23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
God takes things very seriously. When Moses struck the rock twice to bring forth water after God had told him to speak to the rock, it cost him a blessing – going into the Promised Land. But God still held Moses in high regard – Moses appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Do we take the things of God as seriously as He does? Notice the observation by Paul that some of the believers were weak and sick and had fallen asleep (their bodies died) because they were taking communion without discerning the body of Christ. If you believe this to be the case for you, read James 5:14-16 and be obedient to the Word of God to resolve the issue.
God calls Himself Holy in His Word time and time again. Here are three instances:
- God says to be holy, for He is holy
- God is the Holy One of Israel
- The Israelites MUST acknowledge God as Holy
The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (carm.org) defines Holiness as:
Holiness is a quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone. As Christians, we are called to be holy (1 Pet. 1:16). But this does not refer to our nature. Instead, it is a command of our practice and thought. We are to be holy in obedience (1 Pet. 1:15). God has made us holy through His Son Jesus (Eph. 1:4, 1 Pet. 2:9).
Holiness is being set apart FROM sin, and set apart TO God. So, let us take some time today to set ourselves apart to God. When we do that, we will be setting ourselves apart from sin. Let us take some time before we take communion to discern whether we are in the faith. Cry out to God to show you any sin in your life; acknowledge what He shows you (if anything) and repent. Then, with clean hands and a pure heart, we can confidently take communion in joyful celebration!
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are Most Holy. We fail to even begin to recognize how Holy You are. You have told us in Your word that if we saw Your face, we would perish. Help us to grasp the extent of Your Holiness, so that we can rightly discern ourselves as the Body of Christ. Prepare our hearts for holy communion. Forgive us our sins. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Instill within us such a sense of Your presence that we are better able to humble our hearts before You. You take this so very seriously; please help us to do the same. Please do not discipline us in Your anger, but renew your mercy, for we are in desperate need of it. Thank You, Lord God, for Your faithfulness in all things. Amen.