Should a person wanting to experience communion be a member of the church conducting the communion service? Must one have all sins forgiven in order to participate?
I think it's wrong when the governing body of a church determines who is worthy of partaking in the Lord's Supper. I reason that by looking at the circumstances in the biblical record of the original communion. Here's what I see taking place at the Lord's Supper.
First, Jesus shares the symbols of His body and blood, the bread and wine, with imperfect, sinful people. He even allowed Judas Iscariot, whom he foreknew to be His betrayer, to eat and drink with all in attendance.
Furthermore, we're taught that the shared eating and drinking is all about remembering and proclaiming Jesus' sacrifice: His death on behalf of all sinners. That engenders a sense of redemption; an opportunity for one to be drawn to a heartfelt appreciation for Jesus' gift of salvation.
Moreover, it is a time to look within and determine whether or not one is in faith with the Savior. If so, then all's well and good. If not, isn't that a good thing to recognize and pray to be rectified?
The point here is that it should be up to the individual as to whether to eat the bread or drink the cup. "But a man must examine himself" (1 Cor. 11: 28). "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13: 5).
When one understands what communion is all about and wants to participate, it's because the person is usually seeking and expecting to be cleansed; to forgive and be forgiven; and/or to be healed. Under those circumstances, we, only able to see the outside, shouldn't be in judgment as to whether a person is worthy or not.
Jesus didn't decide who should and who shouldn't participate. He being our example; I'm of the opinion that a church shouldn't either.
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