How Is It Possible To Partake of the Lord's Supper In An Unworthy Manner?

1 Corinthians 11:26-34 states: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. 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. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come."

With some Christians there is the mistaken notion that partaking of the Lord's Supper in an "unworthy manner" is referring to the individual (adjective) instead of the way in which the Lord's Supper is to be observed (adverb). They would say that they are unworthy to partake of the Lord's Supper because of their haunted, sinful past. Every Christian who realizes the amazing grace of God would consider himself/herself unworthy of God's gift of salvation because we do not deserve it (Ephesians 2:8-9); but that is not the meaning of this verse.

"Unworthy manner" is an adverb, referring to the manner that the Lord's Supper was being observed by the Christian. A Christian partakes of the Supper in an unworthy manner when a he/she does not meditate and discern the Lord's physical body which was sacrificed on the cross for us. If Christians do not give of their time, devotion, and gratitude for the Lord's sacrifice in saving them from an eternal hell, then they are "eating and drinking judgment to himself." Christians needs to examine themselves carefully on how they are partaking the Lord's Supper so that they do not spiritually become weak and sleepy, and spiritually die (Isaiah 59:1,2). Paul states: "But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world." The word "chastened" here is the same word used in 2 Timothy 3:16 where all Scripture is for our "instruction in righteousness." God is wanting His people to be transformed and become a better people. Partaking of the Lord's Supper worthily, focused on the significance of the Savior's death, betters ourselves for Christ.

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