This is the exhortation and the words before communion from Sunday, March 21st at Holy Trinity.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace.” Grace is a funny thing. We need it more than anything, yet we run from it like it’s a giant, two-armed, gun-wielding rattlesnake (or something else you might be afraid of). You may ask, “What do you mean, we run from grace?”
We run from grace every time we sin and that sin, in turn, further complicates our response to grace. We can end up thinking that we are too bad for grace. Or we can end up thinking that, because we have sinned yet again, grace may not be effective for us.
Think of it this way. Jesus said that it’s the sick people who need the physician, not the people who are healthy. But, instead we often look at grace and say, “Nope. I’m so sick, I don’t deserve any medicine.” Or we look at grace and say, “I’m so sick, the medicine won’t work for me.”
Both of these thoughts miss the point of grace entirely. God gives grace because our sin is so bad that only He can intervene. Acknowledging our need for grace is simply agreeing with God and that’s something He not only wants us to do, but something He commands us to do.
1st Corinthians 10:16 says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, it is not the communion of the body of Christ? The bread which we break, it is not the communion of the body of Christ?” As I said earlier, we have a tendency to run from grace. We are, in our hearts, all a bunch of legalists; thinking we must perform our way into grace. This is, of course, self-defeating, but we act that way none the less.
This meal is a meal of communion with the body and blood of Jesus. In that sense, when we come to the Table, we are coming to Jesus. But, this brings us back to the exhortation. There is a strange idea that we should refrain from communion if we have been particularly bad. I’m not talking about lawful church discipline, but the feeling some people have that the Lord’s Supper is not for bad sinners or those who aren’t in a “good place” when the elements come around.
Communion is a meal of grace. In communion, grace is held out us, demonstrated in the body and blood of Christ, His sacrifice for us. As the Shorter Catechism says, the Lord’s Supper grants us spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. And, who needs grace? Sinners need grace! So, the last people who should refrain from the Table are those struggling with sin. To do otherwise is like refraining from food so you will be stronger.
So, we come to the Table to find blessing and communion with Christ, which we simply cannot afford to go without.