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.
1 Corinthians 11:27-28
This is not a theological treatise on consubstantiation versus transubstantiation, it is a simple reminder that we are to take of the bread and wine in celebration of remembering the body and blood of Jesus Christ. There is ample opportunity to search 1 Corinthians 11 and draw your own conclusions.
We are aware that the believers came together to recall the person of Jesus Christ; further, they were celebrating, but the manner in which it was being done was in a manner that was not befitting the person they were celebrating.
The Apostle lovingly rebukes them of their miscarriage of this very sacred moment. It had become a gluttonous feast, and any sacredness had been lost in their behavior. It is within his right to rebuke them; after all, a number of these folk have been brought to salvation in Christ by his previous visit to Corinth.
When I first read 1 Corinthians 11, I remember that the version I was reading said, “in an unworthily manner”. Etched into my mind was the fact that “unworthily” was an older word, and “unworthy” was probably more correct. However, I also realized that these brothers could not be “unworthy” because they, in their new found faith, were under the blood of Jesus. Their activities had all the appearances of being unworthy.
How often “unworthy” people practice the Lord’s Supper would only be known to the Lord Himself. How often the born again believers practice the Lord’s Supper, is likewise known only to the Lord. Yet we all need to be reminded before we do engage in this practice, (verses 27, 28 of 1 Corinthians 11) “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat the bread and drink of the cup.”
Further in the chapter we are told to judge ourselves rightly. Failure brings discipline from the Lord and possibly, sickness. If one is sick, they should begin by examining whether or not they might not be following the instructions as set forth in 1 Corinthians 11. Together, let us follow God’s instructions. Callousness can be costly and one must not trifle with the Lord Almighty.