateful thanks for all that Christ has done for us... for we have been bought with a price - the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Indeed, as God's blood-bought children, we should examine our own hearts and consciences to see if we are in fellowship with the Lord or if some unconfessed sin has separated us from enjoying close communion with our Heavenly Father, which is the privilege, if not the practice, of all believers.
Christians who eat and drink at this divinely ordained, commemorative communion meal of bread and wine, should always "discern the body of the Lord." We should always remember and honour the supreme sacrifice that was made on our account, when Jesus willingly went to the Cross for us and died in our place on Calvary's tree. And we should be sure that no unconfessed sin is hindering our daily fellowship with our Heavenly Lord. We should approach our Heavenly Father with a humble heart and a thankful spirit.
We should always call to mind that our sin was set aside forever because of Christ's amazing sacrifice, and that any post-salvation sin dishonours the Lord and should be confessed to Him before we partake in any meal of remembrance. This is why we Christians are instructed to judge our own lives - to see if any sin has separated us from sweet fellowship with our Father in heaven and to confess any sin to Him before we partake in the breaking of bread.
If we fail to judge ourselves and to honestly confess our sin to God, then He will often discipline us: "For when we are being judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord - so that we will not be condemned along with the world." When God sees unconfessed sin in a Christian's life, He takes steps to correct it through a programme of godly child training.
It is only those that have been saved by grace through faith in Christ that can be disciplined in this way, for only those who are born from above have a relationship with the Father. It is because we are redeemed and identified with Christ that we are given the right to call Him Abba - Father. But as His children, God has every right to judge our lives and discipline us when we do not walk in spirit and truth - or when we allow the old, fleshly, sin-nature to repress our new nature in Christ or manipulate our behaviour.
God, our Father, has every right to judge our lives and discipline us when we do not adhere to His will as laid out in Scripture. He loves us too much to permit us to go on sinning. Although sin can never remove us from our eternally secure position in Christ, it can affect our day-to-day relationship with the Lord.
May we be ready and willing to examine ourselves to see if we are walking in spirit and truth. May we all have a teachable spirit and learn all that God would teach us from His chastening work in our life - so that we may grow in grace and mature in the faith, to the glory of God the Father.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You love me so much that Your punishment is not designed to harm me, but to return me into precious fellowship with Yourself. Help me to keep a short rein on my sin and confess it quickly to You. I pray that I will be teachable and learn every lesson that You would give me, through Your chastening programme. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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