The more I talk about Christ with others the more I’m made acutely aware that our society’s hang up with faith is not at all a failure to believe in God. Nearly all people acknowledge, or are at least open to, the existence of God. Where our culture stumbles is in believing in personal depravity. We can all recognize that we have fallen far short of perfection, that we sometimes make poor choices, and that we sometimes hurt others. But we refuse (and adamantly do not want) to believe that these imperfect and hurtful actions are sins, that they are wicked, and that place us in rebellion to God. By failing to believe that our own wicked decisions and actions have placed us at odds with our creator, we can see no need for salvation, and no necessity for a Savior.
Today I was asked why a pastor would tell the congregation that only believers could partake in communion and further instruct anyone who has not submitted their life to Christ to let the plate pass. Here is how the scripture instructs we are to share in Holy Communion.
The Eucharist/Communion…the eating of the bread (the body) and the drinking of the wine (the blood) of Christ is something that is very special and very sacred to believers. It is a pastor’s responsibility to clarify that eating this bread and drinking this wine is a solid personal proclamation of a person’s belief in Christ’s death, resurrection, and return. 1 Corinthians 11 (verse 27) says that anyone coming to the table to take communion without showing proper respect to the body of Christ and making a proper examination of themselves before God, in turn eat and drink the Lord’s discipline upon themselves. Anyone who would like to either declare or reaffirm their faith by eating this bread and drinking this wine is welcome, and everyone should use this sacrament as a time to reflect on the atoning work of The Lord, and to confirm their personal commitment to Jesus Christ. A church serving communion without this explanation may be liable for the negligence of the uninformed non-believers, but non-believers who receive the warning and do not heed this instruction own responsibility for their own actions.