“The Lord’s Supper is not for the world, not for merely nominal believers, but only for those who, (1) accepting of Christ as their Redeemer and Sin-bearer, are, (2) consecrated to him and his service. But it is not for us—nor for any man or set of men—to decide who may and who may not partake. It is our duty to point out from the Word of the Lord what are the proper qualifications for participation in the `cup’ and in the `loaf,’ and then to say as did the Apostle. Let every man examine himself, and then, if he thinks proper, let him partake. (1 Cor. 11:28)
“Now that God’s people are emerging from the errors of the Dark Ages, when this Memorial can be more clearly understood, the judging or examining of one’s self can be more thorough than ever before. Let each ask himself:
(1) Do I believe the Scripture teaching that I, as a member of the human family, was under that condemnation to death which passed upon all because of original sin?
(2) Do I believe that my only hope of escape from that condemnation of sin and death was through the Ransom-sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus, my Lord?
(3) Do I believe he gave himself—his flesh and blood, his humanity—as my Ransom-price, pouring out his soul unto death, making his soul a Sin-Offering (Isa. 53:10,12) on our behalf?
(4) Do I see that the consecration of death, made at Jordan when he was baptized, was fulfilled by his sacrifice of himself for mankind, which, beginning there, was finished on the cross when he died?
(5) Do I see that the rights under the law, which he secured by obedience to it (the right of lasting life and the dominion of earth), were what he through that same sacrifice bequeathed to the fallen dying race—to as many as shall ultimately accept the blessings under the conditions of the New Covenant?
(6) Do I see that his flesh and blood, thus sacrificed, stood for, represented, those blessings and favors which they purchased?
(7) Do I see that the partaking of the bread and wine, symbols of his flesh and blood, signifies my acceptance of those favors which the flesh and blood of my Lord bought for me and for all?
(8) And if I do thus heartily accept the Ransom, do I consecrate my entire being—my flesh and blood, justified through faith in that Ransom—to the Lord, to be broken with him, to suffer with him, to be dead with him? “If we can answer these questions affirmatively, we clearly or fully discern the Lord’s
body, give credit to his meritorious sacrifice, and may eat—`Eat ye all of it’.” (R5193:5)
Who May Celebrate?
We answer, first of all, that none should commune who do not trust in the precious blood of Christ as the sacrifice for sins. None should commune except by faith he have on the doorposts and lintel of his earthly tabernacle the blood of sprinkling that speaketh peace for us, instead of calling for vengeance, as did the blood of Abel. (Heb. 12:24) None should celebrate the symbolical feast unless in his heart he has the true feast, and has accepted Christ as his Life-giver. Further, none should commune unless he is a member of the one body, the one loaf, and unless he has reckoned his life, his blood, sacrificed with the Lord’s in the same chalice, or cup. There is here a clearly drawn line of distinction, not only between the believers and unbelievers, but also between the consecrated and the unconsecrated. However, the line is to be drawn by each individual for himself–so long as his professions are good and reasonably attested by his outward conduct. It is not for one member to be the judge of another, nor even for the Church to judge, unless, as already pointed out, the matter has come before it in some definite form, according to the prescribed regulations. Otherwise the elders, or representatives of the Church, should set before those who assemble themselves these terms and conditions–(1) faith in the blood; and (2) consecration to the Lord and his service, even unto death. They should then invite all who are thus minded and thus consecrated to join in celebrating the Lord’s death and their own. This, and all invitations connected with this celebration, should be so comprehensively stated as to leave no thought of sectarianism. All should be welcomed to participate, regardless of their faith and harmony on other subjects, if they are in full accord in respect to these foundation truths–the redemption through the precious blood, and a full consecration unto death, giving them justification.
It is appropriate here to consider the words of the Apostle:
“Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself, if he discern not the Lord’s body.” 1 Cor. 11:27-29
The Apostle’s warning here seems to be against a careless celebration of this Memorial, which would make of it a feast, and against inviting persons to it in a promiscuous manner. It is not such a feast. It is a solemn Memorial, intended only for the members of the Lord’s “body”; and whoever does not discern this, whoever does not discern that the loaf represents the flesh of Jesus, and that the cup represents his blood, would, in partaking of it, properly come under condemnation–not “damnation” as in the common version, but a condemnation in the Lord’s sight, and a condemnation also in his own conscience. Before partaking of these emblems each individual, therefore, should decide for himself whether or not he believes and trusts in the broken body and shed blood of our Lord as being his ransom price; and secondly, whether or not he has made the consecration of his all that he may thus be counted in as a member of that “one body.”
Having noted who are excluded, and who properly have access to the Lord’s table, we see that every true member of the Ecclesia has the right to participate, unless that right has been debarred by a public action of the whole Church, according to the rule therefor laid down by the Lord. (Matt. 18:15-17) All such may celebrate; all such will surely desire to celebrate–will surely desire to conform to the Master’s dying admonition, “Eat ye all of it; drink ye all of it.” They will realize that unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us; and that if they have in heart and mind partaken of the merits of the Lord’s sacrifice really, and of his life, that it is both a privilege and a pleasure to memorialize this, and to confess it before each other and before the Lord.